Tollywood’s Rebel Star & former Union minister Krishnam Raju passes away at 83  

A household name in Andhra Pradesh, Krishnam Raju acted in some 180 films in a career spanning five-and-a-half decades.

BySNV Sudhir

Published Sep 11, 2022 | 11:36 AM Updated Sep 11, 2022 | 2:00 PM

Krishnaram Raju, Prabhas

Tollywood’s “rebel star” and former Union minister Uppalapati Krishnam Raju died in the early hours of Monday, 11 September, in Hyderabad. He was 83, and is survived by his wife and three daughters.

Krishnam Raju, a household name in the Telugu-speaking states, was known for his movies in the 1970s and early 1980s. In socials, family dramas, romance, thrillers, and historical and mythological films, Krishnam Raju traversed the entire spectrum.

His successful movies include Amara Deepam, Sita Ramulu, Katakatala Rudraiah and many more.

Krishnam Raju was born in Mogalthur of West Godavari district on 20 January, 1940. He debuted in the movies with Chilaka Gorinka in 1966. Though he initially played the anti-hero, Krishna Raju eventually transformed himself into a hero.

In his five-and-a-half decades in the film industry, he acted in around 180 movies and also produced several movies under his Gopi Kirshna pictures banner.

Uncle to Prabhas of Bahubali fame, the nephew entered filmdom on the back of Raju’s huge legacy.

Cause of death

The Asian Institute of Gastroenterology (AIG) Hospitals in Gachibowli, said in a statement that he was admitted there for post-Covid-19 complications on 5 August.

According to this statement, he was diagnosed with severe pneumonia, caused by multi-drug-resistant bacterial and fungal organisms, and severe infective bronchitis.

He is said to have experienced heart-rhythm disturbances during the hospital stay, besides worsening of kidney function.

He had been on ventilator support since admission, said the AIG Hospitals in its statement, adding that he was on appropriate treatment and under close monitoring.

The statement said he succumbed to severe pneumonia and its complications at 3.16 am on 11 September, having suffered cardiac arrest.

Role in politics

Krishnam Raju was also active in politics, joining the Congress party in 1992 and contesting unsuccessfully from the Narasapuram parliament constituency.

He later joined the BJP and was elected to the 12th and 13th Lok Sabha from the Kakinada and Narasapuram constituencies. In the 1999-2004 Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, he served as both Union minister of state for defence and external affairs between 2001 and 2004.

In March 2009, he joined the Praja Rajyam Party founded by megastar Chiranjeevi. He contested the 2009 general elections on the party’s ticket and lost from the Rajahmundry parliament constituency.

Krishnam Raju received the prestigious Nandi Awards in 1977 and 1984. In 1986, he received a Filmfare award for his role in the movie Tandra Paparayudu. In 2006, Filmfare honoured him with a Lifetime Achievement award.

Raju was admitted to a  private hospital in Gachibowli a few days ago due to ill health. While he was expected to be discharged in a few days and return home, his condition deteriorated and he died in the early hours of Sunday.

Career as Union minister

From 30 September, 2000 to 22 July, 2001: Union Minister of State, Ministry of External Affairs

From 22 July, 2001 till 20 June, 2022:  Union Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

From 1 July,  2002 till 2004: Union Minister of State, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution

Celebrities from the film industry and also politics had taken to Twitter to mourn  Krishnam Raju’s death.