Tollywood singers

Bhanumathi Ramakrishna


Birth name: Paluvayi Bhanumathi


* Swarna Kankanam
* Multifaced Queen of the Indian screen
* Kalaimamani
* Bhahukala Dheerati Sreemathi
* Nadippukku Ilakkanam

Member of :

*  Children's Film Society (1965-1970)
*  Lalith Kala Academy for 5 years
*  Andhra Pradesh Sahitya Academy for 10 years
* Madras Branch of Altrusa International Inc., Chicago
* Red Cross Society
* State Film Awards Committee for two years


'All Rounder' is the best suited for this multi talented woman. She is a singer, actress, director, music director, producer, and studio owner. She is the reigning queen of Telugu Cinema for the past 60 years. Bhanumati is born to Saraswatamma and Bommaraju Venkata Subbaiah as their third kid on 7th September 1925.

Bhanmati picked up singing when she was a kid. She used to watch lot of stage shows as her father used to perform roles in them. At that time she did not have any inkling of acting. But her father used to urge her to act. In those days, acting is a taboo for the upper cast people. Fortunately a lady called Tanguturi Surya Kumari entered cinema field. That gave inspiration for Bhanumati's father to make Bhanumati as an actress.

Suddenly she is given an offer for 'Kalindi' role in 'Vara Vikrayam'(1939) film. She acted reluctantly in that movie and she got rave reviews as an actress with that film. Her next film was 'Malathi Madhavam'. She has done a little bit of schooling. So she tried to finesse her education while acting. She used to read lot of literary works and then became a writer herself.

Though she did good acting in 'Vara Vikrayam', 'Malathi Madhavam', 'Dharma Patni' and 'Bhaktimala', it was 'Krishna Prema' that turned her career around. During the shooting of the film, she was introduced to Rama Krishna, an assistant director for that film. Their introduction led to love and finally ended up in marriage. So, it all started with 'Krishna Prema' and ended as 'Rama Krishna Prema'. Bhanumati has a very strong and unyielding will. Her parents did not want her to marry Rama Krishna. But she went ahead with her decision to marry Rama Krishna. This celebrity couple is one of the most stable couple from cinema industry.

She quitted films after marriage, as she preferred the role of housewife. But Rama Krishna wanted her to act. She reentered films with 'Swarga Seema'. She did a vamp kind of role in that film. Interestingly that film turned out to be a milestone in Bhanumati career. She acted as 'Subbu' in that film, who comes to the city and changes her name as Sujatha to become a big person. During that process, she disturbs the family life of a newspaper editor, who helped her grow big. Her song in that film 'Ohoho Pavurama' made waves in the music industry. After that she acted in all hit films.

She established a banner called 'Bharani Pictures' on her son's name and produced films like 'Ratnamala', Prema, Chakrapani, Laila Majnu, Batasari, Vipra Narayana. All these films were aesthetically made and commercially became successful. Two of the most powelful films by Bhanumati are 'Malliswari' and 'Vipra Narayana'. She also acted in Tamil and Hindi films. She acted with Ashok Kumar in Tamil, MGR, Sivaji Ganesan and Gemini Ganesan in Tamil and NTR, ANR and Jaggayya in Telugu.

She wrote a series of stories in the name of 'Athagari Kathalu'. She had noble fans too. Dr. Sarvepalli Radha Krishnan is a great fan of her. Incidentally, he is the one who conferred the award of Padmasri to her. Other noted fans of her include Bejawada Gopal Reddy, PV Rajamannar, Kodavaganti Kutumba Rao and Chakrapani.

In her film 'Vipranarayana', she utters a dialogue that 'KonevaDu ratnanne vetukkunToo vastaaDu'. Like that she never craved for any awards. She got a string of awards. In 1956, she is conferred with 'Padmasri'. Later on Andhra University and SV University have given her honorary doctorate. She is also received 'Raghupathi Venkayya Award' by AP Government. Tamil Nadu Government has appointed Bhanumati as the principal of the Music Institute. She got lot of awards for her biographical film 'Naalo Nenu'.

Her long list of honors is only a glimpse of her personality.

    * First lady recipient of State Honours (1956) after the formation of Andhra Pradesh state
    * National award for Best Actress thrice: Annai (Tamil), Antasthulu (Telugu), Palnati Yuddham (Telugu)
    * "naDippuku ilakkaNam" (Grammar for Acting) title bestowed by Sree Anna Durai for her performance in Rangoon Radha (Tamil)
    * PadmaSree (1966) by Government of India
    * Andhra Pradesh Sahitya Academy award for Best short-story writer ("attagaari kathalu")
    * Andhra University's Honorary Doctorate (1975) for her contribution to film industry and literature
    * Tamilnadu Iyal Isai Nataka Manram's "kalaimaamaNi" (Jewel among Artistes) in 1984
    * Lions Club International's "Bahukala Dheerati Sreemathi" at the First Lionesses Assembly (1984).
    * Sree Venkateswara University's Honorary Doctorate (1984)
    * Andhra Pradesh State Government's Raghupathi Venkaiah Memorial Award and Best Lady Director award (1986)
    * Director and Principal for Tamilnadu Government Music College, Chennai (1985-1988) – the only lady musician ever appointed to this government-appointed position
    * "Great Artiste of the year 1993-'94" by Doctor's Association of London, U.K. (1994)
    * "First Senior Lady Director" honor by The Karnataka Director's Association
    * Member of Children's Film Society (1965-1970)
    * Member of Lalith Kala Academy for 5 years
    * Member of Andhra Pradesh Sahitya Academy for 10 years
    * Founder Member and Treasurer of Madras Branch of Altrusa International Inc., Chicago (1963-1993), and continued as a member even after 1993.
    * Life Member of Red Cross Society, for about 40 years
    * Member of State Film Awards Committee for two years
    * Visiting Professor to the Film Institute for one year.
    * Founder of Educational Institution, named as "Dr. Bhanumathi Ramakrishna Matriculation School" at Saligramam, Chennai, giving free education to the poor.
    * "swarNakankaNam" (A gold bracelet) and the title "Mutlifaceted Queen of the Indian Screen" for her lifetime achievement as Film Producer, Director, Artiste, Singer, Music Director, and owner  of  Bharani Pictures and Studios

Unfortunately, Dadasaheb Phalke award evaded her at least twice (including this year), due to certain ugly politics pertaining in the film industry.

This legendary  was almost always prefixed by Bahumukha Prajnaa Saali in Telugu, while Tamil audience fondly called her ashtaavadhaani; both these honors portray her multifaceted talent exhibited in the fields of direction, production, script and screenplay-writing, and music in the film industry, apart from being an astrologer, a painter, and philosopher. She directed 16 films in all, rendered songs in several languages, in Carnatic, Hindustani, and even English pop style.


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