Akkineni Nageswara Rao
Akkineni Nageswara Rao (20 September 1923 – 22 January 2014), widely known as ANR, was an Indian film actor and producer, known for his work predominantly in Telugu cinema. He starred in many landmark films in his seventy five-year career, becoming one of the most prominent figures in the history of Indian cinema. He is considered one of the greatest and most successful actor of Indian cinema and one of the two pillars of Telugu Cinema, along with N. T. Rama Rao. Nageswara Rao received seven state Nandi Awards, and five Filmfare Awards South. He is a recipient of the Dada Saheb Phalke Award, the highest Indian award in the field of cinema. He was also honoured with the Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian award, for his contribution to the film industry.Rao is known for his path-breaking work in biographical films; He essayed the Tamil saint Thondaradippodi Alvar in the 1954 film Vipra Narayana; Tenali Rama in the 1956 film Tenali Ramakrishna, which received the All India Certificate of Merit for Best Feature Film; Kalidas (the Sanskrit poet of Ujjain) in the 1960 film Mahakavi Kalidasu; the 12th Century Sanskrit poet Jayadeva of Odisha in the 1961 film Bhakta Jayadeva; the Kannada sculptor Amarashilpi Jakanachari in the 1964 film Amara Shilpi Jakkanna; the Marathi saint Tukaram in the 1971 film Bhakta Tukaram; Kabir in the 2006 film Sri Ramadasu; Valmiki in the 2009 film Sri Rama Rajyam. Similarly, Rao played many famous mythological figures such as Lord Vishnu in Chenchu Lakshmi; Narada in Bhookailas and Arjuna in Sri Krishnarjuna Yuddhamu.
Rao is also remembered for his performances in romantic dramas Laila Majnu (1949), Devadasu (1953), Anarkali (1955), Batasari (1961), Mooga Manasulu (1964), Prem Nagar (1971), Premabhishekam (1981) and Meghasandesham (1982), which was featured at the 9th International Film Festival of India, the 1983 Cannes Film Festival and the Moscow film festival. Rao also starred in the blockbusters Ardhangi (1955), Donga Ramudu (1955), Mangalya Balam (1958), Gundamma Katha (1962), Doctor Chakravarty (1964), Dharma Daata (1970) and Dussehra Bullodu (1971).He was one of the instrumental figures in moving the Telugu cinema industry from Madras to Hyderabad in the early 1960s. He established Annapurna Studios in 1975 to provide infrastructural support to the Telugu film industry in Hyderabad. He later started the Annapurna International School of Film and Media within Annapurna Studios in 2011. Manam (2014) was the last film of Rao, who died on 22 January 2014 during the film's production phase. The film was a "befitting swansong", as he always famously said that he wanted to die acting. The film was screened at the 45th International Film Festival of India in the Homage to ANR section on 29 November 2014.