Any lover of telugu cinema need not have the introduction to a phenomenon which was called S V RANGA RAO aka SVR and his legacy. If there was any artist ever in Telugu cinema, in fact for entire Indian cinema of yore, to be called as of international standards, his name should be reckoned as SVR. He must be the only actor to have received a title which really suits his talent and aura, “VISWA NATA CHAKRAVARTHY.” He gained that title and remained immortal in the heart of every film lover.
When we look into the early life of SVR, we would find it very similar to scores of others who made it big in their middle age. SVR was a stage artist of repute and came to Madras with a passion for acting in films. He got a chance to play a role in “Varoodhini” with the help of his relative B V Ramanandam. But the film was a miserable flop.
SVR was ridiculed in that movie and lost hope over his acting career. And being a self-respecting individual, he imposed himself an exile from film land when he joined as a Budget Assistant in the Tata Company in Jamshedpur. But his passion for films continued. But the hide and seek game of films and job continued for a while when Vijaya Productions thought SVR would be the apt Nepala Mantrika for “Patala Bhairavi.” And as they say, rest is history. “Patala Bhairavi” brought forward exciting talents out from the closet and made them superstars. Along with SVR, NTR, Relangi and Padmanabham became household names and the songs in the voices of Ghantasala and Leela reverbarated on everybody’s lips.
Soon many more movies followed from Vijaya Productions which established SVR as a character artiste and a villain. “Missamma,” “Appu Chesi Pappu Koodu”, “Maaya Bazaar”, “Pelli Chesi Choodu,” “Gundamma Katha” became the shining lights of SVR’s career. And his career reached the pinnacle when SVR was chosen as the Best Actor at the Jakarta Film Festival for his role as Keechaka in the myhtological “Nartanasala.”
More hits followed with “Pandava Vanavasam” ‘Sampoorna Ramayanam” “Papam Pasivadu” “Bandhavyalu” “Chiranjeevulu” “Pandanti Kapuram”, “Iddaru Ammayilu” and many more. The strange part about SVR was that though he is often the character artiste in these movies, they used to rest on his able shoulders to bring the liveliness in the proceedings.
SVR showed a kind of recklessness and arrogance in his dialogue delivery. He had a flawless diction and a style which was unmatchable. He used to deliver difficult Sanskrit sentences with ease which is unparalleled. We can also see a similar dialogue modulation in Tamil legend MGR. The mimicry artists who try to mimic MGR unintentionally end up mimicking SVR.
S V. Ranga Rao was a complete artist. He had all qualities in his personality that one actor should have. He became extraordinary one among millions with his magnificent personality and powerful diction. He didn’t imitate any one but every art student and actor consider him as their Idol. He expressed all emotions with a blink of his eye. His performances are considered as lessons for fine arts students. A true humanitarian lied behind his heart and he was firm supporter of upcoming artists.
He may have died on 18th July 1974 but his legacy lives.