Akkineni Nageswara Rao, the recipient of the 1990 Dada Saheb Phalke Award, India`s highest honor in cinema, also won Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri awards.
Hailing from the Krishna district and born in 1924, ANR`s education was limited to class 5. Non-affordability was the reason for dropping out of school. Way back then his interest in theatre and singing forced his mother to make him a part of a local theatre group. ANR said once that he is ever grateful to his mother for helping him choose this field. With that lover boy look all his initial roles were limited to female roles.
ANR`s tryst with cinema started when Ghantasala Balaramayya asked him to work in films. This happened at a railway station. There was no looking back. Not only did he become a star, but also went on to become the most sought after romantic heroes of all time in Telugu cinema. The cinematic journey began with the film Dharmapatni at the young age of 17; from there he acted in films like Balaraju, Laila Majnu and Keelu Gurram.
The most challenging role that ANR did during those times was in Devadasu. When he was cast for this film, there were people wondering if he could pull off such a role. He did and with impeccable finesse. Thespian Dilip Kumar once famously remarked, “There is only one Devadas (1953), and that is Akkineni Nageswara Rao.” Known as one of the best films Tollywood ever made, this film gave birth to the hit pair of ANR-Savithri.