Kota Srinivasa Rao – The Acting Genius of Tollywood

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“Kankipaadu..a smoaaall village

Marriage lookings arranged

Cards printed

2 weeks happy

3rd week she started training

Then started struggule

Cards name deleted”

If you are a true Telugu movie lover, you would definitely recognize this dialogue. Who can forget this hilarious monologue from the movie ‘Money’, uttered by an icon that has more than 500 films to his credit and a coveted Padmashree award?

In 1947, July 10th marked the birth of the legend Kota Srinivasa Rao – the actor who left no stone unturned playing any role under the sun with perfection.

Coming from Kankipaadu, a small village (read it in Kota’s style), he began his journey with theatre.  An extremely popular villain of Tollywood for two decades debuted in 1978 with Pranam Khareedu. However, his work got noticed only in 1986 with Prathighatana, playing a rotten cop. Since then there was no looking back for this gem of an actor.

Humour and his Kikikiki

He is a master of comedy. The peculiar way of laughing with the sound “Kikikiki” is his trademark. Pratighatana was followed by a film where he played an iconic role. It was in the movie Aha Na Pellanta directed by none other than the Haasya Brahma Jandhyala. Kota played a miser with unimaginable level of stinginess. With broken spectacles and a shabby vest, he brought the house down, showing some hilarious ways to make money.

Who can forget his peculiar look towards a hanging hen while having his plain rice in order to get the feel of eating Chicken Biryani.

Jandhyala was the one of the directors who could bring the best out of him in the early years.  Choopulu Kalasina Subhavela and Jayammu Nischayammura had him speak in a distinctive way creating ample humour. In the next decade, it was E.V.V.Satyanarayana’s movies where his impact became ten-fold.  Kota Srinivasa Rao’s role as an S.I, who always has a spat with his junior is amusing in Hello Brother. Another character that he played without any inhibitions and generated rib-tickling comedy was in Jamba Lakidi Pamba. The movie had genders swapped and Kota effortlessly singing “Muthyamanthaa pasupu mukhamentho chaaya..muttaidhu kunkuma bathukantha chaaya “. His performance in Intlo Illalu Vantintlo Priyuraalu is a comic-tonic.

chicken Kota Srinivasa Rao – The Acting Genius of Tollywood

Sharing the screen space his exceptional co stars, Brahmanandam and Late Veera Bhadra Rao

Negative Roles – Villan Antey Ithane ra Babuuuuu..

Negative roles are a piece of cake for Kota. He was the first choice to play an antagonist for more than two decades. What made him stand apart was a unique mannerism he added to every role he got. The style in which he says “Ee phone evadu kanpettaadra babuuu” from the movie Shatruvu is used even today in our daily conversations. He added a satiric touch to the unsympathetic roles he played. The way he says “Aah Thanks” is also copied by us.

Likewise, there are umpteen such one-of-a-kind phrases that he used to improvise the dialogues which actually come handy in our day-to-day chit-chat with our friends. As per the requirement, he can rightly balance being funny and being antagonistic. Classic examples are films like Ganesh, Gaayam and Athadu. He is probably the first person that comes to any director when they have a cruel politician in the story.

This genius also has a unique talent to pull off multiple layers in a single character. For instance, all through Aame we see him as a stingy and selfish father. But, all of a sudden at the most unanticipated moment, he turns into a lecherous father-in-law. In many films, he was supported by Babu Mohan and their combination was unparalleled. In Mamagaru and Allari Alludu, their scenes are truly uproarious. Kota also has a great command over dialects. His grip in speaking Telangana cannot be achieved even by the native speakers.

Supporting Roles and Sentiment

kota2 Kota Srinivasa Rao – The Acting Genius of Tollywood

With excess import of villains from the Hindi sector, Kota has been gradually transferred to playing important supporting roles. The flawless actor mesmerized in these too. He never ceases to amaze with the kind of sympathy he creates playing those father roles. In the movie Idiot, he played a constable and a worried father. The way he pleads Prakash Raj and tries to save his son is top-notch. He played supporting roles which every father would connect to. Aaduvaari Maatalaku.. is the best illustration for that. That was a simple yet gut-wrenching performance.

Apart from Telugu, Kota Srinivasa Rao also shone in other languages, especially Tamil, Kannada and Hindi.  His role as Selvamani in Sarkar was outstanding. Even at this age, he puts in 100% effort for the role he is assigned. In Attarintiki Daaredi, he delivered his accent impeccably as the character Siddappa. A complete actor indeed!

Lately, he is appearing weak on-screen as well as off-screen. Let’s wish him “Bhadram Be Careful Brotheruuu” for his health.

And a very happy birthday to one of the most precious actors’ Telugu cinema has ever produced.

What?…I just heard “Aaah Thanks”



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