”Krishna garu is a blend of courage, perseverance, humanity and good-naturedness,” megastar Chiranjeevi said on social media, expressing grief over the demise of the veteran Telugu actor on Tuesday.
Chiranjeevi’s words summarise the rare and unique film personality that Krishna was.
For, Krishna was seen as a bellwether who introduced the first cinemascope film, first cowboy genre and also the first 70 mm movie in Telugu.
He was a multifaceted personality, who excelled as an actor, director, producer, studio owner. He also had a brief stint in politics serving as a Lok Sabha member.
Krishna received the Padma Bhushan award in 2009 for his immense contributions to the film industry.
Father of reigning superstar Mahesh Babu, Krishna acted in about 350 films in a career spanning about five decades.
Born as Ghattamaneni Sivarama Krishna at Burripalem in Guntur district of coastal Andhra Pradesh, he was known as superstar Krishna in the Telugu film industry.
While N T Rama Rao and Akkineni Nageswara Rao were the first generation stars in Telugu cinema, Krishna and Sobhan Babu belonged to the second generation before the era of Chiranjeevi began.
Krishna began his acting career on the stage in early 1960s, before making it big on the silver screen.
He got his breakthrough as the lead actor with films like ‘Thene Manasulu’ and ‘Sakshi’.
He starred in spy films like ‘Gudachari 116’, ‘Agent Gopi’, ‘Rahasya Gudachari’ and ‘Gudachari 117’ which enthralled the audience who knew about such films only in Hollywood. Krishna introduced the Western cowboy genre to Telugu audience with his film ‘Mosagaallaku Mosagaadu’, a runaway success.
He earned everlasting fame with his portrayal of ‘Alluri Sitarama Raju’, a legendary revolutionary in the freedom movement in coastal Andhra, on screen.
‘Alluri Sitarama Raju’ remains an iconic film in the Telugu film industry even to this day.
‘Alluri Sitarama Raju’ was the first cinemascope movie in Telugu. ‘Simhasanam’, also produced and directed by Krishna, was the first 70 mm stereophonic sound film in Tollywood.
Krishna was also known for the sheer number of films he did during the heyday of his career.
Film industry sources say that he acted in as many as 18 movies in a year in the early 1970s.
Krishna’s starred in a number of films with leading ladies of the 1980s, including Sridevi (‘Gharana Donga’, ‘Bangaru Bhoomi’ and ‘Bangaru Koduku’), Jayaprada (‘Allari Bava’, ‘Ragile Hrudayalu’) and Vijaya Shanti.
He also acted in as many as 50 multi-starrer movies teaming up with several other leading actors, including N T Rama Rao and Sobhan Babu and also those junior to him like Ravi Teja.
Krishna made significant contributions to the film industry with his Padmalaya Studios in Hyderabad.
He dabbled in politics as well and was elected to the Lok Sabha from Eluru constituency in coastal Andhra on behalf of Congress. The year 2022 has not been good for Mahesh Babu as he lost his elder brother Ramesh Babu, mother Indira Devi and father Krishna.