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'D Ramanaidu lived and breathed cinema'

By Radhika Rajamnai
February 19, 2015 14:10 IST
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'Ramanaidu was well known for his punctuality, professionalism and discipline as a producer.' 

'He was always a picture of humility and a perfect gentleman.'

Radhika Rajamani pays tribute to the legendary film producer Daggubati Ramanaidu who breathed his last on February 18. 

A man of an imposing height, Daggubati Ramanaidu rose to scale big heights as a producer.

Starting out as an agriculturist and rice-mill owner from Karamchedu, Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh, he went on to make Guinness Book of World Records and produced 150 films in all the 13 Indian official languages -- a feat that stands unparalleled even today.

He was felicitated with several awards for his contribution to Indian cinema, the last two being the Padma Bhushan (2010) and the highest cinematic honour, the Dada Saheb Phalke in 2009.

He was also a Member of Parliament, a philanthropist and an occasional actor.

His production house Suresh Productions (named after his elder son), set up in 1963, celebrated its golden jubilee last year.

In his celluloid journey, he worked with every big star from north and south film industries.

He was well known for his punctuality, professionalism and discipline as a producer.

His contribution to cinema is seminal in many ways as he not just produced films in every Indian language but also introduced several fine actors like Vanisri, Tabu, Venkatesh (his son), Karisma Kapoor, Khushboo, Katrina Kaif, besides technicians like directors and music directors.

His body of work spanned different languages, the last one being a Punjabi film titled Singh vs Kaur.

As a kid, the shooting of a film titled Nammina Bantu in his village piqued his interest. He moved to Chennai and founded Suresh Productions.

The production house's first film Ramudu Bheemudu (starring NT Rama Rao, Jamuna, L Vijayalakshmi) was remade in Tamil and in Hindi as Ram Aur Shyam.

Another film, Premnagar (Akkineni Nageswara Rao), which went on to score big at the box office, was remade in Tamil (Vasantha Maligai with Sivaji Ganesan and Vanisree) and in Hindi as Premnagar (Rajesh Khanna, Hema Malini) and ran successfully there too.

Some of the well-known Telugu films from Suresh Productions included Jeevana Tarangalu, Aha Naa Pellanta, Kaliyuga Pandavulu, Indrudu Chandrudu, Kalisiundam Raa, Bobbili Raja, Coolie no 1, Taj Mahal, Ganesh, Malliswari, Nuvvu Leka Nenu Lenu, Neeku Nenu Naaku Nuvvu, Drushyam and the recent Gopala Gopala.

His elder son Suresh Babu started handling production while younger son Venkatesh went on to become a successful actor.

Ramanaidu's grandson Rana Daggubati turned to acting after helping out with production and being an entrepreneur, setting up a special effects company.

As a parliamentarian, he worked towards the development of his constituency Bapatla. He also supported quite a few philanthropic causes.

To mediapersons, he was always a picture of humility and a perfect gentleman. 

He lived and breathed cinema and worked till death pulled him away from it.

Rest in peace, Ramanaidu garu.

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Radhika Rajamnai in Hyderabad