Legendary film maker Ramanaidu is no more

HYDERABAD: Legendary film maker D. Ramanaidu, 79, passed away here on Wednesday afternoon after a prolonged battle with cancer.

He was undergoing treatment in a private hospital after being diagnosed with prostate cancer early last year. He leaves behind two sons, Suresh, a film producer, Venkatesh, well-known actor, a daughter and several grandchildren.

Ramanaidu produced so many films that he became a household name. Radio jingles and other publicity material made sure to advertise that the film was made by Suresh Productions. In fact, the 150-plus films made by him in 13 languages earned him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

The multi-lingual producer was honoured with every prestigeous film award. The long list includes Dadasaheb Phalke award, several Filmfare Awards and the Raghupati Venkaiah lifetime achievement award for the Telugu film industry. He received the nation’s third highest civilian award, Padma Bhushan.

A multi-faceted personality, Ramanaidu served as Member of Parliament from 1999 to 2004 after being elected from Bapatla constituency on the Telugu Desam Party’s ticket. But, he soon discovered that he had no taste for politics and kept away from it.

A pioneer film producer

Ramanaidu was a pioneer in his field. He shifted his film production unit from Madras to Hyderabad at a time when there were no facilities in the AP capital and all the stars resided in Madras. It was not long before other production houses followed suit. Till recently, Ramanaidu was giving everything to setting up his own film studio in Visakhapatnam.

He gave superhit films like Ramudu Bheemudu, Premnagar, Secretary in Telugu, Bandish and Premnagar in Hindi, both starring Rajesh Khanna and Hema Malini, besides Dildaar with Jeetendra and Rekha in the leading roles besides Insaaf Ki Awaz with Anil Kapoor and Madhuri  Dikshit. Among the 14 films he made in Tamil, Vasantha Malighai starring the famous Sivaji Ganesan and Vanisree became the best known.

Born in Karamchedu village of Prakasam district in 1936, Daggubati Ramanaidu showed entrepreneurial skills from his youth when he dabbled in rice mill and transport business before persuading his father to become partner in a film production agency. He played minor roles in several films starting with ‘Nammina Bantu’.

Ramanaidu moved to Madras in 1962 and produced his first film, “Anuragam”, directed by G. Ramaneedu. Two years later, he started Suresh Productions in what turned out to be the beginning of a record-breaking journey in film production. Even during his last days, a hit film under the banner of Suresh Productions, Gopala, Gopala, starring his son Venkatesh was playing in cinema theatres.

The film maker was to be a philanthropist who contributed a good part of his earnings to a charitable trust named after him. His last rites will be performed here on Thursday afternoon.

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