Chennai, Jan 23: Veteran Tamil filmmaker K. Balachander recalls late actor Akkineni Nageswara Rao as not just a cinematic legend, but as a great human being who "cared, loved and respected" others.
Nageswara Rao died in Hyderabad Wednesday after battling intestinal cancer. He was 89.
"We have lost an icon. There's no doubt that he was a legend, but he also cared, loved and respected all around him. This made him a great human being. It's a big loss to our Indian film industry as I feel there can't be another Nageswara Rao," Balachander told IANS.
In 2010, Balachander was bestowed with Akkineni Nageswara Rao (ANR) National Award.
"I will cherish that moment for a lifetime. I was honoured to have received that award from him. I sought his blessings at that function," he added.
Other recipients of ANR National Award include Hema Malini, Lata Mangeshkar, Vyjayanthimala Bali, late Anjali Devi, Shabana Azmi, late Dev Anand and Shyam Benegal.
Born Sep 20, 1924, Rao's 70-year career boasts a filmography of over 250 films. He had worked predominantly in Telugu as well as a few Tamil films.
He made his cinematic debut in the 1941 Telugu film "Dharmapatni" in a brief role. In 1944, he essayed the lead role in Telugu drama "Sitarama Jananam".
Some of his best films include "Batasari", "Devadasu" and "Prem Nagar". He was currently shooting for Telugu family drama "Manam" with son Akkineni Nagarjuna and grandson Akkineni Naga Chaitanya.
The last rites of Rao will be performed Thursday in Hyderabad.