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Telugu superstar Krishna is no more

Krishna passed away due to a cardiac arrest. He was 79.

Veteran actor Ghattamaneni Krishna, fondly known as Krishna Garu, passed away due to a cardiac arrest on November 14. He was 79. The actor was Mahesh Babu’s father. Popularly known as superstar Krishna, he dominated the industry with his ‘daring and dashing hero’ image for five decades. Born as Ghattamaneni Siva Rama Krishna Murthy on May 31, 1942, at Burripalem in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, he featured in more than 350 films.

After playing small roles in a few films, Krishna formally made a debut in 1964 with Thene Manasulu, which proved to be a hit. With the next movie Gudacchari 116 (1966), a spy thriller, proving to be a super-hit, he established himself as a big actor. The handsome looking actor came to be known as ‘Andhra James Bond’. He later portrayed similar roles in six more movies. Krishna and his movies became a trendsetter in Tollywood.

Sakshi (1967), directed by Bapu, was the first Telugu film to be shot completely in outdoor locations. The film won critical acclaim at the Tashkent film festival. After this success, Krishna never looked back. One of the busiest actors of his times, he was working in at least a dozen films every year. In 1969, as many as 15 of his movies were released. This trend continued throughout the 1970s. He worked in 18 films in 1972. With Mosagallaku Mosagadu (1971), he introduced the cowboy trend in Tollywood. His 1972 movie Pandanti Kapuram bagged the national film award for best feature film in Telugu for that year. The superstar founded Padmalaya Studio in 1970 and produced some highly successful and trendsetting movies.

Krishna is known for many landmark movies like Alluri Seetharama Raju (1974), which was the first cinemascope movie in Tollywood, Eenadu (1982), first Eastman colour film and Simhasanam (1986), the first 70 mm film. In Alluri Seetharama Raju, he donned the role of revolutionary tribal warrior Alluri and the film went on to become biggest grosser of its times.

Krishna’s Pandanti Kapuram won a National Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu. He is also credited for bringing many technological advancements in Telugu cinema — first cinemascope movie, Alluri Seetharama Raju (1974), the first Eastmancolor film, Eenadu (1982), the first 70mm film, Simhasanam (1986) and the first DTS film, Telugu Veera Levara (1995). Acknowledging his contribution to Indian cinema, in 2009, Indian government also conferred him with Padma Bhushan.

Meanwhile, the film industry as well as fans have mourned the demise of the superstar. Allu Arjun tweeted, “Heart broken by the demise of Krishna Garu. His contribution to the Telugu cinema industry cannot be described in words. A true superstar by all means. My deepest condolences to his family, well-wishers and fans. May his beautiful soul rest in peace.”

Ravi Teja wrote, “Such a devastating loss for the entire film industry. What a legend he was! Had the pleasure of working with him and a total privilege to know him personally. Rest in peace #SuperStarKrishna Garu!” Many other celebs, including Rajinikanth, Chiranjeevi, Jr NTR, Suriya, Nani, Keerthy Suresh and Pooja Hegde, also mourned his demise.

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