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Kongara Jaggayya.jpg
Portrait of Jaggayya
Kongara Jaggayya

(1928-12-31)31 December 1928
Tenali, Madras Presidency, British India (present-day Andhra Pradesh, India)
Died5 March 2004(2004-03-05) (aged 75)
Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
Other namesKalavachaspati
Kanchu Kantam
Alma materAndhra Christian College
OccupationActor, dubbing artist, littérateur, journalist, poet, politician
Political partyIndian National Congress
AwardsPadma Bhushan 1992
Member of the Lok Sabha
In office

Kongara Jaggayya (31 December 1928 – 5 March 2004) was an Indian actor, littérateur, journalist, lyricist, dubbing artist and politician known for his works predominantly in Telugu cinema and Telugu theatre. 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.[1] In 1967, he was elected as a member of the fourth Lok Sabha, from the constituency of Ongole, becoming the first Indian film actor to be elected as a member of the Parliament.

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.[2][3]

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), Dharma Kshetram (1992) and 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.[4]

Early life[]

Jaggayya was born on 31 December 1928 to Seetaramaih and Rajya Lakshmamma in Morampudi village near Tenali in Guntur district.[1] 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.[5]

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[]

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[]

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.[10] He was the first Indian film actor to be elected as a member of parliament.[11][12]

Literary achievements[]

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.


Jagayya died on 5 March 2004 in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh.[1]


Civilian honours
Nandi Awards
State Awards
Other honours
  • Title of Kala Vachaspathi from the Sanskrit Viswa Vidyalaya, Delhi
  • Title of Kala Prapoorna from Andhra University, Visakhapatnam
  • Honorary D.Litt. from the Telugu University, Hyderabad


Year Film Role Notes
1952 Priyuralu
1952 Adarsam
1954 Bangaru Papa Manohar National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu
1955 Ardhangi Chinna Babu National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu
1955 Donga Ramudu Dr. Mohan Archived at the Film and Television Institute of India
1956 Muddu Bidda
1956 Edi Nijam National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu
1957 Veera Kankanam
1957 Varudu Kavali
1957 Thodi Kodallu Vaikuntam National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu
1957 MLA
1957 Bhale Bava
1957 Aalu Magalu
1958 Mundadugu
1958 Appu Chesi Pappu Koodu
1959 Bhagya Devata
1960 Pelli Kanuka
1961 Velugu Needalu
1961 Pellikani Pillalu
1961 Kalasi unte Kaladu Sukham
1961 Intiki Deepam Illalu
1962 Chitti Tammudu
1962 Aradhana
1962 Padandi Munduku Producer
1963 Constable Koothuru
1963 Anubandhalu
1963 Eedu Jodu
1963 Manchi rojulu vasthayi
1964 Pooja Phalam
1964 Manchi Manishi
1964 Dr. Chakravarthi National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu
1964 Aathma Balam
1965 Naadi Aada Janme
1965 Uyyala Jampala
1965 Sumangali
1965 Preminchi Choodu
1965 Manushulu Mamathalu
1965 Gudi Gantalu
1965 Antastulu National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu
1966 Navarathri
1966 Manase Mandiram
1966 Aame Evaru?
1966 Aastiparulu
1967 Prana Mithrulu
1968 Bandipotu Dongalu
1969 Adrushtavanthulu
1969 Ardha Rathri
1969 Sipayi Chinnayya Kodandam
1970 Thalli Thandrulu
1971 Ramalayam
1971 Naa Thammudu
1971 Chinnanati Snehitulu
1972 Badi Panthulu
1972 Bharya Biddalu
1973 Devudu Chesina Manushulu
1974 Bhoomi Kosam
1974 Deeksha
1974 Alluri Sita Rama Raju
1974 Manchi Manushulu Dr. Ramesh
1976 Sri Rajeswari Vilas Coffee Club
1976 Paadipantalu
1976 Muthyala Pallaki Srinivasa Rao
1976 Ramarajyamlo Rakthapasam
1977 Adavi Ramudu Forest Officer
1977 Chanakya Chandragupta Voice double for Sivaji Ganesan
1977 Bangaru Bommalu
1977 Manassakshi
1978 Karunamayudu Pontius Pilate
1978 KD No:1
1979 Vetagadu Boopathi
1979 Maavari Manchitanam
1980 Ram Robert Rahim
1981 Nyayam Kavali
1981 Seethakoka Chilaka National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu
1982 Bobbili Puli
1982 Yamakinkarudu
1983 Meghasandesam National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu
1983 Dharma Poratam Raghurama Rao
1984 Disco King
1984 Anubandham
1985 Swathi
1985 Tirugubatu
1985 Adavi Donga
1985 Agni Parvatam Jagannadha Rao
1985 Vijetha
1985 Pachani Kapuram
1986 Kirathakudu
1986 Ugra Narasimham Chakravarthy
1986 Veta
1986 Chantabbai
1987 Ramu
1987 President Gari Abbayi
1987 Aradhana
1987 Pasivadi Pranam
1987 Viswanatha Nayakudu Voice double for Sivaji Ganesan
1988 Manchi Donga
1988 Aakhari Poratam
1988 Jeevana Ganga
1989 Ajatha Satruvu Raghavaiah Naidu
1990 Alludugaru
1991 Assembly Rowdy
1992 Dharma Kshetram
1992 Brahma[13]
1992 Rowdy Inspector
1992 Detective Narada
1993 Joker
1994 Bobbili Simham


He underwent a Hip Replacement surgery and complications after the surgery resulted in his death.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "Jaggayya passes away". The Hindu. 6 March 2004. Archived from the original on 13 April 2004.
  2. ^ "Tollywood's Glorious Journey at Chitramala". Archived from the original on 30 January 2010.
  3. ^ "Profile of Gummadi - Telugu film actor".
  4. ^ Correspondent, By Our Special (3 May 2004). "Jaggayya passes away". The Hindu. p. 06. Archived from the original on 13 April 2004 – via The Hindu (old).
  5. ^ krshychait (12 December 2011). ""Kalaa Vachaspati", "Kanchu Kantham": Kongara Jaggayya".
  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. ^ "ప్రచారం చేయకుండానే జగ్గయ్య గెలుపు". Sakshi (in Telugu). 21 March 2019. Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  11. ^ "Everything you wanted to know about filmstars in Lok Sabha, but didn't know whom to ask - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  12. ^ "Star power in south India: Reel life actors don't always make for real life statesmen". The News Minute. 1 April 2016. Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  13. ^ "Brahma (1992)". IMDb. Retrieved 6 July 2021.

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