A star has fallen. He is not a star hero though but a star director, Dasari Narayana Rao. This generation might hardly understand the greatness of this man. For that matter not many might completely comprehend Sukumar’s farewell letter to him (in below link).
One thing that was obvious from that letter was how in Dasari’s movies, heroes, the biggest of the stars, died in the movies. That’s how much the actors believed in his ability to portray and convince audience of his vision. Some of the examples being Bobbili Puli with NTR, Premabhishekam and Megha Sandesam with ANR, Sivaji Ganesan’s ViswanathaNayakudu, Krishnamraju’s Thandra Paparayudu (although historical), Nagarjuna’s Majnu and Chiranjeevi’s Lankeswarudu.
He was one director who made total commercial movies like Bobbili Puli, Premabhishekam etc, very good message oriented movies like Thatha Manavadu, Swargam Narakam etc, artsy films like Sivaranjani, Mega Sandesam etc and Historicals like Thandra Paparayudu, Viswanatha Nayakudu etc all with equal deft.
Towards the last decade of his life he openly supported small budget films. He was the sole voice heard in support of small movies when they were bulldozed by big budgeted big ticket movies. He always reiterated the notion and stood by it till his breath that “Director is the captain of the ship.” Hit or flop he always stood before his movie as a true captain. His hits were his hits not heroes and his flops were his too. It was a very rare feat in this hero-dominated industry.
His loss made everyone retrospect what he had done to the community of the directors and small budget films. It is a loss that literally left a void in the Telugu Cinema. Dasari Narayana Rao was, is and will always be remembered as a phenomenon that changed the stature of Directors in Telugu cinema. Rest in peace, sir. You will be missed but your legacy will live forever.
–Column by Rohit (Opinions expressed are his own)
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