Year-end Roundup: Tollywood legends who left us in 2022

The Telugu film industry lost a few legendary personalities from the Golden Era of Telugu cinema.

ByDeepthi Nandan

Published Dec 31, 2022 | 2:12 PMUpdatedDec 31, 2022 | 2:12 PM

Year-end Roundup: Tollywood legends who left us in 2022

The Telugu movie industry has several irreplaceable legends who have carved out for themselves a niche space not only in Tollywood but also in people’s hearts.

Sadly, 2022 took away several such legendary personalities.

Superstar Krishna, Rebel Star Krishnam Raju, veteran actors Kaikala Satyanarayana, Chalapati Rao and others breathed their last in 2022. Senior directors P Sharath and Tatineni Rama Rao, too, passed away this year.

M Balayya: 9 April 1930 – 9 April 2022

Popular character artist Mannava Balayya passed away in April due to age-related ailments. He was 92.

Balayya, who debuted with Ettuku Pai Ettu in 1958, acted in close to 300 movies in his long career. His roles in Anukuram, Gayam, Manmadhudu, Malleeshwari, Tappu Chesi Pappu Kudu and others were widely lauded.

Besides acting, Balayya had also produced and directed movies. He was the recipient of the Raghupathi Venkaiah Award for his contribution to cinema in 2010.

Krishnam Raju: 20 January 1940 – 11 September 2022

Popular actor Uppalapati Venkata Krishnam Raju fondly referred to as Rebel Star, passed away in September.

Krishnaram Raju, Prabhas

Tollywood veteran Krishnam Raju (right) with his nephew Prabhas of Bahubali fame. (Supplied)

A veteran actor with about 183 movies to his credit, Krishnam Raju was known for movies such as Krishnaveni, Bhakta Kannappa, Trishulam, Tandra Paparayudu, Bobbili Brahmanna and others.

In his career spanning more than six decades, Krishnam Raju has also excelled as a producer.

Respected and loved by his colleagues and the general public, Krishnam Raju had a successful stint in politics. He had two terms in the Lok Sabha.

As a Union minister of state, he had held the external affairs, defence and consumer affairs portfolios.

Though his nephew Prabhas has been carrying forward his legacy in the film industry, the Telugu film industry will miss him dearly.

Superstar Krishna: 31 May 1943 – 15 November 2022

Superstar Krishna, also fondly referred to as Natashekara, passed away on 15 November.

Superstar Krishna Mahesh Babu

Superstar Krishna with his son Mahesh Babu. (Supplied)

Padma Bhushan Krishna had acted in more than 350 movies, besides donning the roles of producer, director, studio owner and Lok Sabha member in his life.

In a career spanning about six decades, Krishna had several remarkable movies such as Alluri Seetha Rama Raju, Goodachari 116, Pandanti Kapuram, Simhasanam, Paadi Pantalu, Mosagallaku Mosagadu and others to his credit.

Known for taking risks, he introduced several new technologies and trends in Telugu films like the first 70MM movie, the first cinemascope, cowboy and James Bond genres.

An actor and filmmaker par excellence, Krishna was also a great human being, known for his philanthropic activities.

Krishna’s last rites were performed with state honours and the outpouring of grief reflected the love of his colleagues, friends, fans and supporters. His demise has left an unfillable void in Tollywood.

Kaikala Satyanarayana: 25 July 1935 – 23 December 2022

Kaikala Satyanarayana, the legendary actor who won the hearts of movie lovers playing a villain and character roles, died of cardiac arrest in December.

Kaikala Satyanarayana dies

Veteran actor Kaikala Satyanarayana passed away on 23 December in Hyderabad. (Twitter)

He acted in more than 300 films and also produced hit movies such as Kodamasimham and Bangaru Kutumbam in his career.

The thespian, who hailed from Krishna district in Andhra Pradesh, became a household name across the Telugu states. His portrayal of the mythological character, Lord Yama, will be remembered forever by Telugu movie lovers.

Kaikala worked with all-time greats like NT Rama Rao, Akkineni Nageswara Rao, Krishna, Savitri, SV Ranga Rao and others. He belonged to the golden age of the Telugu film industry.

Kaikala Satyanarayana was also elected to the Lok Sabha from the Machilipatnam constituency in 1996.

Chalapathi Rao: 8 May 1944 – 24 December 2022

A day after legendary actor Kaikala Satyanarayana’s death, the Telugu film industry lost actor Chalapathi Rao.

T Chalapati Rao

T Chalapathi Rao. (Supplied)

He had acted in more than 270 movies. The actor, who made his debut with Gudachari 116 in 1966, had also produced a few movies, Kaliyuga Krishnudu, Kadapareddamma, Jagannatakam, Pellante Nurella Panta, Presidentigari Alludu, Ardharatri Hatyalu and Raktham Chindina Raatri.

Chalapathi Rao was fondly called Babai, since he acted mostly in the roles of father or uncle.

Besides legendary actors, Tollywood also lost two directors Tatineni Rama Rao and P Sharath in 2022.

While Tatineni Rama Rao is known for his movies such as Yamagola, director Sharath is credited with hit flicks like Vamshanikokkadu, Peddannayya, Peddintalludu and others.

Tatineni Rama Rao: 1938 – 20 April 2022

Tatineni Rama Rao directed around 75 films in a career spanning over four decades between 1966 and 2000.

Besides directing popular movies like Yamagola, Jeevana Tarangalu, Pachani Kapuram and Golmal Govindam in Telugu, Tatineni Rama Rao also directed several hit films in the Hindi language.

The 83-year-old director passed away due to age-related ailments in Chennai.

Director Sharath died of cancer on 1 April 2022. He made his debut as director ina  1986 with Chadasthapu Mogudu.

He later directed several hit movies with Nandamuri Balakrishna and Suman in lead roles. In a career spanning over 16 years, he directed about 35 movies. He was unmarried.