Happy Birthday Superstar Krishna: Burripalem Bullodu made his mark in the Telugu film field

It was 21 March 1986. With sounds of crackers renting the air and huge cutouts welcoming the audience, the hungama was at its peak at Chitralaya Theatre in Visakhapatnam. Serpentine queues crossed the gates and spread onto the road. The occasion was the release of Simhasanam, the first movie directed by hero Krishna, whom his fans fondly call him superstar.

That was the craze for the actor during those days and it was no surprise that as many as 18 movies of Superstar Krishna were released in 1972, with a maximum of theatres screening his films. Born in 1943 at Burripalem in Guntur district, Ghattamaneni Sivarama Krishna Murthy, known as Krishna, starred in over 340 films contributing a lot to Telugu cinema.

Successful foray

After appearing in small roles in a couple of films, Krishna made his debut as a hero in 1965 with Thene Manasulu, which was a runaway hit. Even as the upcoming star was savouring the success of his first movie as a hero, his third film, Goodhachari 116, pushed him up to the next rung of the stardom ladder. His performance as Agent 116 in the movie endeared the star to the masses, particularly children, and the hero never looked back, and his journey in the glamorous world continued unstoppable.


It was Mosagallaku Mosagadu, a cowboy film, which took the hero to dizzy heights. Released in 1971, the movie ruled the roost at the box office, creating a record of sorts. Shot in the Rajasthan deserts and Shimla, it gave a different experience to the cine-goers who enjoyed the treat a lot. It blazed a trail for similar flicks for quite a few years. After Agni Pariksha, it was the second film produced by the actor himself on his Padmalaya Studios banner. Mosagallaku Mosagadu is being re-released on 31 May, coinciding with the birthday of Superstar Krishna.

The career-best

To make his 100th film a special one, the actor, who gained a strong foothold in the industry, had planned it big and produced Alluri Sitharama Raju facing several challenges. With a heavy star cast like Jaggaiah, Gummadi and Chandramohan, the first cinemascope movie had become a huge hit scripting a new chapter in the film field. Krishna’s sterling screen show won plaudits from all sections and the movie remained memorable in his five-decade-long career.

Directorial debut

The actor, who had been on a success spree, decided to try his hands on the megaphone and made his directorial debut with Simhasanam, the first 70 mm and stereophonic sound movie in Telugu. With a special attraction of Mandakini, who had mesmerised the youth in a transparent white saree in the film Ram Teri Ganga Maili, the movie had several well-known artists in lead roles. The movie collected over Rs. 1.5 crore on the first day which was a record in the eighties.

James Bond 777, Pandanti Kapuram, Devududu Chesina Manushulu, Mayadari Malligadu, Eenadu, Burripalem Bullodu, Kirayi Kotigadu, Agniparvatham, and Number One were among the other movies that brought Superstar Krishna fame.

Bitter experience

Turning a deaf ear to the advice of many in the industry, Krishna, known for his daringness, went ahead with his plan and ventured to remake the movie Devadasu, a blockbuster of ANR. Despite technical excellence, the Krishna starrer Devadasu proved to be a damp squib drawing criticism from the audience.

Great honour

Donning different roles in his cine journey spanning five decades, Krishna made his mark in the industry. In recognition of his contribution to the growth of the cinema as an actor, producer and director, the government honoured him with ‘Padma Bhushan’ in the year 2009.

An era ends

The ‘daring and dashing’ hero breathed his last in November last at the age of 79 leaving a void in the film industry which can’t be filled by anyone.

Article written by Lakkoju Nagesh Babu, senior journalist and Column Editor. 

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