Portrait of Jaggayya
Kongara Jaggayya

(1928-12-31)31 December 1928
Died5 March 2004(2004-03-05) (aged 75)
Other names
  • Kalavachaspati
  • Kanchu Kantam
Alma materAndhra Christian College
  • Actor
  • littérateur
  • journalist
  • lyricist
  • dubbing artist
  • politician
Years active1952-1994
Political partyIndian National Congress
AwardsPadma Bhushan 1992
Member of the Lok Sabha
In office

Kongara Jaggayya (31 December 1928 – 5 March 2004) was an Indian actor, littérateur, journalist, lyricist, dubbing artist and politician known for his works predominantly in Telugu cinema and Telugu theatre. He was known as Kanchu Kantam Jaggayya (Telugu) for his booming voice. In a film career spanning forty years as a matinee idol, he starred in eighty films, as a lead actor, and lead antagonist in a variety of genres.[1] In 1967, he was elected as a member of the fourth Lok Sabha, from the constituency of Ongole, becoming the first Indian film actor to be elected as a member of the Parliament.

During his early career he portrayed breakthrough characters in works such as Donga Ramudu (1955), which was archived by the Film and Television Institute of India, He starred in award-winning works such as Bangaru Papa (1954), Ardhangi (1955), Edi Nijam (1956), Todi Kodallu (1957), Dr. Chakravarti (1964), Antastulu (1965), the Cannes Film Festival featured Meghasandesam (1982), and Seethakoka Chiluka (1981); all of which won the National Film Award for Best Feature Films in Telugu. In 1962, he co-produced and starred in the political drama film Padandi Munduku based on Salt March, the film was screened at the International Film Festival of India, the Tashkent Film Festival, and got a special mention at the 5th Moscow International Film Festival.[2]

As a character actor he received critical appreciation for his performance in notable works such as Velugu Needalu (1961), Chitti Tammudu (1962), Aaradhana (1962), Aatma Balam (1964), Sumangali (1965), Gudi Gantalu (1965), Nava ratri (1966), Aame Evaru? (1966), Aastiparulu (1966), Jarigina Katha (1969), Bala Mitrula Katha (1972), Badi Pantulu (1972), Bharya Biddalu (1972), Devudu Chesina Manushulu (1973). He portrayed British official Rutherford in the biographical film Alluri Sita Rama Raju (1974), and essayed Pontius Pilate in the hagiographical film Karunamayudu (1978). He then appeared in works such as Veta (1986), Chantabbai (1986), Pasivadi Pranam (1987), Dharma Kshetram (1992) and Bobbili Simham (1994). He won the Andhra Pradesh state Nandi Award for Best Character Actor for his works in some of these films. A recipient of the Tamil Nadu state's Kalaimamani, the Government of India honored him with the Padma Bhushan in 1992 for his contributions towards Indian cinema.[3]

Early life

Jaggayya was born on 31 December 1928 to Seetaramaih and Rajya Lakshmamma in Morampudi village near Tenali in Guntur district.[1] He quoted on several occasions in his essays the influence his father had on his interest towards arts. He started acting at the age of 11, with the role of Lava in a Hindi play during his high school days in Duggirala. He was trained in painting under the guidance of Adivi Bapiraju, a noted painter, during his college days.[4]

As a student, he joined the Congress Socialist party in Tenali, which was involved in the Indian Independence Movement at that time.

He joined the Andhra-Christian College, in 1942, in Guntur for his higher studies. He used to be a member of Navya Sahitya Parishath in Guntur. Later he joined a periodical named Desabhimani (meaning "Patriot") as a journalist.[5] Later he worked as an editor for the weekly Andhra Republic. During his B.A. days in A-C College, he along with N. T. Rama Rao, acted in several plays. He also used to be a part of Navajyothi Artists, a cultural organisation run by Mukkamala. After working as a teacher in Duggirala for a brief while, he became a news announcer in Akashavani for three years.[6] Jaggayya won the best actor award in three successive years for Chesina Papam and Telangana.

Film career

He made his cinematic debut in 1952 drama film Priyuralu directed by Tripuraneni Gopichand.[7] This movie was produced by Donepudi Krishnamurthy, also known popularly as Gokul Krishnamurthy. He quit the job as news announcer as he signed three movies on a trot. His second movie, Adarsham, didn't do well at box office. His planned third movie Paleru did not even see light of the day.

