Relangi Venkata Ramaiah, the legendary comedian of Telugu cinema and the first comedian to win the prestigious Padma Sri award,would be 109 years old, had he been alive today. The legend revolutionised the art of situational comedy with his facial expressions and comic timing.
We remember five iconic roles he played in his 500 odd movies. The legend lives on in our memory forever.
- Surasena – Pathala Bhairavi (1951)
The folklore drama of K.V. Reddy established Relangi as the prime comedian in Telugu cinema. Apart from the heroics of N.T. Rama Rao, filmgoers appreciated the comic jester like role of Relangi, in which he also sang his songs. His Vinave Bala was hugely popular. He played Surasena, the official groom of the heroine Princess.
He does everything to impress the princess which also includes singing a song to her and ends up helping the villain.
- Subbarayudu- Pakkinti Ammayi (1953)
This movie is the pinnacle point of Relangi ’s popularity where he is played as the lead opposite Anjali Devi, who was one of the most popular heroines at that time. It is interesting the remake rights of this movie were bought by Hindi actor Mehmood and he made the popular comedy Padosan (1969) in Hindi and achieved a cult status.
- Poolaiah- Rojulu Marayi (1955)The revolutionary agricultural drama, Rojulu Marayi is a watermark in Telugu Cinema. It features an ensemble cast including C.S.R. Anajaneyulu, Shavukar Janaki and A. Nageswara Rao. Relangi played an arrogant and foolish henchman of the atrocious village landlord. His role was noted for the seriousness and villainy Relangi could pull off easily, apart from comedy.
- Devaiah- Missamma (1955)
The great classic from Vijaya Productions, which narrated the role of unemployment in commoner’s life in a humorous way, featured Relangi as a servant to the lead pair, N.T. Rama Rao and Savitri.The first thing people remember about Relangi ’s character in Missamma is, he keeps asking for Thailam (money) to give ideas and reveal secrets.
- Lakshmana Kumara- Mayabazar (1957)
The K.V. Reddy classic is remembered for all the titans of Telugu cinema, like S.V. Ranga Rao, N.T. Rama Rao, Savitri, Gummadi Venkateswara Rao and the inimitalbe Relangi who played the follish character of Lakshmana Kumara, the prospective groom of Princess Sasirekha(Savitri.) Relangi tickled us the most in this legendary character where he plays the character of Duryodhana’s son who keeps pushing himself to do anything against Abhimanyu.