Veteran film director and former Union Minister Dasari Narayana Rao will be cremated at his farm house at Chevella near Hyderabad with full state honours on Wednesday. Telangana minister T. Srinivas Yadav confirmed the news after visiting Rao’s residence in Jubliee Hills to pay his last tributes. Dasari Narayana Rao died at a private hospital in Hyderabad on Tuesday after a prolonged illness. He was 75.
Yadav said Rao’s last rites will be performed with state honours on the direction of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao. The filmmaker’s body has been kept at his residence since 6 AM (local time) to let people pay their last respects to him. His family confirmed that his body will be taken to the office of Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce where the film industry will bid him adieu, before being shifted to Chevella for the cremation.
Dasari Narayana Rao was a well-known Telugu film director and former Union Minister of State for Coal. He holds Limca World Record for directing the most number of films. His doctors at Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) said Rao had a sudden cardiac arrest while undergoing treatment at 7 PM (local time).
Rao’s death has left the entire Telugu film industry grieving. Several veteran actors including Vijayashanti and Venkatesh apart from producers and directors rushed to his Jubliee Hills residence as soon as they heard the news of his demise. Actor Mohan Babu, who was one of the actors whom Rao introduced, apparently broke down while paying respects.
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan, Union Ministers M. Venkaiah Naidu, Bandaru Dattatreya, Y. S. Chowdary and several other ministers also condoled Rao’s death.
Cinema hall owners in both Telugu states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh announced that the theaters will remain shut on Wednesday as a mark of respect. Even the Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce said that shooting of films and all movie related activity in Telugu film industry will be suspended on Wednesday.
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Dasari Narayana Rao was suffering from multiple health problems and was undergoing treatment for past two months, before getting discharged on March 28. However, he was re-admitted last week and underwent a reconstructive surgery of the esophagus. But following the surgery, he developed renal failure.
Rao began his career as a stage artist and later entered the film industry. He went on to direct about 151 films in Telugu, Tamil and Hindi. He also produced 53 films and worked in more than 250 films as a dialogue writer and a lyricist. His famous films include Megha Sandesham, Osey Ramulamma, Premabhishekam and Tata Manavadu.
He even produced and directed some memorable movies for thespian N. T. Rama Rao and Akkineni Nageswara Rao, while introducing many actors to the industry. Rao had also planned to make a biopic on late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa. He was a recipient of two National Film Awards, nine State Nandi Awards, and four Filmfare Awards South.
Apart from his film career, Rao was also a minister in the Manmohan Singh government. He was also chargesheeted in the infamous coal scam.