Bangaru Papa, directed by B N Reddy, released in 1955, was the first breakthrough film for Jaggayya. He was distinguished for his booming voice and contributed as a voice artist for more than hundred feature films. He dubbed in Telugu language for veteran Sivaji Ganesan. He was the narrator, and dubbing artist for internationally recognized works such as Maa Bhoomi, and Richard Attenborough's character of John Hammond in the Telugu-dubbed version of the Hollywood film Jurassic Park. He acted in almost 100 films as a lead, 100 more as a co-lead and almost 200 films as a character artist. He was a part of almost every film of VB Rajendra Parasad's Jagapathi Pictures, K B Tilak's Anupama Pictures and Ramavijeta Films owned by brothers Prabhakar and Baburao. His last film as an actor was Kunthi Putrudu, which starred Mohan Babu as lead and was directed by Dasari Narayana Rao.

He turned into producer with a film Padandi Munduku, under the banner of Jagruthi Chitra. The film was released in January 1962 and was a regarded as first Telugu social film made on the basis of Indian Independence movement.

He was awarded the 'Kala Vachaspathi' for his sonorous voice.[8][unreliable source?]

Political career

Jaggayya was active in politics right from his student days and was allied with the socialist group within the Congress party. When the group was disbanded, he joined Jayaprakash Narayan's Praja Socialist Party, but returned to Congress in 1956, heeding the call of Jawaharlal Nehru. In 1967, he was elected as a member of the fourth Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Parliament of India from the constituency of Ongole on a Congress Party ticket.[9] He was the first Indian film actor to be elected as a member of parliament.[10][11]

Literary achievements

He translated Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore's Geetanjali and multiple poems into Telugu under the name Ravindra Geetha. He also translated Tagore's play "Sacrifice" into Telugu under the name Balidaanam. He also co-founded Manasvini Charitable Trust to honor the film literature of Acharya Aatreya. The lyrics of all the film songs written by Athreya was consolidated into seven volumes.


Due to complications after a hip replacement surgery, Jaggayya passed away on 5 March 2004 at Chennai, Tamilnadu.[1]


Civilian honours
Nandi Awards
State Awards
Other honours


This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (August 2021)
List of Jaggayya film credits
Year Film Role Notes
1952 Priyuralu[7]
1954 Bangaru Papa Manohar National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu
1955 Ardhangi Chinna Babu National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu
Donga Ramudu Dr. Mohan Archived at the Film and Television Institute of India
1956 Muddu Bidda
Edi Nijam National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu
1957 Veera Kankanam
Thodi Kodallu Vaikuntam National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu
MLA Dasu
1958 Anna Thammudu
Atha Okinti Kodale
1959 Appu Chesi Pappu Koodu Dr. Raghu
1960 Pelli Kanuka
1961 Velugu Needalu Dr. Raghu
1962 Chitti Tammudu Ramu
Aradhana Sarathi
Padandi Munduku Producer
1963 Constable Koothuru
Eedu Jodu
1964 Pooja Phalam
Manchi Manishi
Dr. Chakravarthi National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu
Aathma Balam
1965 Naadi Aada Janme
Preminchi Choodu Vasu
Manushulu Mamathalu
Gudi Gantalu
Antastulu National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu
1966 Navarathri
Manase Mandiram
Aame Evaru?
Aastiparulu Younger son of Zamindar
1967 Prana Mithrulu
1968 Bandipotu Dongalu Bandipotu Naganna
Veeranjaneya[12] Indrajit
1969 Adrushtavanthulu
Jarigina Katha[13] Prasad
Sipayi Chinnayya Kodandam
1971 Ramalayam Ramaiah
Chinnanati Snehitulu
Pattindalla Bangaram[14] Swamy/Inspector Prathap
1972 Badi Panthulu
Bharya Biddalu Doctor
1973 Devudu Chesina Manushulu
Nindu Kutumbam[15] Mohan Rao
Meena[16] Sarathi
1974 Bhoomi Kosam Rajasekharam
Alluri Sita Rama Raju Rutherford
Mangalya Bhagyam[17] Chandram
Manchi Manushulu Dr. Ramesh
1976 Raaja[18] Justice Raghupathi Rao
Shri Rajeshwari Vilas Coffee Club[19]
1977 Adavi Ramudu Forest Officer
Chanakya Chandragupta Voice double for Sivaji Ganesan
1978 Karunamayudu Pontius Pilate
KD No:1
1979 Vetagadu Boopathi
Maavari Manchitanam
1980 Ram Robert Rahim
1981 Nyayam Kavali Lawyer Dayanidhi
Seethakoka Chilaka National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu
Thiruguleni Manishi[21]
1982 Bobbili Puli Gopinath
Jagannatha Rathachakralu[22] Ranga Rao
Edi Dharmam Edi Nyayam?
Naa Desam
1983 Meghasandesam National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu
1984 Disco King
Jagan Dharmamurthy
Sahasame Jeevitham
Palnati Puli Lawyer Mukunda Rao
1985 Palnati Simham[23] Sadananda Swamy
Adavi Donga
Nyayam Meere Chepali
Agni Parvatam Jagannadha Rao
Pachani Kapuram Lakshmi Varaprasada Rao
1986 Brahmastram Parthasarathi
Ugra Narasimham Chakravarthy
1987 Ramu
President Gari Abbayi President Chandraiah
Thene Manasulu Rao Bahadur Ratnagiri Ranga Rao
Bhargava Ramudu
Pasivadi Pranam
Viswanatha Nayakudu Voice double for Sivaji Ganesan
Prema Samrat[24] Lawyer Raghava Rao
1988 Manchi Donga
Aswaddhama Public Prosecutor Shankaram
Aakhari Poratam
Jhansi Rani[25] Advocate Jagadish Chandra
Tiragabadda Telugubidda
Janaki Ramudu
Dharma Teja D.S.P. Chakrapani
1989 Ajatha Satruvu Raghavaiah Naidu
Bala Gopaludu
State Rowdy Vice-Chancellor Mukunda Rao
1990 Alludugaru Ramachandra Prasad
1991 Assembly Rowdy
1992 Dharma Kshetram
Rowdy Inspector
Detective Narada
1993 Repati Rowdy[26] Raghuramaiah
1994 Bobbili Simham


