Naga Bhushanam, does not need any special mention as an actor in the annals of telugu cinema. He was an actor par excellence in Telugu Cinema and also was a producer. But he was always fondly called as “Raktha Kanneeru” Naga Bhushanam. The play “Raktha Kanneru” in which he played the role of a rich brat turning a leper has made him famous and a household name. This play was staged in various places for nearly two thousand times by him.
From his childhood, Nagabhushanam was interested in Theatre. Though, later on his career, he became a busy actor in film industry, he didn’t quit Theatre. He continued as stage artist up to the end of his life. In fact he used to allot the first five days of every month towards Theatre irrespective of how busy he was with films.
He debuted in Telugu films with “Palletooru” in 1952. In his early career, he even worked as a dubbing artist. Then he became a character actor and acted in “Amara Sandesham, Penki Pellam, Maya Bazar” and others. But he got a big break with his performance in the film ‘Manchi Manasulu’.
“Manchi Manasulu” established him as a villain and his performance was a novelty. He became a regular villain in Telugu Cinema though he would play a soft character here and there. His performance as a villain was not the usual fare of bad temper and vicious laughter but appeared more natural as if straight out from real life. This variation coupled unique diction with witty satires made Nagabhushanam popular among the audience.
Nagabhushanam also acted as a Hero in the film “Edi Nijam”. The film was appreciated for its depiction of rural problems in a convincing manner. He also acted as a hero in a movie which showcased his love of theater, “Natakalarayudu.” But the failure of the latter did not allow him to further experiment as a lead hero.
Though perennially busy in film schedules, Nagabhushanam never left his first love, “Theater.” Infact, for the first five days of a month, he used to dedicate his time for enacting his famous play, “Raktha Kanneeru.” He used to manage his dates in such a way that his schedules never affected any of his films.
Later on, Nagabhushanam turned a Producer and launched “Ravi Art Theatres”. By naming his banner on the name of stage theatre “Ravi Arts”, which produced and exhibited “Raktha Kanneeru” Nagabhushanam paid tributes to the Theatre group which laid a foundation for his career.
Then he produced the films “Bikari Ramudu, Natakala Rayudu, Oke Kutumbam, Praja Nayakudu and Prema Chesina Pelli” in his banners. His film “Praja Nayakudu” was made on the basis of the story of the novel “Samatha” which was written by Vasi Reddy Seetha Devi. This film achieved the Third Best Film Nandi Award from AP State Govt.
Raktha Kanneeru Naga Bhushanam who regaled the audience with his satirical dialogues and witty one-liners breathed his last on 05-05-1995. His absence in this mortal world cannot be replaced.