Tollywood writer-actor Gollapudi Maruthi Rao passes away
The veteran Telugu writer and actor worked in nearly 250 films in a career spanning 56 years
Veteran Telugu writer and actor Gollapudi Maruthi Rao, who worked in nearly 250 films in a career spanning 56 years, passed away this afternoon at a hospital in Chennai. He was 80 and was ailing for the past few months. He is survived by his wife and two sons.
Born into a Telugu-speaking middle-class family in Vizianagaram, Gollapudi, as he was fondly called, graduated from the Andhra University in 1959 with a specialisation in Mathematical Physics. He bagged a job at All India Radio when he was 13 and upon completing his graduation, he began his career as a journalist and worked in several leading Telugu dailies for nearly two decades.
He branched into films as a screenwriter with late Akkineni Nageswara Rao-starrer Dr Chakravarthy (1964), which fetched him his first Nandi Award. He made his acting debut with the Chiranjeevi-starrer Intlo Ramayya Veedilo Krishnayya (1982), directed by late Kodi Ramakrishna.
Gollapudi was a versatile actor who played every role with panache. Some of his notable works include Gudachari No.1, Abhilasha, Challenge, Samsaram Oka Chadarangam, Tarangini, Trisulam, Assembly Rowdy, Muddula Priyudu, Aditya 369, Murari, Leader, Manamantha and Jodi.
Besides his plays, some of which were made into films, Gollapudi's other writings covered a wide variety of subjects. He was well-versed in Indian epics and history, and he wrote profusely on Telugu literature and culture. Some of his plays are included in the curriculum of universities across the Telugu States. His noted literary works and plays, like Rendu Rellu Aaru, Patita, Karuninchani Devatalu, Mahanatudu, Kaalam Venakku Tirigindi, and Aasayaalaku Sankellu, have won numerous State Awards.
Gollapudi instituted the Gollapudi Srinivas National Award in memory of his youngest son Srinivas, who died in an accident in 1992 while directing his debut film, Prema Pusthakam, starring Ajith Kumar. The award comprising Rs 1.5 lakh in cash and a memento is presented annually to a debutant filmmaker.
A versatile personality, Gollapudi, left a lasting impression as a theatre personality, dramatist and political interlocutor too. The Telugu film industry went into mourning as the news of the death of Gollapudi spread. Chiranjeevi conveyed his heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family members.
Mahesh Babu tweeted out his condolences,
Deeply saddened by the sudden demise of #GollapudiMaruthiRao garu. His contribution to the TFI remains unparalleled. We have lost a gem. Heartfelt condolences to the family and dear ones. Rest in peace Sir— Mahesh Babu (@urstrulyMahesh) December 12, 2019
Nani too reacted to the news on social media,
Gollapudi Maruthi Rao gaaru, one of my most favourites.— Nani (@NameisNani) December 12, 2019
The way he spoke and the way he acted always felt so familiar and family like. You will always be remembered Sir
Chief Ministers of the Telugu States, K Chandrashekhar Rao and YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, expressed deep condolences over the death of Telugu cinema's stalwart.
Gollapudi's last rites will be performed on Sunday afternoon in Chennai.