  1. ^ a b c "Jaggayya passes away". The Hindu. 6 March 2004. Archived from the original on 13 April 2004.
  2. ^ "Profile of Gummadi - Telugu film actor".
  3. ^ Correspondent, Our Special (3 May 2004). "Jaggayya passes away". The Hindu. p. 06. Archived from the original on 13 April 2004 – via The Hindu (old).
  4. ^ krshychait (12 December 2011). ""Kalaa Vachaspati", "Kanchu Kantham": Kongara Jaggayya".[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Movie Review". Archived from the original on 26 December 2005. Retrieved 23 April 2006.
  6. ^ telugucinema.com/c/stars/KJaggayya.shtml
  7. ^ a b Raja, Cheruku (29 August 2012). "Rutherford of Telugu cinema".
  8. ^ earlytollywood.blogspot.in/2008/02/kongara-jaggaiah.html
  9. ^ "ప్రచారం చేయకుండానే జగ్గయ్య గెలుపు". Sakshi (in Telugu). 21 March 2019. Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  10. ^ "Everything you wanted to know about filmstars in Lok Sabha, but didn't know whom to ask - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  11. ^ "Star power in south India: Reel life actors don't always make for real life statesmen". The News Minute. 1 April 2016. Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  12. ^ "Veeranjaneya (1968)". Indiancine.ma. Retrieved 25 January 2024.
  13. ^ "Jarigina Katha (1969)". Indiancine.ma. Retrieved 5 October 2023.
  14. ^ Pattindalla Bangaram (1971), retrieved 3 February 2024
  15. ^ "Nindu Kutumbam on Moviebuff.com". Moviebuff.com. Retrieved 5 October 2023.
  16. ^ "Meena (1973)". Indiancine.ma. Retrieved 30 January 2024.
  17. ^ "Mangalya Bhagyam (1974)". Indiancine.ma. Retrieved 13 June 2023.
  18. ^ "Raaja (1976)". Indiancine.ma. Retrieved 1 May 2023.
  19. ^ "Shri Rajeshwari Vilas Coffee Club | Rotten Tomatoes". www.rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved 21 January 2024.
  20. ^ "Yugandhar (1979)". Indiancine.ma. Retrieved 21 January 2024.
  21. ^ "Thiruguleni Manishi (1981)". Indiancine.ma. Retrieved 21 January 2024.
  22. ^ "Jagannatha Radhachakralu 1982 Telugu Movie Cast Crew,Actors,Director, Jagannatha Radhachakralu Producer,Banner,Music Director,Singers & Lyricists". MovieGQ. Retrieved 12 January 2024.
  23. ^ "Palnati Simham (1985)". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 22 April 2023.
  24. ^ PREMA SAMRAT Telugu Movie SUMAN,BHANU PRIYA, TIGER PRABHAKAR, retrieved 16 April 2023
  25. ^ "Jhansi Rani (1988)". Indiancine.ma. Retrieved 21 January 2024.
  26. ^ "Repati Rowdy (1993)". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 21 April 2023.