S V Ranga Rao

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S V Ranga Rao
S V Ranga Rao

Samarla Venkata Ranga Rao (b. 3 July 1918 - d. 18 July 1974) was an iconic South Indian actor, director and producer. He has an important place in the film history of South India (both in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu). He was an internationally recognised actor and is popularly known as "Vishwanata Chakravarthi."

He was considered to be a versatile actor and the first actor of his kind with the famous mannerism "orey dongrey" from the film "Jagath Jettilu" he is the household name in Andhra Pradesh. He died on July 18, 1974 suffering a severe cardiac arrest. But, he continues to live in the annals of Tollywood and Kollywood film history.

[edit] Early life

Samarla Venkata Ranga Rao (S.V. Ranga Rao) was born on July 3, 1918 at Nuzvid in Krishna district, when the World War I was drawing to a close. His mother, Lakshmi Narasayamma, a staunch devotee of Lord Venkateshwara, christened the boy after Him -- Venkata Ranga Rao. His father, Koteswara Rao, was an excise inspector.

The possessive father sent S.V.R. to the erstwhile Madras presidency where he completed his schooling at Hindu College. At an early age of 12, the boy showed immense interest in stage action. Studying B.Sc, but the mind of youthful S.V.R. was always preoccupied with the thoughts of stage-plays and film acting. Immediately after graduation, S.V.R. could get a job in the Fire Service in the cadre of an officer. Two objectives were still clear in his mind, which were to do MSc and to take active part in dramas and films.

Film career

S.V.R. got an invitation from one of his relatives, B.V. Ramanandam, to play the hero in his film "Varoodhini". He immediately abandoned the job, and left for Salem to join the celluloid world. In fact, it’s a great beginning for the young man. The film "Varoodhini" was released, and in a few days people began to forget that they had ever seen such a movie. No producer dared to offer a role to him.

Soon, S.V.R. was disillusioned with the filmdom and left the Madras presidency and reached Jemshedpur, where he took up the job as a budget assistant with the Tata Company. However, his love for dramas began to bloom multifold. At this juncture, he was married to Leelavathi Vadeti on December 27, 1947. In the days that followed, S.V.R. was given an opportunity to play the villain in the film, "Palletoori Pilla," produced by B.A. Subba Rao. Unfortunately, when S.V.R. was about to take a train to Chennai, his father expired. After performing the final rites, S.V.R. reached Chennai, but somebody had knocked away the villain role.

Luck tapped at S.V.R.'s door through Vijaya Pictures, which offered him the most memorable "Nepala Mantrikudu" role in "Pathala Bhairavi." Immediately, he came into the limelight, followed by "Pellichesi Choodu" (1952). Its Tamil version was also played by him. Within a short time, S.V.R. received appreciation from both Telugu and Tamil audiences.

He acted almost every character in history. He showed a kind of recklessness and arrogance in his dialogue delivery which was especially copied and imitated by MGR, so much so that sometimes a person trying to imitate MGR ends up doing a SVR-mimicry. The iconic status did not reach him so easily. He struggled a lot and from that struggle born a great actor of all times. Maya Bazaar and Missamma are among his famous movies. His dialogue delivery cannot be matched with that of any film personality in the world as he can deliver dialogues even written in Sanskrit with so ease and with complete emotions that no one can ever come close to him in this aspect.

  • His compatriot Gummadi once exclaimed "Fortunate are we to have SVR born in India but SVR is unfortunate to have born here... if he was born in the West he would have been one of the top 5 actors of all time in the world"
  • S.V.R.'s relatives and family circles ridiculed him, saying that he was a fool to go after chances in cinemas by shunning the government jobs.
  • Legendary L.V. Prasad gave S.V.R. the real break by extending him all the moral support and encouragement.
  • The very mention of "Maya Bazaar" brings the picture of S.V.R. as Ghatothkacha in the minds of Andhras and Tamilians.
  • His role as "Nepali Mantrik" in "Pathala Bhairavi" will continue to be remembered by millions of people.
  • As Keechaka in "Narthanasala," S.V.R. proved himself to be the king when it comes to acting the mythological films.
  • He was a passionate game hunter, sporting an excellent fire-arm that he procured from a friend in the British Indian army. One day, he was hunting a deer. But suddenly, the deer stopped running and looked straight into the eyes of S.V.R., as if questioning him "What will you get, if you kill me?" And thereafter S.V.R. never took up the gun again.
  • He won the Best Actor Award for his portrayal of Keechaka in Narthansala at the Indonesian Film Festival. It the first time an Indian actor received an international award in acting. Surprisingly, this fact is not well-known among many people.After getting the award he felt very sad that his own country couldn't honor his talent even though it is accepted by all Indian film fraternity that no one can ever match to SVR acting talent.


