Raavi Kondal Rao, veteran actor and writer passed away on Tuesday reportedly due to cardiac arrest. The senior actor was availing treatment at a private hospital in Hyderabad, where he breathed his last. He was 88 years old. Rao, who was born in 1932 in Samarlakota, East Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh, acted in over 600 films in a career spanning six decades. He made his debut in films with NT Rama Rao’s Shoba which released in 1958.
Raavi Kondal Rao also wrote hit films like Bhairava Dweepam starring Nandamuri Balakrishna and Pelli Pustakam featuring Rajendra Prasad. Both these films were huge blockbusters. His other notable films as an actor include Ali Baba 40 Dongalu, Andala Ramudu, Dasara Bullodu, Rangoon Rowdi, Chantabbayi, Radha Gopalam, Mee Sreyobhilashi, Varudu, King and Oye.
Rao's last film as an actor was Ram Gopal Varma’s 365 Days released in 2015. Besides, direction and writing, he donned several roles in the film industry such as dubbing artist, comedian, character artist, editor etc. Before making a foray into films, he was working as a columnist for a film magazine. He was also an RSS member, for which he was imprisoned for three months in Rajahmundry prison, when he protested against the ban of RSS following the assasination of Mahatma Gandhi.
Raavi Kondal Rao's wife, Radha kumari, also an actor, died in 2012. The real life couple had acted together in some Telugu films. Meanwhile, several expressed their condolences over the senior actor’s death. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy offering his heartfelt condolences to his family, said, “With the death of the veteran actor, the cine industry has lost an icon.”
“The death of Sri Ravi Kondalarao, a senior actor, writer, versatile intellectual and great artist, is tragic. His acting, which added humour to his roles that evoked ‘Teluguness’, was delightful. I pray to god that his soul attains peace,” said TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu.