Jaggayya (actor)

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Kongara Jaggayya

(1926-12-31)31 December 1926
Died5 March 2004(2004-03-05) (aged 77)
Other namesKalavachaspati
Kanchu Kantham
Super star
Alma materAndhra Christian College
OccupationActor, dubbing artist, littérateur, journalist, poet, politician
AwardsPadma Bhushan 1992

Kongara Jaggayya (31 December 1926 – 5 March 2004) was an Indian film actor, littérateur, journalist, lyricist, dubbing artist and politician known for his works predominantly in Telugu cinema and Telugu theatre.[1] Regarded as one of the finest method actors of Indian cinema,[2] he was known as Kanchu Kantham Jaggayya (Telugu) for his booming voice. In a film career spanning forty years as a matinee idol, he starred in eighty films, as a lead actor, and lead antagonist in a variety of genres.[2]

During his early career he portrayed breakthrough characters in works such as Donga Ramudu (1955), which was archived by the Film and Television Institute of India, He starred in award winning works such as Bangaru Papa (1954), Ardhangi (1955), Edi Nijam (1956), Todi Kodallu (1957), Dr. Chakravarti (1964), Antastulu (1965), the Cannes Film Festival featured Meghasandesam (1982), and Seethakoka Chiluka (1981); all of which won the National Film Award for Best Feature Films in Telugu. In 1962, he co-produced and starred in the political drama film Padandi Munduku based on Salt March, the film was screened at the International Film Festival of India, the Tashkent Film Festival, and got a special mention at the 5th Moscow International Film Festival.[3][4]

As a character actor he received critical appreciation for his performance in notable works such as Velugu Needalu (1961), Chitti Tammudu (1962), Aaradhana (1962), Aatma Balam (1964), Sumangali (1965), Gudi Gantalu (1965), Nava ratri (1966), Aame Evaru? (1966), Aastiparulu (1966), Jarigina Katha (1969), Bala Mitrula Katha (1972), Badi Pantulu (1972), Bharya Biddalu (1972), Devudu Chesina Manushulu (1973). He portrayed British official Rutherford in the biographical film Alluri Sita Rama Raju (1974), and essayed Pontius Pilate in the hagiographical film Karunamayudu (1978). He then appeared in works such as Veta (1986), Chantabbai (1986), Pasivadi Pranam (1987), and Dharma Kshetram (1992).Bobbili Simham (1994) .He has won the Andhra Pradesh state Nandi Award for Best Character Actor for his works in some of these films. A recipient of the Tamil Nadu state's Kalaimamani, the Government of India has honored him with the Padma Bhushan in 1992 for his contributions towards Indian cinema.[5]

Early life[edit]

Jaggayya was born to Kongara Seetaramaih and Rajya Lakshmamma. He was born in a well-to-do family in Morampudi village near Tenali in Guntur district. He quoted on several occasions in his essays the influence his father had on his interest towards arts. He started acting at the age of 11, with the role of Lava in a Hindi play during his high school days in Duggirala. He got trained in the art of painting under the guidance of Adivi Bapiraju, a noted painter, during his college days.

As a student, he joined the Congress Socialist party in Tenali, which was involved in the Indian Independence Movement at that time.

He joined the Andhra-Christian College, in 1942, in Guntur for his higher studies. He used to be a member of Navya Sahitya Parishath in Guntur. Later he joined a periodical named Desabhimani (meaning "Patriot") as a journalist.[6] Later he worked as an editor for the weekly Andhra Republic. During his B.A. days in A-C College, he along with N. T. Rama Rao, acted in several plays. He also used to be a part of Navajyothi Artists, a cultural organisation run by Mukkamala. After working as a teacher in Duggirala for a brief while, he became a news announcer in Akashavani for three years.[7] Jaggayya won the best actor award in three successive years for Chesina Papam and Telangana.

Film career[edit]

He made his cinematic debut in 1952 drama film Priyuralu directed by Tripuraneni Gopichand.[8] This movie was produced by Donepudi Krishnamurthy, also known popularly as Gokul Krishnamurthy. He quit the job as news announcer as he signed three movies on a trot. His second movie, Adarsham, didn't do well at box office. His planned third movie Paleru did not even see light of the day.

Bangaru Papa, directed by B N Reddy, released in 1955, was the first breakthrough film for Jaggayya. He was distinguished for his booming voice and contributed as a voice artist for more than hundred feature films. He dubbed in Telugu language for veteran Sivaji Ganesan. He was the narrator, and dubbing artist for internationally recognized works such as Maa Bhoomi, and Richard Attenborough's character of John Hammond in the Telugu-dubbed version of the Hollywood film Jurassic Park. He acted in almost 100 films as a lead, 100 more as a co-lead and almost 200 films as a character artist. He was a part of almost every film of VB Rajendra Parasad's Jagapathi Pictures, K B Tilak's Anupama Pictures and Ramavijeta Films owned by brothers Prabhakar and Baburao. His last film as an actor was Kunthi Putrudu, which starred Mohan Babu as lead and was directed by Dasari Narayana Rao.

He turned into producer with a film Padandi Munduku, under the banner of Jagruthi Chitra. The film was released in January 1962 and was a regarded as first Telugu social film made on the basis of Indian Independence movement.

