Bapu Personal Profile:
Born: Sattiraju Lakshminarayana
15 December 1933
Narasapuram, Madras Presidency, British India
in Andhra Pradesh, India)
Died: 31 August 2014 (aged 80)
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Alma mater: University of Madras
Bapu (born Sattiraju LakshmiNarayana on December 15, 1933) is an Indian film director, known for his works in Telugu cinema and Hindi Cinema. He is a music artist, painter, illustrator, cartoonist, and designer.
Bapu's directorial venture saakshi was showcased at 'Tashkent film festival' in 1968. Seeta Kalyanam was screened at the BFI London Film Festival and Chicago International Film Festival in 1978. Tyagayya (1981 film) was showcased at the Indian Panorama of International Film Festival of India in 1982 Bapu's 2011 film Sri Rama Rajyam had a special screening at International Film Festival of India on November 28, 2011. He won 3 Filmfare Best Director Award (Telugu).
He has also directed Bollywood films like Hum Paanch, Seeta Swayamvar, Anokha Bhakt, Bezubaan, Woh Saat Din, Pyari Behna, Mohobbat, Mera Dharam, Diljala and Prem Pratigya. He has also directed a Tamil film Neeti Devan Mayagugiran.
Early life and background
Bapu was born in Narsapur, West Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh, India in a Niyogi family. He graduated with a degree in Law from the University of Madras in 1955. He worked as a political cartoonist for the newspaper Andhra Patrika in 1945.
Bapu introduced a painting style of simple bright colors. His unique style consisted of economy of strokes, freehand drawing and a lack of background clutter.
His 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. All his female characters have doe eyes, a waist-hip ratio of 0.7, voluptuous breasts, long hair and a sharp nose. The phrase Bapu Bomma ("Bapu's painting") has become synonymous with a beautiful Telugu girl. Another character called Rendu Jadala Seeta ("Seeta with two plaits") became a synonym for any girl wearing her hair in two plaits.
Bapu has also introduced a new style of cursive writing in Telugu. The font is his own handwriting and reflects the same simplicity as his art.
Bapu paintings also 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.
The most notable achievement in Bapu's movie making is his success in capturing the nativity of the Telugu people and translating it into visuals. His movies center on realistic family issues and relationships, however his recurring theme is magic realism, with vignettes of mythological characters aiding in the narration.
Most of his movies have a female protagonist; a breakaway style from the formulaic movies that relegate female lead characters to song and dance numbers. His penchant for preserving the Telugu nativity in his movies can be seen in the choice of artists, especially the dusky female leads and weak villains.
Association with Ramana
Bapu met Mullapudi Venkataramana in 1942 in P.S. High School, Madras. They studied there in standards V and VI and then continued schooling at Kesari High School.Ramana’s first short story 'Amma Maata Vinakapothe' 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. When ever the renowned duo of Bapu and Ramana come together for a project, viewers expect a spectacular visual of nativity with an equally enthralling storyline.
Their mythological ventures like 'Sampoorna Ramayanam', 'Ramanjaneya Yuddham', 'Seeta Kalyanam' have been the milestones of Telugu cinema, while historical films like 'Thyagayya', 'Bhakta Kannappa', 'Sree natha 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', 'Bharyabharthalu','Bhogimanta', 'Mutyala muggu', 'Sakshi', 'Mr. Pellam', 'Pelli pustakam', 'Manavoori Pandavulu' which gave stardom to many budding actors of those days, most prominent being Krishna, Krishnam Raju, Chiranjeevi and Ravu Gopalarao.
The duo worked together for almost 50 films, most of them being very popular with the Telugu cine goers.
Collaborations with other artists
He worked with Satyam Sankaramanchi and drew 101 pictures for each of the stories in Amaravati Kathalu. Bapu is one-half of the Bapu-Ramana (Mullapudi Venkata Ramana) pair that made movies in Telugu cinema. Ramana provided an able foil, providing script and dialogue to suit Bapu's visuals.
Bapu collaborated with Ramana to give life to Ramana's child prodigy character Budugu in the form of appealing caricatures.
Awards and Honours
National Film Award
National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu - Mutyala Muggu
National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu - Toorpu Velle Railu
National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu - Mister Pellam
Raghupathi Venkaiah Award - Life Time Achievement in Telugu cinema - 1986
Nandi Award for Best Feature Film
1968: Balaraju Katha
1973: Andala Ramudu
1975: Mutyala Muggu
1991: Pelli Pustakam
2011: Sri Rama Rajyam
Filmfare Awards South
Filmfare Best Director Award (Telugu) - Seeta Kalyanam (1976)
Filmfare Best Director Award (Telugu) - Vamsa Vruksham (1980)
Filmfare Best Director Award (Telugu) - Mister Pellam (1993)
President of India Rashtrapati Award from the Academy of Fine Arts, Tirupati
Visishta Puraskaramu from Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University - 2002
Life Time Achievement Award from Indian Institute of Cartoonists - 2001
Life Time Achievement Award from Telugu Association of North America
"Siromani" award from American Telugu Association - 1992
Honorary Doctorate "Kala Prapoorna" from Andhra University - 1991
Raja-Lakshmi Award in 1982 from Sri Raja-Lakshmi Foundation, Chennai - 1982
2011 Sri Rama Rajyam
2005 Radha Gopalam
2000 Aakhir Kaun Thi Woh? (as Bapuji)
1994 Pelli Koduku
1993 Mr. Pellam
1993 Shrinatha Kavi Sarvabhowma
1991 Pelli Pustakam
1989 Prem Pratigyaa
1986 Kalyana Thamboolam
1986 Mera Dharam
1986 Pyaar Ka Sindoor
1985 Pyari Behna
1984 Seethamma Pelli
1983 Manthrigari Viyyankudu
1983 Woh 7 Din
1982 Edi Dharmam Edi Nyayam
1982 Neethi Devan Mayagugiran
1982 Pelleedu Pillalu
1981 Radha Kalyanam
1981 Thyagayya (Documentary)
1980 Kaliyuga Ravana Surudu
1980 Pandanti Jeevitham
1980 Rajadhi Raju
1980 Hum Paanch
1980 Vamsa Vriksham
1979 Thoorpu Velle Railu
1978 Anokha Shivbhakt
1978 Gorantha Deepam
1978 Manavoori Pandavulu
1976 Bhakta Kannappa
1976 Shri Rajeshwari Vilas Coffee Club
1976 Sita Swayamvar
1976 Seeta Kalyanam
1975 Muthyala Muggu
1975 Shri Ram Hanuman Yudha
1974 Sree Rama Anjaneya Yuddham
1973 Andala Ramudu
1973 Sampoorna Ramayan
1971 Sampoorna Ramayanam
1970 Balaraju Katha
1970 Inti Gowravam
1968 Bangaru Pichika