Born In: Vizianagaram, Madras Presidency, British India (now in Andhra Pradesh, India)
Born In: Vizianagaram, Madras Presidency, British India (now in Andhra Pradesh, India)
Gollapudi Maruti Rao was an Indian journalist, scriptwriter, author, playwright, actor, filmmaker, and film editor. He was born into a Telugu family in Andhra Pradesh. A physics major from Andhra University, Maruti Rao initially began his career as a journalist. He then joined the radio network AIR. He began writing scripts with the Telugu movie Doctor Chakravarthy. Over the years, he wrote many scripts (and plays) such as Kallu, Tharangini, Atma Gowravam, and Prema Pusthakam. He also acted in numerous movies, such as Intlo Ramayya Veedhilo Krishnayya, Abhilasha, Challenge, and Swathi Muthyam. Some of his popular books are Amma Kadupu Challaga, Sayankalamayindi, and Telugu Nataka Rangam. He won countless awards for his works. In 1997, he established the Gollapudi Srinivas Memorial Foundation, which launched the Gollapudi National Award, in memory of his youngest son, Srinivas, who had died young. He later moved to Chennai with his two sons. He died there in December 2019.
Also Known As: G. Maruti Rao
Died At Age: 80
Spouse/Ex-: Sivakama Sundari (m. 1961)
children: Gollapudi Srinivas
Born Country: India
Height: 1.75 m
place of death: Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Cause of Death: Cardiac Arrest
education: Andhra University College of Engineering, Osmania University
awards: Nandi Awards
Gollapudi Maruti Rao was born on April 14, 1939, into a Telugu family, in Nandabalaga, a village in the Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh, India. Back then, Vizianagaram was part of the Madras Presidency of British India.
In 1959, Maruti graduated with a degree in mathematical physics from Andhra University in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.
Following his college graduation, Gollapudi Maruti Rao joined a Telugu newspaper as an assistant editor.
Later, he took up a job with the All India Radio (AIR) in Vijayawada. His work took him to places such as Hyderabad, Chennai, Sambalpur, and Kadapa. He eventually retired from the radio station as an assistant station director.
He started writing dialogues for films with the 1964 Telugu movie Doctor Chakravarthy, which starred Akkineni Nageswara Rao and Savitri. Some of the other notable films for which he had written scripts were Samsaram Chadharangam and Tharangini.
Gollapudi Maruti Rao’s play Kallu (1975) was made into a Telugu film of the same name in 1988. The film earned four Nandi Awards, including the awards for the “Best Feature Film (bronze)” and “Best Story.” Kallu later became part of the MA (Telugu literature) curriculum of Osmania University. This play was later translated into every Indian language by the National Book Trust, as part of the Aadaan Pradaan program.
Another play written by him, Oka Chettu – Rende Puvvulu, was bought by the Song and Drama Division of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for popular exhibition.
Gollapudi Maruti Rao was part of the Script Scrutiny Committee of the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC). He was also a jury member for the “Indian Panorama” segment at the International Film Festival of India in 1996.
In 1982, he stepped into mainstream acting with the movie Intlo Ramayya Veedhilo Krishnayya, directed by legendary director Adurthi Subbarao. By then, however, he had already appeared on screen with the 1960 film Abdulla.
Some of his other noteworthy movies are Abhilasha, Challenge, Maro Charitra, Alaya Sikharam, and Swathi Muthyam.
In 1997, he formed the Gollapudi Srinivas Memorial Foundation, which established the Gollapudi National Award, in memory of his youngest son, Srinivas, who had died young. The award is given to the best debut film of a director across all Indian languages.
Throughout his career, apart from acting in over 250 movies, Gollapudi Maruti Rao had written nine plays, 18 playlets, 12 novels, four volumes of stories, two essays, and three children's stories.
Maruti Rao was acquainted with the Kaloji brothers, Narayana Rao and Rameshwar Rao. He would often travel to Warangal from Chennai, to be part of the literary events of the Mitra Mandali. In 2012, he attended the Shashtipurti ceremony of renowned poet Girija Manohar Babu.
For more than two decades, he wrote a weekly column named Jeevana Kaalam (The Living Times), which spoke about various socio-political issues, for the popular Telugu daily Andhra Jyothy. The column later also appeared in Vaartha. His columns were later published in the audio format in the internet magazine Koumudi, accompanied by his own voice reading them.
His autobiography, Amma Kadupu Challaga, detailed his experience with movies and literature. Apart from India, it was released in the U.S. and Australia, too.
