Tollywood superstar Krishna, father of actor Mahesh Babu, passed away on Tuesday. He suffered a cardiac arrest on Monday and was immediately admitted to the hospital. But his condition remained critical and he breathed his last in the early hours of Tuesday. Fondly referred to as ‘Superstar’, actor Krishna’s full name is Ghattamaneni Siva Rama Krishna Murthy. He is survived by his son, actor Mahesh Babu, and daughters Padmavati, Manjula, and Priyadarshini.
It’s been a tough year for actor Mahesh Babu, as he already lost his brother Ramesh Babu in January and his mother Indira Devi in September.
His second wife Vijaya Nirmala passed away in 2019. Fans, politicians, and film personalities across the country have been pouring in their for the actor.
With a film career spanning over five decades, the veteran actor has acted in more than 350 films. While he started his career by playing minor roles in films like Kula Gothralu (1961) and Padandi Mundhuku (1962), he played the lead actor in Thene Manasulu (1965). He went on to act in acclaimed films like Sakshi (1967) and Pandanti Kapuram (1972).
Krishna, 79, was considered way ahead of his time and opened up new horizons for Telugu cinema. He gave the industry many of its firsts — he starred in Gudachari 116 (1966), the first Telugu spy film, and introduced the cowboy genre with Mosagallaku Mosagadu (1971). He followed it up with a series of spy films including James Bond 777 (1971), Agent Gopi (1978), Rahasya Gudachari (1981), and Gudachari 117 (1989). And such James Bond-esque narratives established his stardom early in his career, also earning him the title “The Andhra James Bond”.
The Tollywood superstar also created records as a director and producer. Under his own production house Padmalaya Films, he bankrolled Alluri Seetharama Raju (1974), Tollywood’s first cinemascope film. He later introduced DTS sound effects to the audience with Telugu Veera Levara (1995). He also produced superstar Rajinikanth’s Maaveeran (1986) in Tamil.
To his credit as a filmmaker, with Simhasanam (1986), which he wrote, directed, produced, and edited, he gave Telugu cinema its first 70mm stereophonic sound film. He later remade this film in Hindi as Singhasan, (1986) starring Jeetendra. Krishna has directed 17 films and a few of them — like Sankharavam (1987), Mugguru Kodukulu (1988), and Anna Thammudu (1990) — featured his son Mahesh Babu in important roles.
One of the highest-paid actors of his time, Krishna is known for his on-screen pairings with actresses Vijaya Nirmala and Jaya Prada. He acted in the Tamil film Kanthaswamy in 2009, where he played the joint director of CBI. The actor also had a brief stint in politics. He was elected in 1989 as a Parliament member from the Eluru constituency.
In 2012, Krishna at the age of 69, cited age and health issues and retired from both cinema and politics. But he later acted in Sri Sri (2016), his final film, as a retired law professor. Krishna has pushed the boundaries with every film he has directed, acted, or produced. And in 2009, the superstar was awarded Padma Bhushan for his immense contribution to Indian cinema.