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Bapu (film director)
Born Name: Sattiraju Lakshminarayana
Date of Birth: 15 December 1933
Place of Birth: Narasapuram, Madras Presidency, British India
(now in Andhra Pradesh, India)
Died: 31 August 2014 (aged 80), Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Alma mater: University of Madras
Awards: Padma Shri 2013
Sattiraju Lakshmi Narayana (15 December 1933 – 31 August 2014), known professionally as Bapu, was an Indian film director, painter, illustrator, cartoonist, screenwriter, music artist, and designer known for his works in Telugu cinema, and bollywood. In 2013, he was awarded the Padma Shri, for his contribution to Indian art and cinema.
Bapu's directorial venture Saakshi was showcased at Tashkent International film festival in 1968. Seeta Kalyanam was screened at the BFI London Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival, San Reno and Denver International Film Festivals in 1978, and is part of the course at the British Film Institute.
Tyagayya (1981) and Pelli Pustakam (1991) were premiered at the Indian Panorama of the International Film Festival of India. Bapu's 2011 film, Sri Rama Rajyam, had a special screening at International Film Festival of India on 28 November 2011.
He has garnered two National Honors, two National Film Awards, seven state Nandi Awards, two Filmfare Awards South best Telugu director, and a Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award – South for the year 2012. In 1996, he appeared in the Doordarshan Documentary Eminent Cartoonists of India, and was awarded Life Time Achievement from Indian Institute of Cartoonists in 2001. He gained international recognition through his art works viz., Bapu Bomma, The Navarasas, and the Indian Dances etc., which were held at the National Film Theatre, London, in 1978 and at the innumerable Telugu Conferences in the United States. He has worked as a graphic artist for J Walter Thomson, Efficient Publicities and F. D. Stewarts, Chennai.
In 1964, he was a delegate at the UNESCO sponsored seminar in Bangalore on Children's Books. The same year, he gave demonstrations for the training course programme on book illustrations and cover designs sponsored by UNESCO in Chennai. In the 1960s he has served as art Consultant for Ford Foundation sponsored The Southern Language Book Trust. He has designed and illustrated several books for leading publishers in South India out of which, five received Government Awards. He has also done the same for innumerable works drawn from the puranas and folklore.
Early life and background
Bapu was born on 15 December 1933, in Narsapur, in present-day West Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh, India to Sattiraju Venugopala Rao and Suryakantam. He has worked as a political cartoonist for the newspaper Andhra Patrika in 1945. He holds B.Com (1953) and BL (1955) from University of Madras.
Bapu's paintings focus on Hindu mythological characters, and he has painted the Hindu epic Ramayana as a pictorial story. His character portrayals, such as Shiva, Bhima, Duryodhana, look distinctly male with wide chests, large jaws and large biceps; while Krishna and Rama are more feminine in build.
His paintings have decorated the cover pages of many magazines in India and Abroad. Telugu Naadi Magazine published from USA for Telugu audience have published Bapu's great paintings. Bapu also later served on their advisory board to guide and have an outstanding content for the magazine that catered to Telugu people.
Association with Ramana
Bapu's family was staying in Madras and in 1942, when the Japanese bombed Madras, there was a panic exodus and Bapu's family moved to Narasapuram and stayed there till 1945, when the Second World War ended. Bapu studied in Taylor High School, Narasapuram during these years.
Mullapudi Venkataramana's father, who was working as a Sub-Registrar was posted at Narasapuram during the years 1942-45 and so, Venkataramana also studied in Taylor high School, Narasapram, during those years. They were classmates during those three years and that is how their association started. They continued schooling at Kesari High School, Madras. Ramana's first short story 'Amma Maata Vinakapote' was published in 1945 in 'Bala', a children's magazine published by Radio Annayya (Nyayapathi Raghava Rao), he was 14 then. Bapu illustrated the story. That was the beginning of their career as a writer-producer -illustrator- filmmaker duo".
Started as an illustrator-story writer team and then turning into a film-director-writer duo, they have contributed immensely to the enrichment of Telugu cultural ethos through literature and cinema. When one mentions Bapu, then one is bound to mention Ramana's name too and vice versa. The most notable achievement in his movie making is his success in capturing the nativity of Telugu people and translating it great on-screen visuals.
Ventures like Sampoorna Ramayanam, Ramanjaneya Yuddham and Seeta Kalyanam have been the milestones of Telugu cinema, while historical films like Thyagayya, Bhakta Kannappa and Shreenatha kavisarvabhouma have been hugely successful. Bapu-Ramana combination has created movie magic on the large screen with some of the path breaking films in Telugu cinema and are ever remembered for films like Radha kalyanam, Velugu needalu, Bharyabhartalu, Bhogimanta, Mutyala Muggu, 'Sakshi, Mr. Pellam', Pelli Pustakam. The duo directed Mana Voori Pandavulu (1978) which won the Filmfare Award for Best Film - Telugu.
Known for introducing Anil Kapoor to Indian cinema, Bapu has directed Hindi films such as Hum Paanch, Prem Pratigyaa,Seeta Swayamvar, Anokhi Bhakt, Bezubaan, Woh Saat Din, Pyari Behna, Mohobbat, Mera Dharam, and Diljala. He has also directed a Tamil film Neeti Devan Mayagugiran.
Bapu had suffered heart attacks many times throughout his career. He was admitted into a hospital at Chennai in mid August 2014. He suffered from a cardiac arrest on 31 August 2014, and died later on the same day.
He was given a state funeral by the Government of Tamil Nadu.
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