He was awarded the 'Kala Vachaspathi' for his sonorous voice.[9]

Political career[edit]

Jaggayya was active in politics right from his student days and was allied with the socialist group within the Congress party. When the group was disbanded, he joined Jayaprakash Narayan's Praja Socialist Party, but returned to Congress in 1956, heeding the call of Jawaharlal Nehru. In 1967, he was elected as a member of the fourth Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Parliament of India from the constituency of Ongole on a Congress Party ticket. He was the first Indian film actor to be elected as a member of parliament.[10]

Literary achievements[edit]

He translated Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore's Geetanjali and multiple poems into Telugu under the name Ravindra Geetha. He also translated Tagore's play "Sacrifice" into Telugu under the name Balidaanam. He also co-founded Manasvini Charitable Trust to honor the film literature of Acharya Athreya. The lyrics of all the film songs written by Athreya was consolidated into seven volumes.


Civilian honours
Nandi Awards
State Awards
Other honours

Selected filmography[edit]

S No Year of release Movie Name Notes / Character
1 1952 Priyuralu
2 1952 Adarsam
3 1954 Bangaru Papa National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu / Manohar
4 1955 Ardhangi National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu / Chinna Babu
5 1955 Donga Ramudu Archived at the Film and Television Institute of India / Dr. Mohan
6 1956 Muddu Bidda
7 1956 Edi Nijam National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu
8 1957 Veera Kankanam
9 1957 Varudu Kavali
10 1957 Thodi Kodallu National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu / Vaikuntam
11 1957 MLA
12 1957 Bhale Bava
13 1957 Aalu Magalu
14 1958 Mundadugu
15 1958 Appu Chesi Pappu Koodu
16 1959 Bhagya Devata
17 1960 Pelli Kanuka
18 1961 Velugu Needalu
19 1961 Pellikani Pillalu
20 1961 Kalasi unte Kaladu Sukham
21 1961 Intiki Deepam Illalu
22 1962 Chitti Tammudu
23 1962 Aradhana
24 1962 Padandi Munduku Producer
25 1963 Constable Koothuru
26 1963 Anubandhalu
27 1963 Eedu Jodu
28 1963 Manchi rojulu vasthayi
29 1964 Pooja Phalam
30 1964 Manchi Manishi
31 1964 Dr. Chakravarthi National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu
32 1964 Aathma Balam
33 1965 Uyyala Jampala
34 1965 Sumangali
33 1965 Preminchi Choodu
34 1965 Manasulu Mamatalu
35 1965 Gudi Gantalu
36 1965 Antastulu National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu
37 1966 Navarathri
38 1966 Manase Mandiram
39 1966 Aame Evaru?
40 1966 Aastiparulu
41 1967 Prana Mithrulu
42 1968 Bandipotu Dongalu
43 1969 Adrustavanthulu
44 1969 Ardha Rathri
45 1970 Thalli Thandrulu
46 1971 Srimanthudu
47 1971 Ramalayam
48 1971 Naa Thammudu
49 1971 Chinnanati Snehitulu
50 1972 Badi Panthulu
51 1972 Bharya Biddalu
52 1973 Devudu Chesina Manushulu
53 1974 Bhoomi Kosam
54 1974 Deeksha
55 1974 Alluri Sita Rama Raju
56 1976 Sri Rajeswari Vilas Coffee Club
57 1976 Paadipantalu
58 1976 Ramarajyamlo Rakthapasam
59 1977 Adavi Ramudu Forest Officer
60 1977 Chanakya Chandragupta Voice double for Sivaji Ganesan
61 1977 Manassakshi
62 1978 Karunamayudu As Pontius Pilate, then Prefect of the Roman Province of Judaea, known today for the trial and crucifixion of Jesus
63 1978 KD No:1
64 1979 Maavari Manchitanam
65 1980 Ram Robert Rahim
66 1981 Nyayam Kavali
67 1981 Seethakoka Chilaka National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu
68 1982 Bobbili Puli
69 1982 Yamakinkarudu
70 1983 Meghasandesam National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu
68 1984 Disco King
69 1984 Anubandham
70 1985 Swathi
71 1985 Adavi Donga
72 1985 Agni Parvatam Jagannadha Rao
73 1985 Vijetha
74 1985 Pachani Kapuram
75 1986 Kiraathakudu
76 1986 Veta
77 1986 Chantabbai
77 1987 Ramu
78 1987 President Gari Abbayi
79 1987 Aradhana
80 1987 Pasivadi Pranam
81 1987 Viswanatha Nayakudu Voice double for Sivaji Ganesan
82 1988 Jeevana Ganga
83 1990 Alludugaru
84 1991 Assembly Rowdy
85 1992 Dharma Kshetram
86 1993 Joker
87 1993 Detective Narada


He underwent a Hip Replacement surgery and complications after the surgery resulted in his death.[2]


  1. ^ krshychait (12 December 2011). ""Kalaa Vachaspati", "Kanchu Kantham": Kongara Jaggayya".
  2. ^ a b c "The Hindu : Jaggayya passes away". www.thehindu.com.
  3. ^ "Tollywood's Glorious Journey at Chitramala". Archived from the original on 30 January 2010.
  4. ^ "Profile of Gummadi - Telugu film actor".
  5. ^ Correspondent, By Our Special (3 May 2004). "Jaggayya passes away". p. 06 – via The Hindu (old).
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 December 2005. Retrieved 23 April 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ telugucinema.com/c/stars/KJaggayya.shtml
  8. ^ "Rutherford of Telugu cinema".
  9. ^ earlytollywood.blogspot.in/2008/02/kongara-jaggaiah.html
  10. ^ tollywood.info/actor/k/kongara_jaggayya.htm

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