Superstar Krishna might be a name to describe Ghattamaneni Siva Rama Krishna Murthy, on screens of Telugu and Indian Cinema. But he grew from being a polite, raw, handsome, shy hero to the most dynamic, hard-hitting, sensational, playing fire with fire, fearless, innovative and considerate actor of Telugu Cinema, ever. Superstar Krishna ventured into Hindi Cinema as producer and even directed films, on his Padmalaya Studios production house. No one, not even Akkineni Nageswara Rao, Mullapudi Venkata Ramana, Kasinathuni Viswanath, Adurthi Subba Rao who selected Superstar Krishna for his first film, Thene Manasulu in 1962, would have anticipated for him to grow so much and have such a long life.
In Indian Cinema, every language had stars growing in their respective Film Industries for each decade. Tamil Cinema had P. U. Chinnappa, M. K. Thyagaraja Bhagavatha in 1940’s ruling the roost as stars. Later, MG Ramachandran, Sivaji Ganesan, Gemini Ganesan became undisputed stars in 50’s and ruled all 60’s. By the end of 70’s Superstar Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan rose through the ranks to become biggest stars. Now, Vijay and Ajith Kumar are biggest stars.
Similarly, Prem Nazir, Thilakan, Mammootty, Mohan Lal, Dulquer Salmaan, Nivin Pauly, Faahad Faasil, Prithviraj Sukumaran have become stars in Malayalam Cinema. Hindi Cinema saw Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Rajesh Khanna, Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan, Mithun Chakraborthy, Rushi Kapoor, Anil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Sanjay Dutt, Sunny Deol, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn, Ranbir Kapoor, Ranveer Singh over the years.
When it comes to Telugu Cinema, Chittoor Nagaiah, Akkineni Nageswara Rao, Nandamuri Taraka Ramarao became huge stars but Jaggayya, Kanta Rao, M.Balayya couldn’t really grow to ANR, NTR level. Harnath, Ramakrishna, Sobhan Babu have been introduced as new and young lead actors but when they found it difficult to crave a niche for them, Superstar Krishna got introduced by Adurthi Subba Rao with Thene Manasulu back in 1963. He found mass image immediately with Goodachari 116, as Telugu James Bond among young Telugu audiences. Ave Kallu became his biggest hit after Goodachari 116. Superstar Krishna seemed very raw, shy but highly potent actor as he has been untrained all his life till his entry into films.
Krishna started to grow in stature but as second lead to NTR, ANR. He accepted all offers that came his way to even be lead in lady oriented subjects. This made him grow in confidence. But when he found his image being stale with repetitive films and flops, he took a huge risk with Mosagallaku Mosagadu. The movie brought western genre to Indian, mainly Telugu screens. The movie found popularity even in some International shores. He again took such a risk for his 100th film by going against the wishes of NTR and made Alluri Seetharama Raju. Movie established his image in youth and masses, so much that no other actor dared to touch the character until Ram Charan in RRR. Krishna became Superstar Krishna and Natasekhara with youth and mass selecting that title for him.
Superstar Krishna became the most daring and dashing hero for Telugu Cinema on-screen and off-screen too. He brought innovation with technology and script selection as well. Superstar Krishna is the lead in first Cinemascope Telugu Film, First 70 MM Telugu Film, First Streoscopic Telugu Film, First James Bond Film, First Cowboy Film and after playing second leads to NTR, ANR played equal lead to them in Devudu Chesina Manushulu and Guru Shishyulu. Megastar Chiranjeevi has been a registered fan of Superstar Krishna, before entering into films.
Superstar Krishna developed a considerate approach towards producers and been fearless in his own productions. He turned into Studio owner with Padmalaya Studios, ventured into politics with the encouragement of Rajiv Gandhi and made films criticizing Government openly. He even directed, produced and edited films. Superstar Krishna majorly produced Telugu to Hindi remakes with Jeetendra as lead. He directed Simhasanam in Telugu, Hindi while acting in Telugu version. He established his son Mahesh Babu as a Superstar too. But his elder son Ramesh Babu couldn’t become a star.
Superstar Krishna always remained humble and never went for awards. Padma Bhushan has been awarded to him for his contribution in Indian Cinema and not Padma Shri. He married Indira Devi and actress-turned-director Vijaya Nirmala. But never his personal life became a gossip or tabloid spectacle. Superstar Krishna directed Mahesh Babu as a child actor and at that age, made Mahesh a box office star. Superstar Krishna has been the only mass hero to act in a cameo in a lady oriented activist film, Osey Ramulamma. He never backed out from sharing screen with younger or elder or contemporary star heroes. Hence, he became the only Telugu star to be a part of more multi-starrers and make a comeback as lead actor even after playing supporting lead in Varasudu film.
From his first film, Krishna always defined his career by revolutionising Cinema to find new audiences for himself. Even his commercial formula movies have been different from other stars when all films followed similar screenplay formats. Hence, we can say that Superstar Krishna is name that is synonymous with “A valiant and strong Revolution of Telugu Cinema”! We wish his career will continue to inspire many actors to come in future generations too.
Superstar Krishna has passed away on 15th November. Read here.