Adurthi Subba Rao

Adurthi Subba Rao

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Category: Cinema

Adurthi Subba Rao Profile

  • Name:
  • Adurthi Subba Rao
  • Born:
  • December 16, 1912
  • Died:
  • October 1, 1975

Adurthi Subba Rao Biography

Adurthi Subba Rao was a legendary filmmaker associated with Telugu film industry who has received 10 national awards. Known to be one of the prominent directors of Indian drama films, he has directed a few Kannada, Hindi and Tamil movies too. He was an eminent producer, director, editor and cinematographer who was active in the 1960s and 1970s. One of the highly acclaimed directors of south Indian cinema in the 1960s, he won National award for best feature film in Telugu 7 times for the movies , apart from one award for second best film in Telugu. He also won two National awards – one in Tamil and one in Kannada language each. He won most of his National awards in the 1960s, apart from three Nandi awards for best film and one Filmfare award throughout his career.


Adurthi Subba Rao was born on 16 December 1912 in Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh. His father was a Tahasildar. After school and pre-degree education from his hometown, he joined a three-year photography course at St. Xavier's College, Mumbai. But he completed his course in two years. He started his career in Bombay Film Lab, and later worked as an assistant to film editor Dina Narvekar. Thus he started his career as an editor, later became a cinematographer and screenwriter before moving to film direction. He worked as an assistant director and editor under Uday Shankar for his Hindi film Kalpana.


He earned his first National award in the year 1957. It was only a beginning to a glorious era of filmmaking in Telugu cinema. He received Certificate of Merit for Second Best Feature Film in Telugu for the movie - Thodi Kodallu in 1957. The following year he bagged National award for best regional film in Telugu for the movie - Mangalya Balam. Since then he won the same category award for the movies - Nammina Bantu (1959), Mooga Manasulu (1963), Doctor Chakravarthy (1964), Manushulu Mamathalu (1965), Sudigundalu (1967) and Aadarsa Kutumbam (1969) which includes one hat-trick as well.


A skilled editor, he is one among those rare directors who received National awards for best regional film for three different languages. In 1961, he received Certificate of Merit for Third Best Feature Film in Tamil for the film Kumudham. In 1964 he won National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Kannada for the film Mane Aliya. He received Nandi awards for best feature film for Doctor Chakravarthy, Sudigundalu and Mahakavi Kshetrayya, and Filmfare awards for Sudigundalu.


He directed and wrote the screenplay of Bollywood hit – Milan starring Nutan and Sunil Dutt. Doli, Mastaana, Insaaf, Darpan, Jeet, Rakhwale and Jwar Bhata are his Bollywood works.  He concentrated on to Hindi films since early 1970s. He was active in the film scene till his death in 1975. He made more than 50 movies in Indian languages and most of them were box office hits. He introduced Telugu superstar Krishna as a hero in his film Tene Manasulu (1965).

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Updated: June 26, 2016

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