Ghattamaneni Siva Rama Krishna Murthy
31 May 1943
|Died||15 November 2022 (aged 79)|
Hyderabad, Telangana, India
|Other names||Nata Sekharudu, Superstar Krishna|
|Children||5, including Ramesh Babu, Mahesh Babu, Manjula|
Galla Jayadev (son-in-law)
Ghattamaneni Siva Rama Krishna Murthy (31 May 1943 – 15 November 2022), known mononymously as Krishna, was an Indian actor, director and producer known for his works predominantly in Telugu cinema. In a film career spanning five decades, he starred in more than 350 films in a variety of roles. He is referred to as "Superstar" in the Telugu media. In 2009, the government of India honoured him with the Padma Bhushan for his contributions to Indian cinema. He was elected as a Member of Parliament for the Congress party in 1989. In 1997, he received the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award – South in addition to Honorary doctorate from Andhra University in 2008. He died on 15 November 2022 due to cardiac arrest.
Krishna began his film career with minor roles in films such as Kula Gothralu (1961), Padandi Mundhuku (1962), and Paruvu Prathishta (1963). He debuted as a lead actor with the 1965 film Thene Manasulu and went on to star in films such as Sakshi (1967), which won critical acclaim at the Tashkent film festival in 1968. In 1972, he starred in Pandanti Kapuram, which garnered the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu for that year. He has essayed roles across different genres including mythological, drama, western, fantasy, action, spy and historical films.
Krishna was credited with producing many technological firsts in the Telugu film industry such as the first Cinemascope film – Alluri Seetarama Raju (1974), the first Eastmancolor film – Eenadu (1982), the first 70mm film – Simhasanam (1986), the first DTS film – Telugu Veera Levara (1995) and introducing cowboy genre to the Telugu screen. He starred in the spy films Gudachari 116 (1966), James Bond 777 (1971), Agent Gopi (1978), Rahasya Gudachari (1981) and Gudachari 117 (1989). Krishna directed Sankharavam (1987), Mugguru Kodukulu (1988), Koduku Diddina Kapuram (1989), Bala Chandrudu (1990) and Anna Thammudu (1990), casting his son Mahesh Babu in pivotal roles. Krishna directed 17 feature films and produced many films under his Padmalaya Studios production company along with his brothers Adiseshagiri Rao and Hanumantha Rao. Krishna was one of the highest-paid Telugu actors during his time.
Krishna collaborated with several notable directors of the time such as Adurthi Subba Rao, V. Madhusudhana Rao, K. Viswanath, Bapu, Dasari Narayana Rao and K. Raghavendra Rao. He also has the record of pairing up with the same actress for more than 48 films with Vijaya Nirmala and 47 films with Jaya Prada. In December 2012, at the age of 69, Krishna announced his retirement from politics.
Krishna was born on 31 May 1943 in Burripalem, Guntur district of present-day Andhra Pradesh. His parents are Ghattamaneni Veera Raghavayya Chowdary and Nagaratnamma.
Krishna was married twice—to Indira Devi (1952–2022) and Vijaya Nirmala (1969–2019). He had five children with Indira Devi, two sons—Ramesh Babu and Mahesh Babu, and three daughters—Padmavathi, Manjula and Priyadarshini. Krishna met Vijaya Nirmala on the sets of Sakshi (1967). The pair worked together in over 40 films and had no children together.
Ramesh Babu was a film producer while Mahesh Babu is one of the highest-paid actors in Telugu cinema. Padmavathi is married to Galla Jayadev, Manjula is married to producer and actor Sanjay Swaroop, and Priyadarshini is married to actor-producer Sudheer Babu.
Krishna died from a cardiac arrest on 15 November 2022, at the age of 79. 
His career began with minor roles in films such as Kula Gothralu (1961), Padandi Mundhuku (1962), and Paruvu Prathishta (1963). He was then cast in Thene Manasulu (1965) as one of the male leads. Despite commercial pressure being placed on Adurthi Subba Rao, the film director, to drop Krishna, the film was released as originally planned. It was a success and Adurthi repeated the cast for his next film Kanne Manasulu (1966).
Krishna was also selected to play the lead role in Doondi and Sunderlal Nehta's hit movie Gudachaari 116 (1966), which brought the spy genre of films to the forefront in Telugu cinema. Though action films were his standard, Krishna also acted in films such as Marapurani Katha (1967), Atthagaaru Kotthakodalu (1968), and Undamma Bottu Pedatha (1968). He also worked with more established actors, such as N. T. Rama Rao and Akkineni Nageswara Rao, in films such as Stree Janma (1967), Niluvu Dopidi (1968), Manchi Kutumbam (1968), Vichithra Kutumbam (1969), Akka Chellellu (1970) during this period.
At this time, Krishna established his own production house, Padmalaya Films and produced several big-budget films such as Agni Pariksha (1970), Mosagallaku Mosagadu (1971), Pandanti Kapuram (1972), Devudu Chesina Manushulu (1973), Alluri Seetharama Raju (1974). With his second wife Vijaya Nirmala, Krishna also set up another production house called Vijaya Krishna movies, and produced some critically acclaimed films, including Meena and Devadasu (1974). Mosagallaki Mosagadu, which brought the Cowboy genre of films in 1971 and Alluri Seetharamaraju, which released in 1974 were sensational in many ways. In 1975, except for Cheekati Velugulu, none of his films of this time made any impact at the box office as people were reluctant to watch him in softer roles after his portrayal of Alluri Seetharama Raju in the eponymous film. He suffered 14 consecutive flops (Devadasu also one of them) after the release of Alluri Seetarama Raju.
