Krishna (1943-2022) was an Indian actor, producer, director, and politician who primarily worked in the Telugu film industry. He rose to fame for playing the role in popular Telugu films like Private Master (1967) as Krishna, Sabash Satyam (1969) as Satyam, Pandanti Kapuram (1970) as Ravi, Devudu Chesina Manushulu (1973) as Gopi, Alluri Seetharama Raju (1974) as Alluri Sitarama Raju, Kurukshetram (1977) as Arjuna, and Number One (1994) as Vijay. On 15 November 2022, he took his last breath around 4:09 am at the Continental Hospital in Nanakaramguda, Telangana after he suffered a cardiac arrest at his residence.
Ghattamaneni Siva Rama Krishna Murthy was born on Monday, 31 May 1943 (age 79 years; at the time of death ) in Burripalem village of Tenali block in Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh. His zodiac sign was Gemini. Krishna enrolled himself at a local school in Burripallem, Andhra Pradesh to complete his primary education. Later, to complete his secondary and intermediate education, Krishna shifted to Tenali and Narsapur in Andhra Pradesh respectively. He pursued his graduation at the C. R. Reddy college in Eluru, Andhra Pradesh. Since his college days, Krishna aspired to become an actor. He actively participated in various stage plays and cultural activities. He performed in various theatrical productions with the theatre group Praja Natya Mandali. Krishna acted in a play, Cheesina Paapam Kaasiki Velleena and received a splendid response from the audience. Since that day, he decided to take up acting as his profession.
Height (approx.): 5′ 10″
Hair Colour: Salt & Pepper (semi-bald)
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
Krishna belonged to a traditional Chowdhary family of farmers.
Parents & Siblings
Krishna’s father, Ghattamaneni Raghavaiah Chowdary, was a farmer. His mother’s name is Ghattamaneni Nagaratnamma. Krishna has two brothers, Ghattamaneni Adi Seshagiri Rao, an Indian film producer and Ghattamaneni Hanumantha Rao, an Indian film producer and screenwriter. He has two sisters, Aliveelumangamma and Lakshmi Ghattamaneni.
Picture of Ghattamaneni Adi Seshagiri Rao
Picture of Krishna’s brother, Ghattamaneni Hanumantha Rao
Wife & Children
Krishna was married to Indira Devi, a homemaker.
Krishna with his first wife Indira Devi
The couple has two sons, Ramesh Babu and Mahesh Babu. Ramesh Babu was an Indian actor and film producer who passed away on 8 January 2022, at the age of 56, after suffering from prolonged liver disease. Mahesh Babu is a well-known actor and producer.
Ramesh Babu (right) with his father Krishna, and brother, Mahesh Babu (middle)
They have three daughters, Padmavathi Ghattamaneni, an Indian producer, Manjula Ghattamaneni, an Indian film producer and actress, and Priyadarsini Ghattamaneni, a homemaker.
Krishna with his daughter, Manjula Ghattamaneni
Priyadarshini Ghattamaneni’s photo
In 1967, Krishna met Vijaya Nirmala, an actress, director, and producer on the sets of the Telugu film Sakshi. Krishna divorced his first wife Indira and married Vijaya Nirmala in 1969.
Vijaya Nirmala with her husband, Krishna
Vijaya Nirmala had a son, Naresh Babu, with his first husband K. S. Murthy.
Krishna was a Kamma.
As an actor
In 1961, Krishna made his acting debut with the Telugu film Kula Gotralu in which he played the small role of the bridegroom in the marriage.
Poster of Krishna’s debut film Kula Gotralu (1961)
In 1965, he made his debut as a lead actor with the Telugu film Thene Manasulu as Basavaraju.
Poster of the film Thene Manasulu (1965)
He gained recognition with Telugu films like Gudhachari 116 (1966) as Gopi (Agent 116), Mosagallaku Mosagadu (1971) as Krishna Prasad, Ganga Manga (1973) as Koti, Devadasu (1974) as Devadas, Bhale Dongalu (1976) as Shekhar, and Samajaniki Saval (1979), Ooruki Monagadu (1981) as Ravi, Agni Parvatam (1985) in a dual role of Chandram and Jamadagni, Khaidi Rudraiah (1986) as Rudramaraju Rudrayya Viswanatha Nayakudu (1987) as Viswanatha Nayak, and Gudachari 117 (1988) as Chandrakanth.
