Tollywood superstar Krishna dies at 79

Hyderabad, Nov 15: Veteran Tollywood actor Krishna passed away at a hospital in Hyderabad early Tuesday while undergoing treatment after he suffered cardiac arrest. He was 79.

Superstar Krishna, one of the last legends of the Telugu film industry, breathed his last at Continental Hospital, where he was admitted late Sunday night after he suffered cardiac arrest.

According to doctors he was brought to the hospital in an unconscious state but was revived after 20 minutes of CPR. He was put on a ventilator and his condition was critical.

Krishna’s son and popular actor Mahesh Babu and other family members were present at the hospital.

Ghattamaneni Siva Rama Krishna Murthy or Krishna, as he was popularly known, acted in more than 350 films in a career spanning five decades. He also produced and directed a few films.

Born on May 31, 1942 at Burripalem in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, Krishna entered the film industry in early 1960s with small roles. He debuted as the lead actor with the 1965 movie aThene Manasulu’, which became a hit.

‘Gudacchari 116’ (1966), a spy film, proved to be a superhit, making Krishna one of the most sought after actors. With this success, he got offers for 20 films. He subsequently acted in at least six James Bond like movies.

‘Sakshi’ (1967) won critical acclaim at the Tashkent film festival. His 1972 movie ‘Pandanti Kapuram’ bagged the national film award for best feature film in Telugu for that year.

Krishna is known for many landmark movies like ‘Alluri Seetharama Raju’ (19767), which was the first cinemascope movie in Tollywood, ‘Eenadu’ (1982), first Eastman color film and ‘Simhasanam’ (1986), the first 70 mm film.

The superstar founded Padmalaya Studio in 1970 and produced some highly successful movies.

Krishna married Indira Devi in 1965. They had two sons including Mahesh Babu and three daughters. In 1969, he married actor Vijaya Nirmala and had one son from her. She died in 2019.

The superstar was reported to be depressed since the death of his wife Indira Devi in September. Early this year, he lost his elder son Ramesh Babu.

Krishna was considered close to former Prime Minister Rahiv Gandhi. He joined the Congress party in 1984 and was a critic of legendary actor N.T. Rama Rao and his Telugu Desam Party. Krishna had made few films criticising NTR and his government.

Krishna was elected to Lok sabha from Eluru in 1989 but lost the election in 1991 from the same constituency. After Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, Krishna distanced himself from politics

He received several awards including NTR national award in 2003. In 2009, he was honoured with the Padma Bhushan for his contributions to Indian cinema.


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