Raghupathi Venkaiah Naidu

Raghupathi Venkaiah Naidu

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Category: Cinema

Raghupathi Venkaiah Naidu Profile

  • Name:
  • Raghupathi Venkaiah Naidu
  • Born:
  • October 15, 1887
  • Died:
  • March 15, 1941
  • Father:
  • Subedar Appayya Naidu

Raghupathi Venkaiah Naidu Biography

Raghupathi Venkaiah Naidu is popularly known as ‘Father of Telugu Cinema’. He was an Indian artist, one of the earliest film makers from south and a pioneer in silent Indian movies and talkies. He was the first to build and own cinema hall in Chennai. He has travelled through Asia to promote his work. Raghupati Venkaiah Award is incorporated into Nandi Awards for honouring persons for their contributions to Telugu cinema. Though known as a pioneer of south Indian cinema, in 1929 he was forced to sell his properties to pay off his debts. He died on 15 March 1941 aged 53. Famous Telugu and Tamil actress, Devika is his granddaughter and successful actress of 1990’s, Kanaka is his great granddaughter.


Venkaiah Naidu was born on October 15, 1887 in Madras Presidency. He was born in Machilipatnam, Andhra Pradesh to an Indian Army official Subedar Appayya Naidu. Raghupati Venkataratnam Naidu, a famous social reformer and educationalist was his elder brother. His forefathers worked as Commanders for East India Company and Madras Army. At the age of 18, Venkaiah Naidu moved to Chennai where he started drawing pictures and carving sculptures and selling them. During this time, he learnt photography and started a studio.


In 1909, he ordered a Chrono Mega phone from John Dickinson and Company. He bought it for Rs 30,000 and to pay it he rented out his photo studio. He shot 12 short films and exhibited them in Victoria Public Hall. Later he travelled Bangalore, Vijayawada, Sri Lanka, Rangoon and Pegu to exhibit his films. In 1910, he established Esplanade Ten House to exhibit his films and two years later he constructed Gaiety Talkies on Mount Road. Gaiety Talkies was the first film studio of Madras. He later constructed Crown Theatre on Mint Street and Globe Theatre in Parasuwakka and showed movies like Million Dollar Mystery, Mysteries of Meera, Clutching Hand, Broken Coin, Raja's casket and Peral fish. In 1919, he started a production company called Star of East Films and a film studio called Glass Studio. But later this film lover has to sell all his properties to pay the debts.

Updated: April 03, 2014

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