Krishna (right) as Agent Gopi in a still from the film Gudhachari 116
Krishna in a still from the film Samajaniki Savaal (1979)
In 2009, Krishna made his Tamil debut with the film Kanthaswamy in which he played the role of R. Krishna Rao.
Poster of Krishna’s debut Tamil film Kanthaswamy (2009)
Krishna’s last film, Sri Sri, was released in 2016 in which he played the role of Sripada Srinivasa Rao.
Poster of the film Sri Sri (2016)
As a director
In 1986, Krishna made his directorial debut with the Telugu film Simhasanam.
Poster of the film Simhasanam (1986)
He directed a few Telugu films like Sankharavam (1987), Mugguru Kodukulu (1988), Koduku Diddina Kapuram (1989), Balachandrudu (1990), Anna Thammudu (1990) and his son, Mahesh Babu, acted in the same films. In 2004, Krishna directed a Bollywood film, Ishq Hai Tumse starring Bipasha Basu and Dino Morea.
Poster of the Bollywood film Ishq Hai Tumse (2004)
Krishna’s last directorial film, Pandanti Samsaram, was released in 2001.
Poster of the film Pandanti Samsaram, which is the last directorial film of Krishna
As a producer
Krishna, along with his brothers, Ghattamaneni Adi Seshagiri Rao and Ghattamaneni Hanumantha Rao founded Padmalaya Studios in Hyderabad, which is an Indian film production and distribution company that primarily produces Tamil and Hindi films. In 1972, Krishna and his second wife Vijaya Nirmala, launched their production house, Vijaya Krishna movies. In 1973, he made his debut as a producer with the Telugu film Devudu Chesina Manushulu.
Poster of the film Devudu Chesina Manushulu (1973)
Krishna produced films in various languages like Devudu Chesina Manushulu (1973), Kurukshetram (1977), Koduku Diddina Kapuram (1989) (Telugu), Himmatwala (1983), Sooryavansham (1999), Kyaa Dil Ne Kahaa (2002) (Hindi), Vishwaroopam (1980), Thyagi (1982), Maaveeran (1986) (Tamil), and Amara Jyothi (1985) (Kannada). As an actor, he holds the record of producing more than 50 films in various languages.
As a politician
Krishna was a determined supporter of the Indian National Congress party. He was invited by Rajiv Gandhi, the 6th Prime Minister of India, to join the Congress party. Krishna was significantly inspired by him, and he decided to join politics.
Krishna (left) with former Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi
In 1989, he was elected as a member of parliament from the Eluru parliamentary constituency. In 1991, he lost to Bolla Bulli Ramaiah of the Telugu Desam Party from the same constituency. Krishna left his political career in the same year after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi on 21 May 1991 by a suicide bomber at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu.
Awards, Honours, Achievements
- 1974: Nandi Award for Best Actor for the film Alluri Sita Rama Raju
- 1989: Awarded an honorary doctorate by the Andhra University
- 1997: Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award – South at the Filmfare Awards South ceremony
- 2009: Received India’s third-highest civilian honour Padma Bhushan by Pratibha Devisingh Patil, the 12th President of India, for his contribution to Indian cinema
Krishna posing while receiving India’s third-highest civilian honour Padma Bhushan from Pratibha Devisingh Patil, the 12th President of India
- 2013: NTR National Award by the government of Andhra Pradesh
- 2015: Akkineni Nageswara Rao (ANR) National Award by the Akkineni International Foundation
- 2017: American Telugu Association ATA’s Lifetime Achievement Award
Krishna with his American Telugu Association ATA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017
- 2018: Lifetime Achievement Award at the Sakshi Excellence Awards
On 14 November 2022, Krishna suffered a massive cardiac arrest, and he, being in an unconscious state, was immediately rushed to the Continental Hospital in Nanakaramguda, Telangana. After 20 minutes of CPR, the doctors revived him, but his condition remained critical and on 15 November 2022, around 4:09 am, Krishna took his last breath.
