Vijayawada : Turlapati Kutumba Rao, a veteran journalist, 87, is no more. He died at a private hospital here from heart attack in the midnight of January 10-11. His wife Krishna kumari, an accomplished dancer, passed away long back. He had a daughter Jyothy and son Jawaharlal Nehru.
Turlapati was a journalist of long standing, more than sixty years. He worked with doyens of Telugu journalism like Narla Venkateswara Rao, Nanduri Ram Mohan Rao and Puranam Subrahmanya Sarma. Turlapati started his career as a sub-editor with “Vaahini,” a journal launched by NG Ranga, former MP. Then he also edited “Pratibha” founded by Chalasani Rama Rao. He then shifted to Madras to work for ‘Praja partika,’ run by Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu, the first chief minister of Andhra State in 1953. He doubled up as a personal secretary to Prakasam Pantulu, the chief minister. After Prakasam demitted office, Turlapati moved over to Vijayawada and did social work under the leadership of Dr. Chalapati Rao. Then he joined in Andhra Jyothy daily, founded by Narla Venkateswara Rao, in 1963, and continued with the publication till 1991 when he took retirement and became a freelancer.
Turlapati, as he is popularly known, was also an acknowledged speaker, admiringly called ‘Upanyaasa Kesari.’ He used to say that he had completed his first thousand speeches by 1993. Later he must have delivered another thousand. In Vijayawada, any meeting to do with culture or cinema had to be presided over by Turlapati. He had the rare privilege of interviewing great personalities like Ambedkar, Nehru and Rajaji. He maintained a column in the name “Man in news”, started in 1960, for more than forty years. He continued this column after quitting Andhra Jyothi. He wrote for Vaartha when I was the editor.
It was only two years ago that I shared platform with him in Vijayawada when the jayanti of Savitri was celebrated. Savitri’s daughter Vijaya Chamundeswari and her husband Govinda Rao, my friend, visited the city and participated in the meeting over which Turlapati presided and I was the chief guest. We used to meet him regularly. He continued his column in Vaartha when I was its editor.
Turlapati was awarded Padam Shri in 2002. He was the recipient of Narla Venkateswara Rao Lifetime Achievement Award and the memorial award instituted in the name of Adurti Subba Rao. He received his first appreciation from Mutnuri Krishna Rao, the tallest editor among Telugu journalists.
The senior journalist was editor of Jyothi Chitra, a film magazine from Andhra Jyothy group. He was a member of Central Sensor Board. He was the person who gave the title ‘Nata Samrat’ to an accomplished hero Akkineni Nageswara Rao in 1957 at Vijayawada. He was known for his smooth and flowery language while talking about his friends and persons in his peer group. He never indulged in controversies and never abused anybody in his long tenure in public life.