In first person: D. Ramanaidu

‘Telugu industry a force to reckon with’

Print edition : October 18, 2013

D. Ramanaidu. Photo: P.V. SIVAKUMAR

From "Ramudu Bheemudu".

100 years of Indian Cinema

I WANTED to be a farmer, and for a while I did just that, apart from running a rice mill and even operating a few buses. Not content with the work back at home in Karamchedu, I moved to Chennai, then Madras, and set up a brick factory, with the intent of dabbling in real estate too. Around that time, while I was living in Aminjikarai, Madras, the floods of 1962 put paid to these plans.

That was when I got an offer to join as a partner in a film production. In 1963, I started Suresh Productions with Anuragam, directed by G. Ramineedu, starring Bhanumathi and Jaggaiah, followed by Ramudu Bheemudu, which had Jamuna and NTR and was directed by Tapichanakya in 1964. There was no looking back and life has never been the same. Fifty years down the line, I have the record of producing films in 13 languages (the largest number by any producer): Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Hindi, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Marathi, Oriya, Gujarati, Assamese, English and Punjabi. One son [Daggubati Venkatesh] is a movie star while the other [Daggubati Suresh Babu] is a successful producer who has taken over the reigns of Suresh Productions.

I have done my best for the people in Bapatla parliamentary constituency, which I represented in 1999, and even won the Best Parliamentarian award in 2003. I am very happy at 100 years of Indian cinema, not just as a Telugu producer and not even because I have made films in 13 languages. I feel great when I recall how most stars who made it big in the Hindi industry were actually from south India, that too when cinema was just evolving, around the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and even the 1970s.

And how can anyone forget L.V. Prasad, who introduced top actors and directors, and set up state-of-the-art laboratories for film processing, apart from distribution and exhibition channels? His was a name that made even the Hindi industry sit up and take notice. There are other reasons for the Telugu film industry to be proud.

We started the industry in 1986 following a call given by former Chief Ministers M. Channa Reddy and, of course, the legendary NTR. But in a short span of just about two decades or so, the Telugu film industry became second only to Bollywood in the number of films produced every year. Even technologically, Telugu directors have left no stone unturned in their endeavour to constantly improve viewing pleasure, and proactive producers with foresight have encouraged them too.

The film industry in Hyderabad and, of late, Visakhapatnam too has developed by leaps and bounds and today the unique selling proposition of our production facilities is “Walk in with your script, walk out with the first copy”. Instances of film-makers in other languages using our facilities are also on the rise, a healthy sign for sure.

As told to Suresh Krishnamoorthy

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