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Veteran actor-director Balayya passes away at 93- Cinema express

Veteran actor-director Balayya passes away at 93

Balayya has acted in more than 300 films 

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Published: 09th April 2022
Veteran actor-director Balayya passes away at 93

Renowned actor, director and producer Mannava Balayya died on Saturday morning due to age-related ailments in the city. He was 93 and is survived by his son and actor Tulasi Ram Prasad. He has been honoured with the Raghupathi Venkaiah Award in 2010.

Born in Chavupadu village in Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh, Balayya was a Mechanical Engineering graduate. Inspired by stage plays and dramas, Balayya drew to acting with the guidance of late director-writer Tapi Chanakya, who introduced him as the lead actor in the 1958 social drama Ettuku Pai Ettu. Produced by Sarathi Studios, the film failed to live up to expectations. He continued to play the lead in films like Bhagyadevata and Kunkuma Rekha, which gained him great recognition.

Balayya's Chivaraku Migiledi was described by actor Savitri as one of the most unforgettable films of her career. He acted as Krishna for the first time in the mythological film Krishnaprema and as Rukmangadhuni in Mohini Rukmangadha directed by KS Prakash Rao. Though Balayya continued to play the hero in several other films, he found great success in the supporting roles he acted alongside other actors. He acted with NTR in films like Irugu-Porugu, Babhruvahana, Bobbiliyuddham, Pandavavanavasamu, Vivahabandham and Srikrishnapandaviyam. In Pandavavanavasamu, NTR played the role of Bhima, while Balayya played the role of Arjun. Following that Balayya played Yudhishthira in NTR's directorial Sri Krishna Pandaviyam, which also starred NTR as the lead Krishna and antagonist Duryodhana. 

Balayya, eventually discovered his penchant for writing and wrote the story for Chelleli Kapuram. He won the Nandi Award for second best story writer for Oorukichchina Maata.

Balayya also produced the film under his banner Amrutha films and it was directed by K Viswanath. The duo of Balayya and Viswanath once again joined hands for the hit film Neramu Siksha. It was later remade in Tamil as Needhikku Thalaivanangu and in Hindi as Shikshaa.

He made his directorial debut with Nijam Chebite Nerama?, starring Krishnam Rajua and Jaya Prada. He went on to direct films like Pasupu Tadu and Police Alludu. His last screen appearance as an actor was for Ramachari, where he played the role of a Chief Minister.

Condolences and tributes are pouring in from people from all walks of life to the versatile actor-filmmaker. Actor Nandamuri Balakrishna termed the passing away of Balayya as an irreparable loss to the Telugu cinema.

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