Media personality and businessman Ramoji Rao dies aged 87

Ramoji Rao's mortal remains were shifted to his residence in the Ramoji Film City on the outskirts of Hyderabad.

BySouth First Desk

Published Jun 08, 2024 | 10:04 AMUpdatedJun 08, 2024 | 1:56 PM

Ramoji Rao

Media personality and Ramoji Group Chairman Ch Ramoji Rao died at a hospital in Hyderabad early Saturday, 8 June. He was 87.

Rao, who was undergoing treatment for the past few days, breathed his last at 4.50 am, according to ETV, Telangana, one of the Ramoji group channels.

According to the Eenadu group, Ramoji Rao was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday, 5 June, after facing difficulty in breathing.

Ramoji Rao’s mortal remains were shifted to his residence in the Ramoji Film City on the outskirts of Hyderabad.

Ramoji Rao is survived by his wife Rama Devi and son Ch Kiran. His younger son died of leukaemia in 2012.

A multi-faceted businessman

Born on 16 November 1936, in the Krishna district of the then Madras presidency, Ramoji Rao was a multi-faceted person, who established the Telugu daily, Eenadu in 1974. Eventually, he also tried his hand and succeded in various fields, including chit funds—Marga Darshi Chit Funds, movie production, and the hospitality industry.

The largest film studio in the world, Ramoji Film City was also established by him, near Hyderabad in 1996.

Apart from his media groups— Eenadu Telugu Daily, and ETV news, Ramoji Rao also headed the movie production company Usha Kiran Movies, and film distribution company, Mayuri Film Distribution.

He also headed Dolphin Group of hotels, Kalanjali clothing company, and malls, and Priya pickles.

Ramoji Rao also received Padma Vibhusan in 2016, from the then President Ram Nath Kovind, for his contribution in the field of media, literacy and journalism.

Condolences pour in

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressing his condolences, called the media baron, someone who revolutionised the media industry.

“His rich contributions have left an indelible mark on journalism and the world of films. Through his noteworthy efforts, he set new standards for innovation and excellence in the media and entertainment world,” he further wrote.

President Droupadi Murmu also condoled the demise of Ramoji Rao and said his contributions to the industry will be long remembered.

“With the demise of Shri Ramoji Rao, India has lost a titan of the media and entertainment sector,” President Murmu said in a post on X.

An innovative entrepreneur, he pioneered a number of ventures, including the Eenadu newspaper, ETV news network and Ramoji Film City, President Murmu said.

“Honoured with Padma Vibhushan, he succeeded as his vision was essentially rooted in society. His contributions to this industry will be long remembered. My condolences to his family and well-wishers,” she said.

TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu called Ramoji Rao an inspiration for him in fighting the issues with society.

Further calling him an asset to the Telugu society, Naidu wrote, “As an ‘Akshara Yodha’, Shri Ramoji rendered many services to the Telugu states and the country.”

Naidu added, “His quality of calling spade a spade, and not giving up on his ideals, is what brought me closer to him.”

Telugu Superstar Chiranjeevi and his brother Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena party have condoled the death of Ramoji Rao.

Telangana Chief Minister Revanth Reddy, calling the loss irreparable to the media industry, expressed his condolences.

AICC chief Mallikarjun Kharge too expressed his condolences.

Former Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, TDP Chief N Chandrababu Naidu, Union Minister G Kishan Reddy, Telangana Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy, former Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao and several other leaders condoled the death of Ramoji Rao.

Venkaiah Naidu said Ramoji Rao set a new trend in every field he worked.

Ramoji Rao’s service to Telugu language and culture will be remembered forever, he added.

Calling him a warm and affectionate person, former Minister KTR expressed his condolences on X.

Tamil Nadu and Kerala CMs express condolences 

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday condoled the demise of media mogul Ch Ramoji Rao and described him as a “visionary” in the film and media sectors.

In a post on his X handle, the CM said Rao’s curiosity, foresight, and determination left an indelible mark on every field he ventured into, serving as an example and inspiration to all.

Ramoji Rao played an unparalleled role in the growth of vernacular media, and his contributions to the film industry were equally significant, he noted.

The Left veteran, in the social media post, also recalled how Rao had stood by Kerala during its crises, notably contributing to the post-flood reconstruction efforts.

“His death is a profound loss to the entire country. I join in the grief of his family and friends, paying my heartfelt tributes to his legacy,” Vijayan added.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK president MK Stalin too condoled the death of Ramoji Rao and hailed his contributions to journalism and the film industry.

In a post on X, Stalin said: “Deeply saddened by the passing away of Padma Vibhushan Thiru. Ramoji Rao garu, the visionary founder of the Ramoji Group. His remarkable contributions to media, journalism, and the film industry have left an everlasting legacy. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends, and admirers during this difficult time.”

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‘Instrumental in bringing NTR to power’

S Venkat Narayan, a senior journalist, author and friend of Ramoji Rao said, “Ramoji Rao and his Eenadu Telugu daily were instrumental in bringing NT Rama Rao to power in 1982.”

Recollecting the words of Ramoji Rao, Venkat Narayan said, that after Indira Gandhi imposed the Emergency in 1977, he (Ramoji Rao) was so upset and angry, that he wanted to set up his own political party. However, when NTR came and sought his support for the Telugu Desam Party, he dropped the idea and went all out to help NTR.

Recalling his last meet, Narayan said, “I told him that his achievements deserved a biography. I offered to write one. He said: ‘I am an ordinary man. I don’t think I have done anything great that deserves to be written about.”

“In my half-century-long career, I travelled across the globe and met scores of billionaires, Kings, Presidents, Prime Ministers, film stars, cricketers and others. But Billionaire Media Baron Ramoji Rao garu was the humblest and most modest of them all! May his soul rest in peace,” he added.

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