One of the most popular novels written by him was Sayankalamayindi. He also wrote the 2008 travelogue Tanzania Teerthayatra, which was published by Koumudi in the U.S. It detailed his 15-day safari with his friend Ganti Prasada Rao in various national parks and other tourist spots of Tanzania.
On February 16, 2009, his novel Pidikedu Aakaasham was released as an audio book, while he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Vanguri Foundation in Hyderabad.
A collection of his essays on theater, Telugu Nataka Rangam, was taught as a textbook for the Department of Theatre Arts of Andhra University in Visakhapatnam (1967).
He also wrote and published two research articles in the 11th volume of the Andhra Vignana Sarvaswam (a Telugu encyclopedia). The articles were titled History of the Development in 'Thought' and 'Technique' of Telugu Play-writing and Amateur Theatre – Its Origin and Growth in Relation to the World Amateur Theatre Movement.
His play Vandemaataram was the first Telugu play that revolved around the Sino-Indian War of the 1950s. It was published by the Andhra Pradesh State Information & Public Relations Department in 1963.
Maruti Rao presented the play in Chittoor, Madanapalle, and Nagari and raised funds worth 50,000 rupees. The sum was donated to the PM’s Relief Fund. P.V. Narasimha Rao, who was the foreign minister back then, had written the foreword for the play.
In 1959, he wrote the play Ragaragini, which he presented in front of Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, who was the vice-president of India back then.
Some of his most noteworthy works were Papam Pasivaadu (1972), Chelleli Kapuram (1971), Mahanatudu, Kaalam Venakku Tirigindi, Rendu Rellu Aaru, Patita, Karuninchani Devatalu, and Aasayaalaku Sankellu.
He also served as the chairman of Srikalahasti Pipes.
In November 1961, Gollapudi Maruti Rao tied the knot with Sivakama Sundari of Warangal. Sivakama was the daughter of district education officer Sripada Ramkishan Rao. She had studied at the Arts & Science College.
Maruti Rao and Sivakama had three sons, Subba Rao, Rama Krishna, and Srinivas. His youngest son, Srinivas, died on August 12, 1992, while he was directing the film Prema Pusthakam.
Maruti lived in Visakhapatnam for a long time but had moved to Chennai a few years before his death. He stayed there with his two sons.
On December 12, 2019, Maruti Rao breathed his last in Chennai. His death was mourned by several noted writers and the entire Telugu film industry.
Following his death, his sons manage the international travel agency that he had established.
Maruti earned multiple Andhra Pradesh State Nandi Awards throughout his career, namely those for the “Best Story” for Atma Gowravam (1965), for the “Best Comedian” for Tarangini (1983), for the “Best Character Actor” for Ramayanamlo Bhagavatham (1985), for the “Best Story” for Kallu (1988), for the “Best Dialogue” for Mestri Kapuram (1991), for the “Best Screenplay” for Prema Pusthakam (1994), and for the “Best TV Actor” (1996).
In 1959, he received the Best Script award in the Inter-University Radio Play Contest organized by AIR, for his play Anantam. He won the Mahatma Gandhi Award for Creative Literature for Prasna.
Apart from this, he had received countless literary awards, such as the Sangam Academy Award for the “Best Play” for Kallu (1975) and the Sarvaraya Dharmanidhi Puraskaram for the “Best Humorous Writing” (1983).
In 1985, he was awarded the Gurazada Apparao Memorial Gold Medal by the Vamsee Art Theatre. He also won the Telugu Velugu Award (1987), the Madras Telugu Academy Award for the “Best All-rounder” (1996), the Paidi Lakshmayya Dharmanidhi Puraskaram (2002), the Pulikanti Krishna Reddy Puraskaram (2007), the Sarvaraya Memorial Puraskaram, and the Andhra Nataka Kala Parishad Award.
Maruti Rao also received the Sahrudaya Sahitya Puraskar for his novel Sayankalam Ayindi, in 2001. The award was given in memory of the Oddiraju brothers, Seeta Ramachandra Rao and Raghava Ranga Rao, who had established the first Telugu weekly magazine, Tenugu, in 1922. He was also the first recipient of the Narasaraopeta Rangasthali Pratibha Puraskaram in 2018.
Gollapudi Maruti Rao had introduced popular Tamil actor Ajith to the film industry, with the Telugu movie Prema Pusthakam, directed by his son, Srinivas. Maruti Rao later expressed his disappointment at the fact that Ajith had not been grateful for the debut and had not given Srinivas any credit for the movie.
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