Remembering Krishnam Raju: A look at the best films of Telugu cinema’s rebel star across decades
Here are a few memorable films of the actor, star producer who made a mark with credible performances in social dramas, commercial entertainers, devotional dramas and mythologicals
Krishnam Raju, who had six-decade career in Telugu cinema, wasn’t only the finest actors of his times, but a courageous producer who took several risks and backed pathbreaking films across multiple genres. On his 83rd birth anniversary today, we take a look at some of the best films of the industry’s original ‘rebel star’.
Bhakta Kannappa - 1976
Directed and written by the iconic duo Bapu-Ramana, Bhakta Kannappa was a career-defining success for Krishnam Raju (also produced by him) and asserted his versatility as a performer. The film that also won the National Film Award for Best Audiography (S. P. Ramanathan) was inspired by Rajkumar’s 1954 release Bedara Kannappa and starred Vanisri, Balaiah, Rao Gopal Rao, Allu Ramalingaiah, Sreedhar, Prabhakar Reddy as well.
Amara Deepam - 1977
Another remake and another home production for Krishnam Raju, this time of the Malayalam film Theekkanal, the film starred him alongside Murali Mohan and Jayasudha. Amara Deepam helped Krishnam Raju earn many plaudits for his acting prowess, who later also received the Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Telugu and Nandi Award for Best Actor. The film cemented the star’s credibility as a crowd-puller in the 1970s, alongside NTR, ANR, Sobhan Babu and Krishna.
Mana Voori Pandavulu - 1978
A terrific reimagination of Puttana Kanagal’s Paduvaaralli Pandavaru by filmmaker Bapu, the mythological parallels between Mahabharatha and the film’s countryside setting make for a compelling watch. In the film, Krishnam Raju plays a role loosely based on Lord Krishna, who guides a group of youngsters to rebel against an autocratic village head. Also stars Chiranjeevi, Murali Mohan, Geetha, Shoba, Rao Gopal Rao, Prasad Babu and others.
Aadavaallu Meeku Joharlu - 1981
Directed by K Balachander, the film brings together the hit pair of Krishnam Raju and Jayasudha together for a moving drama where a school teacher tries hard to transform a wastrel, small-time goon in a village. Stays true to the image of the ‘rebel star’ and also has the sensitivity you expect from someone of Balachander’s repertoire. Also features Bhanuchander, Saritha and Chiranjeevi in a cameo and has music by KV Mahadevan.
Bobbili Brahmanna - 1984
One of the biggest money-spinners for Krishnam Raju in the 1980s, the film directed by legendary filmmaker K Raghavendra Rao, features the star in a double role as an authoritarian father and a rebellious son. Stars Sharada, Jayasudha as female leads and was later in remade in Hindi and Kannada as Dharm Adhikari and Dharmapeetha with Dilip Kumar, Jeetendra, Shrinath and Shashikumar.
Antima Teerpu - 1988
Minus any effort to pander to the galleries and sidelining the star in him, Antima Teerpu, directed by Joshiy, is one of the finest hours of Krishnam Raju as an actor. A remake of the Malayalam film New Delhi, based on Irving Wallace’s novel The Almighty, the critically acclaimed film revolving around a socially conscious journalist starred Suresh Gopi, Sumalatha, Prabhakar Reddy, Ranganath and Urvashi.
Maa Nannaku Pelli - 1997
A significant film in Krishnam Raju’s filmography when the star was looking to reinvent himself, the drama, helmed by EVV Satyanarayana, about second chances in life, was well received by audiences. Srikanth, Simran, Ambika, Kota Srinivasa Rao too played other important roles in the dramedy, which had a catchy, chirpy album by Koti.
Last Updated: 02.14 PM, Jan 20, 2023