Veteran director-producer Gutta Bapineedu Chowdary, popularly known as Vijaya Bapineedu, passed away on Tuesday morning in Hyderabad. He was 82.
He was, reportedly, in ill-health for a long time and breathed his last on Tuesday at a private hospital, said TV reports.
With more than 20 films to his credit as a director, he was very instrumental in establishing careers of Chiranjeevi and Sobhan Babu. “It is a very tragic day as I feel like I have lost a family member,” Chiranjeevi told the media after paying his last respects to his mentor.
“Vijaya Bapineedu garu treated me like his son and not just as an actor in his films. And for me, he was more than a director and producer. He was very close to my heart,” he added.
Bapineedu did as many as six films with Chiranjeevi in the lead, including blockbusters like Maga Maharaju, Khaidi No.786, Gang Leader, Magadheerudu, helping the star achieve superstardom in the Telugu film industry. “I used to tell him to even make movies with other heroes. But, he told me that he was unable to find the comfort and sentiment that we shared while he worked with other actors,” Chiranjeevi remarked.
The megastar also noted that he lived at Bapineedu’s residence during the early days of his career in Hyderabad. “I have so many sweet memories with him. During the 100th day celebration of Maga Maharaju, he gave me an elephant (showpiece). I asked him why did he give me this? And he said to me that he wanted to exhibit the size of the affection he has towards me and he felt that elephant was the right gift for that,” the actor recalled.
Chiranjeevi added, “I am deeply pained and feel unfortunate to have lost a person like him, who showered so much love on me.”
According to reports, Vijaya Bapineedu’s last rites will be performed on February 14 at Mahaprasthanam in Hyderabad as the family awaits the return of his elder daughter from the United States.