Father of South Indian Cinema Ignored in list of 50 Icons

\"raghupathi-venkaiah-naidu\"The Telugu film industry may be gloating over the fact that three Telugu film personalities have figured among the all-time greats of Indian cinema in the postal stamps issued commemorating the 100 years of Indian cinema, but injustice has been done to the biggest of them all. Raghupathi Venkaiah, a Telugu, revered as the father of South Indian cinema, has been ignored in the list of the \’50 iconic personalities of Indian cinema\’. The postal stamps, brought out by the department of posts, were released by the President  Pranab Mukherjee on May 3.Such is the reverence for Raghupathi Venkaiah that the state government had instituted an award in his name in 1981 to honour film personalities for their contribution.

The three Telugu personalities who have made it to the \’Iconic 50\’ are Allu Ramalingaiah, Bhanumathi Ramakrishna and S V Ranga Rao – all of whom are no more. Allu Ramalingaiah, a comedian and father-in-law of Union minister of state for tourism Chiranjeevi, acted in over 1,000 films. Bhanumathi was a singer-actor and S V Ranga Rao was well-known for portraying mythological roles with panache. Incidentally, Allu Ramalingaiah and Bhanumathi were recipients of the Raghupathi Venkaiah award.

Hailing from Machilipatnam, Raghupathi Venkaiah, the son of an armyman, set up a photo studio in Madras at Mount Road in 1906. Spending as much as Rs 30,000 in those days, he imported a \’chronomegaphone\’ and started screening shorts films in \’tents\’. He even went to Sri Lanka and Burma   to screen movies. 

In 1912, Venkaiah constructed \’Gaity\’, which was the first full-fledged theatre. Some of the films that he exhibited there included \’Million Dollar Mystery\’ and \’Mysteries of Meera\’. Later he went on to build another theatre called \’Crown\’ on Mint Street. The following year, in 1913, he started his own production house \’Star of the East Films\’ and also set up the \’Glass Studio\’ for film shootings. \”He was practically the first exhibitor, distributor and producer in South India,\” film historian Udayawarlu said.

Raghupathi Venkaiah sent his son Prakash abroad to study filmmaking and he made films like \’Bhishma Pratigna\’, \’Gajendra Moksham\’, etc. \”There is no doubt   Raghupathi Venkaiah is the father of South Indian cinema. He should have most certainly figured in the \’Iconic 50\’. It is not a good feeling that he has been left out,\” Tammareddy Bharadwaja, president, A P Film  chamber of commerce   said when contacted.

Earlier during the day, film industry personalities including Movie Artistes Association (MAA) president M Muralimohan, Tammareddy Bharadwaja, K Ashok Kumar  , C Kalyan and others took pride in the fact that three Telugu film personalities made it to the \’Iconic list\’. \”We will write to the authorities on how important a personality he was,\” Bharadwaja said.(Source-Times of India)

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4 Responses to Father of South Indian Cinema Ignored in list of 50 Icons

  1. M. Gulrez says:

    Not only the father of Telugu films, but also the great personalities of Indian cinema such as Feroze Khan, Sunil Dutt, Raj Kumar, A.K. Hangal, Amrish Puri, Amjad Khan, singer Mahendra Kapoor, Talat Mahmood writer-director Khawaja Ahmed Abbas have been ignored.

  2. Dinu says:

    Nice reason to issue another 50 in 2014 as concluding year. Many are left out , so another 50 will not do any harm

  3. Anil Nawlakhe says:

    Who proposed the icons for celebration through issue of 50 stamps? What was the process of selecting 50 out of huge figures? Can one know the history of these 50 stamps? Can one know the details about decision making process followed/undergone for these celebration stamps?
    The celebration was out of public fund and time utility on behalf of public thus its right of public to get it known. Will India post be enough transparent over these issues? After all issuing stamps are government endeavor on behalf public and not a private activity of ‘any individual’ in chair. If stamp collector do not know answer are we right in keeping these stamps closed in stamp album? If question are raised about such stamps it will be question on citizen and their awareness; here it becomes question to stamp collectors/philatelists…

  4. Dr pranachand panda says:

    India post has deliberately ignored to release stamps on personalities of Odia cinema.Odiacinema has crossed 75 yearsand many odia films ,directors, actors, are rewarded and popular in India and abroad. Not a single stamp released on Odia cinema till date.

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