  • Yashoda Krishna (1975) .... Kamsa
  • Devudu Chesina Manushulu (1973)
  • Bala Bharatam (1972) .... Bheeshma
  • Iddaru Ammayilu (1972) .... Narayan Rao
  • Koduku Kodalu (1972)
  • Pandanti Kapuram (1972)
  • Papam Pasivaadu (1972)
  • Tata Manavadu (1972)
  • Dasara Bullodu (1971)
  • Prem Nagar (1971) .... Zamindar
  • Sampoorna Ramayanam (1971) .... Ravana
  • Vidhyarthigale Ithile Ithile (1971) .... Principal
  • Mooga Nomu (1969)
  • Bandhavyalu (1968)
  • Bhakta Prahlada (1967/I) .... Hiraynakashipudu
  • Bhakta Prahlada (1967/II)
  • Chadarangam (1967)
  • Rahasyam (1967)
  • Thaikku Thalaimagan (1967) .... Malathi's Father
  • Chilaka Gorinka (1966)
  • Kumari Penn (1966) .... Shyamala's Grandfather
  • Naadi Aada Janme (1965)
  • Bobbili Yudham (1964) .... Tandra Paparayudu
  • Kai Kodutha Deivam (1964)
  • Murali Krishna (1964) .... Murali's Father
  • Ramudu Bheemudu (1964)
  • Velugu Needalu (1964) .... Rao Bahadur Venkataramaiah
  • Narthanasala (1963) .... Keechakudu
  • Iruvar Ullam (1963)
  • Penchina Prema (1963)
  • Gundamma Katha (1962) .... Ramabhadraiah
  • Dakshayagnam (1962/I) .... Dakshudu
  • Manchi Manasulu (1962)
  • Manithan Maravillai (1962)
  • Sri Srikakula Andhra Mahavishnuvu Katha (1962) .... Suchandrasena Maharaju
  • Kalasivunte Kaladu Sukham (1961)
  • Sati Sulochana (1961)
  • Pandava Vanavasam (1961/I) .... Duryodhanudu
  • Usha Parinayam (1961)
  • Deepavali (1960) .... Narakasurudu
  • Harishchandra (1960) .... Harischandra Maharaju
  • Mahakavi Kalidasu (1960/I) .... Bhoja Raju
  • Padikkatha Methai (1960)
  • Parthiban Kanavu (1960) .... King Narasimhavarman I
  • Jayabheri (1959) .... Vijayananda Ramagajapati
  • Krishna Leelalu (1959)
  • Nammina Bantu (1959)
  • Pelli Naati Pramanalu (1958) .... Bheemasena Rao
  • Bhookailas (1958) .... Maayasura
  • Appu Chesi Pappu Koodu (1958) .... Diwan Bahadur Mukunda Rao
  • Chenchu Lakshmi (1958/I) .... Hiranyakashipudu
  • Chenchu Lakshmi (1958/II) .... Hiranyakashapu
  • Mangalya Balam (1958)
  • Maya Bazaar (1957/I) .... Ghatotkajudu
  • Allauddin Adhbhuta Deepam (1957)
  • Maya Bazaar (1957/II) .... Ghatotkajudu
  • Sarangadhara (1957) .... Raja Raja Narendrudu
  • Sati Savitri (1957/I)
  • Todi Kodallu (1957) .... Kutumaba Rao
  • Vinayaka Chaviti (1957) .... Narakasurudu
  • Charana Daasi (1956) .... Raghavaiah
  • Kanakatara (1956)
  • Jayasimha (1955)
  • Santanam (1955) .... Rangayya
  • Anarkali (1955) .... Akbar
  • Missamma (1955) .... Gopalam
  • Missiamma (1955)
  • Chandraharam (1954) .... Dhoomakethu
  • Anta Manavalle (1954) .... Jagannatham
  • Bangaru Papa (1954) .... Kotayya
  • Chakrapani (1954)
  • Bratuku Theruvu (1953) .... Zamindar
  • Chandirani (1953/II)
  • Devadasu (1953) .... Zamindar Narayana Rao
  • Jatakam (1953)
  • Jatakaphalam (1953)
  • Pardesi (1953) .... Rangadu
  • Daasi (1952)
  • Palletooru (1952) .... Ganapati
  • Pelli Chesi Choodu (1952) .... Zamindar Veeyanna
  • Patala Bhairavi (1951) .... Nepala Mantrikudu
  • Navvite Navaratnalu (1951)
  • Palletoori Pilla (1950) .... Taatha
  • Shavukaru (1950) .... Sunnapu Rangadu


  • Bandhavyalu (1968)
  • Chadarangam (1967)


  • Bandhavyalu (1968) (producer)
  • Chadarangam (1967) (producer)
  • Naadi Aada Janme (1965) (producer)

He won an international award for acting for portraying Keechaka in the movie Nartana Saala (1963) at the Jakarta Film Festival in Indonesia.

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