Krishna’s son, Mahesh Babu, while performing the rituals during his last rites
- Krishna is fondly called Nata Sekhara, Superstar Krishna, Daring and Dashing Hero, and James Bond of Telugu films by his fans.
- According to some media sources, Krishna, during his college days, shared his hostel room with Shoban Babu and Murali Mohan, actors from the Telugu film industry.
- In an interview, Thene Manasulu film’s director, Adurthi Subba Rao, revealed that he was forced to drop the lead actor of the film Krishna from his film as he was a newcomer in the industry. However, Adurthi shot the film with the planned cast and released it on 31 March 1965. Krishna talked about how he was selected to play the lead role of Basavaraju in the film and said,
At the time Adurthi garu reached the status of top director, he announced a movie with new artists. So when I sent my photo, he responded to it and sent a message to meet him. When I went and met him, he said he would inform me after a month. As told by him I was called to his office Babu Movies after a month and was told that I was booked as a hero. I did four films in his combination. ‘Mayadaari Malligadu’ is an unforgettable movie among all.”
- In 1972, Krishna created a unique record of appearing in 17 Telugu films as an actor in a single year.
- As a producer, Krishna launched the first cinemascope film Alluri Seetharama Raju in 1974 and the first 70 mm film Simhasanam in 1986 in the Telugu film industry.
Krishna as Alluri Sitarama Raju in a still from the film Alluri Seetharama Raju (1974)
- In an interview, on being asked about his favourite actors, Krishna revealed that N. T. Rama Rao and Akkineni Nagarjuna are one of his favourites from the Telugu film industry.
- In 1974, the 100th film of Krishna Alluri Sita Ramaraju was released. In 1982, he completed his 200th film mark with the film Eenadu. His 300th film, Telugu Veera Levara, was released in 1995.
- In 1982, with the Telugu film Eenadu, Krishna introduced the Eastman colour grading technology in the Telugu film industry.
Poster of the film Eenadu, which is the first film made with Eastman colour grading technology in the Telugu film industry
- The first DTS film (Digital Theatre System) Telugu Veera Levara was launched by Krishna in 1995.
Poster of the film Telugu Veera Levara (1995), the first DTS film (Digital Theatre System) in the Telugu film industry
- Krishna became the first actor to launch and act in a spy action thriller and cowboy/western genre films with the film Gudachari 116 (1966) and Mosagallaku Mosagadu (1971) respectively.
Poster of the film Mosagallaku Mosagadu (1971), which introduced the concept of the cowboy/western genre in the Telugu film industry
- Krishna acted in 48 films with his second wife Vijayanirmala, and he did 47 films with Jayaprada, an Indian actress and politician.
- After Krishna retired from the film industry in 2017, to honour his contribution to the Telugu film industry, the Australian postal department launched special stamps under the name “Superstar Krishna.”
A picture of special stamps dedicated to Krishna by the Australian postal department
- In 2019, after his second wife Vijaya Nirmala passed away, Krishna inaugurated her bronze statue along with his family members on the occasion of her 74th birth anniversary at his residence in Nanakramguda in Hyderabad.
Krishna, along with his family members, on the inauguration ceremony of his late wife Vijaya Nirmala’s bronze statue at his residence in Hyderabad
- On the occasion of Krishna’s 78th birthday on 31 May 2021, he participated in the Green India Challenge at the request of the founder of the Green India Challenge Joginapally Santosh Kumar and planted saplings at his residence in Nanakramguda, Hyderabad.
Krishna planting saplings at his residence in Hyderabad
- In an interview, Mahesh Babu talked about making a biopic on his father Krishna and revealed that he would not portray his father’s role in the film and said,
Krishna’s biopic is a to be watched film for Telugu people. But I could never make an attempt even to portray my father’s role in the film. I would surely be interested to be a part of the film as a producer and give all the support if anyone does make such an attempt. I will surely encourage such an idea. I am so excited about it.”