Krishna bounced back with his lavishly made home production Paadi Pantalu in 1976.It was again the same hit combination of Maharadhi Tripuraneni and Superstar Krishna. The film, which dealt with several contemporary agrarian issues, was a runaway hit at the box office. His performance in Raja Rajeswari Vilas Coffee Club - his second film under the Vijaya banner - was also successful. A third film produced by Krishna in that year was the moderately successful Rama Rajyamloo Raktha Paasam.
Aside from his production work and his acting in those self-produced films, he also acted in Kolleti Kapuram, Bhalee Dongalu and Devudee Gelichaadu during 1976.
It was in 1976 that Krishna also announced that he was to produce Kurukshethram. This surprised N. T. Rama Rao, who also wanted to make a movie called Daana Veera Soora Karna, based on the epic. The relationship between the two legendary actors was strained further when Krishna expressed his inability to drop his project and both started producing their films at a frenetic pace. Both the films were successful. DVSK and Kurukshetram were considered as a contest between NTR's charishma and Maharadhi Tripuraneni's pen power. Krishna's good run at the box office continued with Saavaasagallu and the actor further penetrated into the urban mass segment with the super-hit film Dongalaku Donga. Between the years 1978 and 1986, Krishna acted in several hit films such as Anna Dammula Sawaal, Kumara Raja, Agent Gopi and other commercially successful films such as Indradanassu and Allari Bulloodu. Six of his films fared very well in 1979, while Viyyalavaari Kayyaalu, Mandeegundelu, Hema-Heemeelu, Kottha Alludu and Burripalem Bulloodu were other commercially successful films in Krishna's repertoire.
Krishna also scored big against all his competitors when his Ooriki Monagaadu became the biggest hit among all films released during Sankranthi in 1981. 1982 was another eventful year in his life and he started it with the super-hit film Bangaaru Bhoomi, which was an improvisation of his Paadipantaluwritten by maharadhi. Towards the end of the year, Krishna became the fastest to complete 200 films in a lead role. He also became a studio owner and produced Eeenaadu as its maiden venture. A string of successful films such as Mundhadugu, Kiraayi Kotigaadu, Adavi Simhaalu, Sakthi and Prajaarajyam catapulted him to the top position in 1983. Krishna's reign at the box office continued in 1984 with films such as Iddharu Dongalu, Bangaaru Kaapuram, Mukyamanthri and the lavishly made Kanchukaagadaby Maharadhi. Krishna's career was at its pinnacle in 1985. He acted in swashbuckling hits such as Agni Parvatam, Palnati Simham and Vajrayudham in that year. Krishna's fantastic portrayal of the larger than life characters helped these films have spectacular runs at the box office. He also acted in other hit films such as Suryachandra, Pacchani Kapuram and Mahasangramam, with his peer Sobhan Babu. Krishna started 1986 on a low key as audiences turned down both his early releases Krishnagaaradi and Brahmasthram. He then produced his debut directorial ventures Simhaasanam and Shankharavam.
Khaidhi Rudrayya was another smash-hit musical in his career and the film created several records at the box office. The Superstar continued his slugfest according to his political beliefs by satirising some of the policies of the Telugu Desam Party in his home production Naa Pilupee Prabhanjanam. Disgruntled supporters and leaders of this regional Party protested against the screening of this film in several places. But their ruckuses generated more publicity for it and helped the film succeed. Though Krishna starred in the record-breaking Muddayi, and in other hits such as Dongodocchaadu and Thandri Kodukula Challenge. His elder son Ramesh Babu debuted as a full-fledged actor with Samraat. 1988 was another mediocre year in his professional life because only four (Kaliyuga Karnudu, Aswaddhama, Rowdy No 1 and Mugguru Kodukulu) of his ten releases had average runs. The next year, however, he has acted in successful films such as Koduku Diddina Kapuram, Saahasamee Naa Oopiri, Gudachari 117 and Goondaarajyam.
1990 started with average fares; Nagaasthram and Anna Thammudu. Krishna took his longest break from work after Raktha Tharpanam, his last directorial venture in Telugu, tanked at the marquee. Ramesh's failure to capitalize on his blockbuster Bazaar Rowdy would have presumably upset him further during those unsettling times. In 1993, he came back strongly with the unexpected super-success of Pacchani Samsaaram. But it was Varasudu, his second release in the year, which made him the cynosure of the film fraternity again. With the films Number 1 (1994) and Amma Donga (1995) he had other thumping successes. Krishna also directed the Hindi film Ishq Hai Tumse (2004) produced by Padmalaya Tele films, starring Dino Morea and Bipasa Basu, which is the remake of the Telugu film Sampangi in the year 2004.
Andhra University felicitated Mr. Krishna with an honorary doctorate in 2008. For the recognition of his contribution to Telugu film industry as an actor, director, producer, writer government of India gave him Padma Bhushan in 2009.
Krishna joined the congress under Rajiv Gandhi's leadership, ran in the 1989 elections from the Eluru Parliament Constituency, and won the seat. NTR was leading the National Front at the time Krishna joined, when NTR was at the pinnacle of his political career. By a margin of 71,000 votes, he defeated Bolla Bulliramaiah, the TDP's incumbent MP. However, Krishna was defeated by Bulliramaiah in the ensuing 1991 election by a margin of 47,000 votes.
On 14 November 2022, Krishna suffered from a heart attack and was rushed to a hospital in Hyderabad. His health started deteriorating and was on a ventilator. He died during the early hours on 15 November at the age of 79. On 16 November 2022, Krishna was cremated with full state honours.
Main article: Krishna filmography