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Bapu : A Mutli-Talented Genius

Bapu is one of those very few gifted men, this country should be proud of. None deserves more than him, a higher order 'Padma' award - 'Padmabhushan' if not 'Padmavibhushan'. He is a great illustrator, humorist, cartoonist, film director and above all a great human being. Request him to design a cover page for you, you will have it soon. Such is his magnanimity.


His drawings on various dance styles in India and then on ‘Navarasa’ (nine drawings each depicting the mood of each of the nine rasas) adorn the huge walls of cultural centers and university venues in Andhra Pradesh. 'Radha Gopalam' is his latest film that ran reasonably well, but has all the ingredients that Bapu is made of - cartooning to tit bit jokes, plus an entertaining story line to reflect all these various facets of Bapu.


Andala RamuduGorantha DeepamManavuri Pandavulu
Andala RamuduGorantha DeepamManavuri Pandavulu

Perhaps no other artiste has a 'font' named after him, except Bapu. There is a 'Bapu Font' in Telugu, which is used by leading magazines and dailies. Bapu has specially worked on this and gave it to Telugu literary world. Andhra University awarded him with a honorary doctorate.


He studied law but became the youngest illustrator. He hails from Narsapur in West Godavari District. Sattiraju Lakshminarayana is his real name. But he is known as Bapu to millions of his admirers. He was even enrolled as an advocate in Madras High court. He worked as cartoonist for a daily and as an art consultant to a government organization. Even before he took interest in making cinema, he held umpteen one-man shows including one in London. But his urge to move his figures across screen with a plot resulted in the film 'Sakshi'. He wanted to show everything as real as possible. But this did not pay. But this offbeat film took him to Tashkent film festival. By now he must have made about forty films in Telugu, including eight in Hindi and a few in Tamil. The latest was 'Radha Gopalam'.


RambantuSeeta KalyanamThyagayya
RambantuSeeta KalyanamThyagayya

Humor has been his strong point and in this Mullapudi Venkata Ramana takes equal credit. They came out with wonderful films like 'Muthyalamuggu' that won the best regional film award, at national level. But 'Sita Kalyanam' drew world interest. It was featured in Chicago Film Festival and in London film festival as well in 1978. The 'Gangavataranam' scene drew great applause everywhere it was screened. Ravi Nagaich's special effects added beauty. 'Hum Panch' in Hindi directed by him drew the attention of North. It was Bapu who put Anil Kapoor on the Indian screen for the first time through his 'Vamsavriksham'. 'Manavoori Pandavulu' and 'Buddhimanthudu' ran well. 'Srinatha Kavi Sarvabhoumudu' is a landmark film though this did not do well in commercial market. NTR's last film was that. 'Gorantha Deepam', 'Pellipustakam' and 'Mr.Pellam' are hilarious and purposeful films, all heroine-oriented.


Another great achivement by Bapu and Ramana combination was the production of video films for primary school children from 1st to 3rd classes. This was considered as great work for the cause of literacy, during NTR's regime. They made 30-hour video lessons. These are enough for the Government of India to feel guilty of ignoring this honest genius in not including him in the list of Padma Awardees, so far.


Sampoorna RamayanamSakshiRadha Gopalam
Sampoorna RamayanamSakshiRadha Gopalam

'cinegoer.com' salutes this great movie maker and illustrator on the occasion of launching of this new but versatile website.
- KOUNDINYA