Legendary filmmaker D Ramanaidu is no more, mourned by film industry

NEW DELHI: Popular multilingual film producer D Ramanaidu died this morning of prostate cancer, aged 79.

He had been suffering for the few days and is survived by his sons Suresh Babu who took over the Ramanaidu Studios in Hyderabad and younger son Venkatesh Daggubati who is a prominent actor, daughter Daggubati Lakshmi and grandsons Rana, Abhiram, Arjun, Naga Chaitanya, granddaughters Malavika, Hayavahini, Ashritha and Bhavana.

Ramanaidu made his production debut with Ramudu Bheemudu in 1964 with NTR in the lead role. The movie was a blockbuster. He founded Ramanaidu Studio in Hyderabad in 1989. He also donned grease paint and did few roles, guest appearances in several films.

He also forayed into politics and joined the Telugu Desam Party. He represented Bapatla Lok Sabha constituency (1999-2004) and lost the seat in the subsequent elections and then stayed away from politics.

Winner of the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for lifetime achievement in 2009, he produced more than 150 films in 13 Indian languages. Ramanaidu was the 41st recipient of the award instituted in 1969 (the birth centenary of D. G. Phalke, who is generally regarded as the father of Indian cinema) and the 10th producer to have received the award.

Born in June 1936, Ramanaidu was founder of Suresh Productions and holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the most films produced by an individual.

In 2012, Ramanaidu was conferred with the third highest civilian award in the Republic of India, the Padma Bhushan in recognition for his contribution to Telugu cinema.

Ramanaidu had contributed a substantial part of his earnings to numerous philanthropic purposes including the Ramanaidu Charitable Trust that was founded in 1991.

Suresh Productions was started with his childhood friends including G Rajendra Prasad (Madhavi Combines).

In 1968, B Nagireddy’s sons and Ramanaidu combined to form a company called Vijaya Suresh Combines and Suresh Movies. They did 4 movies together and in 1970, when they suffered a few losses, they decided to break up the partnership and go their separate ways.

While producing the movie Secretary, he visited Hyderabad for shooting. He had never before considered moving to Hyderabad but during the shoot, he thought of building a studio in Hyderabad. Back then, Hyderabad was an underdeveloped and hilly area and many criticised him for risking his fortune on building a studio there.

Premnagar by him in 1971 was a huge success under the Suresh Productions banner and then he produced up to 74 films from 1993 to 2005 in several languages.

Brahmaputrudu was a big commercial hit and ended up helping him pay off the debts for his studio launched in 1989. In 1990, Ramanaidu Colour Lab was launched, and in 1994 he launched Cine Village in Nanakramguda, which was used by the entire industry for outdoor shoots.

During his career as a producer, he introduced 24 directors and several actors and music directors who have since become very famous and owe their success to him. The Andhra Pradesh Government nominated him and director Bapu in November 2012.

Ramanaidu has received an honorary doctorate from Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati.

Preminchu movie won 5 Nandi Awards during the year 2001 – 2002,

He played different roles in various films under his own banner. For the first time he played a full-length role in a film named Hope which dealt with teenage suicides, educational stress in South India. This film also won the National Film Award on other social causes in the year 2007.

He won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Bengali – Asukh – 1999; the Filmfare Best Film Award (Telugu) – Jeevana Tarangalu (1973); Filmfare Best Film Award (Telugu) –Soggadu (1976) and Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award – South (2000).

His 17 Hindi films include Kuch tum kaho kuch hum kahein, Aghaaz, Hum aapke dil me rehte hain, Santaan, Pem Quaidi, Tohfa, Dildaar and Prem Nagar.

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