Cine Bhishma, producer K Raghava passes away
The 105-year-old producer who introduced NTR, Dasari and Kodi Ramakrishna, among others, breathed his last today
Renowned producer and Raghupathi Venkaiah Award-winner Kotipalli Raghava, widely known as K Raghava died of cardiac arrest early morning today at Apollo Hospital, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad. He was 105 and is survived by his son, Pratap and daughter, Prashanti.
Born in Kotipalli in East Godavari district in 1913, Raghava was a multi-tasker and was hailed as the Cine Bhishma, the patriarch of Telugu film industry. He started his career as a trolley puller on the sets of silent films at East Indian Film Company studio in Kolkata. Later, he moved to Vijayawada where he worked at Maruthi Talkies, the first theatre established in the Telugu States. "As silent films were ruling the roost in those years, Raghava assisted yesteryear popular narrator and comedian Kasturi Siva Rao. He also worked as a stunt master in films like Pathala Bhairavi (1951), Raju Peda (1954) and as a production executive for several films, including a Hollywood film, Tarzan Goes To India (1962), before he got a stable job with the Maharaja of Mirzapur, who was also a producer of films like Bheeshma and Palanati Yuddham," shares SV Rama Rao, a popular film aficionado.
Raghava was known for his meticulous planning and discipline. "He was really particular and uncompromising about what he wanted. After director Gudavalli Ramabrahmam died during the climax shoot of Palnati Yuddham (1947), it was Raghava who had suggested veteran filmmaker LV Prasad's name to Maharaja to complete the remaining portions of the film,” recalls Rama Rao.
He shared a great rapport with late SV Ranga Rao, Tamil actor Sivaji Ganeshan, filmmaker K Balachander and Bollywood legends Prithviraj Kapoor, Ashok Kumar, Raj Kumar and others. "It was Raghava, who suggested Sivaji Ganesan make films based on some of his popular plays. He collaborated with producer Ekambareswara Rao and made Sukha Dukhalu (1968), an adaptation of K Balachander's play Major Chandrakanth," adds Rama Rao.
In a career spanning over 90 years, Raghava produced 27 films under Falguna Pictures and Pratap Arts of which 25 were declared blockbusters, including a Hindi film (Itni Si Baat) and a Tamil film (Minor Mappillai). He was known for launching several stalwarts and giving breaks to upcoming actors and technicians in his films. He was also credited with roping in Megastar Chiranjeevi's father, Venkata Rao, for an Inspector's role in Jagath Kiladeelu. "He was an institution and introduced the likes of Telugu cinema legend NT Rama Rao (Mana Desam), directors Dasari Narayana Rao (Tata Manavadu), Kodi Ramakrishna (Intlo Ramayya Veedhilo Krishnayya), Rajashri (Chaduvu Samskaram), Mohan Das (Anthuleni Vintha Katha), K Aditya (Ee Prasnaku Baduledi), Guhanadhan (Surya Chandrulu) and Bandhela Eswara Rao (Ankitham) to the industry," reveals Rama Rao.
Raghava also played a major role in establishing the Telugu film industry in Hyderabad after it shifted from Madras (now Chennai) along with NT Rama Rao, Akkineni Nageswara Rao and Rama Naidu. “Raghava had set up Pratap Dubbing Theatre near Apollo Hospital during that time and he played a crucial role in developing Film Nagar as a major hub for the industry,” shares Rama Rao.
He received several accolades including Raghupathi Venkaiah Award (2012), ANR Lifetime Achievement award and Nandi awards for the films Tata Manavadu (1972) and Samsaram Sagaram (1973), besides many film awards.
Veteran actor Kaikala Satyanarayana, Suman and others from the industry offered their condolences to the bereaved family members. His last rites will be held today evening at Mahaprasthanam, Hyderabad.