Thousands bid tearful adieu to Ramoji Rao, the media baron

He passed away in Hyderabad on 8 June. His funeral, with state honours, took place on 9 June at Ramoji Film City.

BySouth First Desk

Published Jun 09, 2024 | 3:00 PM Updated Jun 09, 2024 | 4:19 PM

Ramoji Rao's last rites held in Hyderabad with state honours. (Supplied)

The mortal remains of Cherukuri Ramoji Rao, chairman of the Ramoji Group, were cremated in Hyderabad on Sunday, 9 June. The funeral, held with full state honors at Ramoji Film City, saw his son Kiran lighting the pyre.

Ramoji Rao, who revolutionised the news and entertainment industry, died at Star Hospital, on 8 June. He was 88.

TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu was among the leaders who attended the last rites.

Ramoji Rao, who created a sensation in the media industry in undivided Andhra Pradesh with the Eenadu newspaper and ETV group of channels, was a recipient of Padma Vibhushan.

A force to reckon with

His other business ventures include Priya Foods, Usha Kiran Movies, Mayuri Film Distributors, Margadarsi Chit Fund, and so on.

The Andhra Pradesh government has decided to observe state mourning on 9 and 10 June. During the state mourning, the National flag will be flown at half-mast throughout the state.

As a mark of respect, many production houses in the Telugu film industry decided to pause their film promotions.

A visionary legacy: How Ramoji Rao shaped the Telugu media landscape

Tributes poured in from Rajinikanth, SS Rajamouli, Nandamuri Balakrishna, TN Chief Minister MK Stalin, Kamal Haasan, Chiranjeevi, Pawan Kalyan, Allu Arjun, Ravi Teja, Mahesh Babu, Riteish Deshmukh, Kangana Ranaut, Suma Kanakala, and others.

From the Hindi film industry, director Kunal Kohli was among the first to offer his condolences.

Born on 16 November 1936, in Krishna district, Andhra Pradesh, Ramoji Rao began his professional career with an advertising agency, Kiran Ads, in Visakhapatnam.

He started Eenadu with an initial print order of approximately 4,000 copies and managed to sell around 3,000 of them.

Following the success of Eenadu, he ventured into the hotel industry and started his inaugural establishment, Dolphin Hotel, in Visakhapatnam during the early 1980s.

Also read: Telugu film fraternity mourns the demise of Ramoji Rao

Tributes pour in for Ramoji Rao on social media

The group’s English daily, News Time, served as a launchpad for several journalists in the 1990s before it was eventually discontinued.

In a 1997 interview with Outlook, Ramoji Rao expressed satisfaction in shaping public opinion when necessary. “A newspaperman should be a referee, never a participant,” he asserted.

Telugu film industry mourns the demise of Ramoji Rao

A file photo of Ramoji Rao at Ramoji Film City. (X)

However, Ramoji Rao was criticised within his state for allegedly spearheading partisan media. Presently, Andhra Pradesh boasts over thirty news channels, the highest number in the country.

On social media, directors, producers, actors, and technicians who had admired Ramoji Rao’s contributions to cinema and Telugu journalism shared memories of their interactions with him.

They recalled his significant impact on cinema and media, which provided jobs for thousands in the Telugu states.

Ramoji Rao is frequently referred to as one of the nation’s foremost media barons, and his narrative elucidates why he is regarded, and perhaps views himself, as one of the most influential figures in Andhra Pradesh.

Top leaders of the country including President Droupadi Murmu, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the death of Rao.

(With inputs from PTI)

Also read: Ramoji Rao, the invisible force behind Andhra’s destiny