As a tribute to Shri B. R Panthulu, Karnataka is celebrating the entire year starting with a function and screening two films in each district every single week and documenting Shri.B.R.Panthulu’s biography at the end of the year. Surprisingly, this birth centenary also coincides with the 500th year Pattabisheka cetenary of Shri Krishna Deva Raya – Shri.Panthulu, a theatre actor and later one of the finest film actors, who has won the State Award for acting in the role of Thimmarasu, the Minister in Shri Krishna Deva Raya’s rule, had told his daughter B.R.Vijayalakshmi that when he was a theatre actor, he would go and sit among the ruins of Hamphi and dream of enacting a theatre play about the subject – but later managed to make it as a film, which ran for 25 weeks.
Shri.B.R.Panthulu, Boodgur Ramakrishnaiah Panthulu, born July 26th 1910, has produced and directed 57 films in all South Indian languages under the banner of Padmini Pictures and is one of the pioneers of the Indian film industry. Many of his films have won National Awards and State Awards. His films include legendary films such as “Veera Pandiya Kattabomman”, which won the Afro Asian Film Festival award, “Kappalotiya Thamizhan”, and “Karnan”. A futuristic thinker of his times, he has made the first ever Techni Colour film in India in Tamil (Veera Pandiya Kattabomman) and the first Colour Film in Kannada, “Shri Krishna Deva Rayalu”.
Shri.B.R.Panthalu was closely associated with veterans such as N.T.Ramarao, Nageshwara Rao etc. through his Telugu Films “Gaali Gopura”, “Gaali Medalu”, “Pillalu Thechina Challani Rajyam, “School Master” etc., Shri Sivaji Ganesan through “Veera Pandiya Kattabomman”, “Kappalotiya Thamizhan”, “Karnan”, “Sabash Meena”, “Bale Pandiya’, “Mudal Thedi”, “Thanga Malai Rahsyam”, and with Shri MGR in “Aayarathil Oruvan”, “Rahasiya Ploice 115”, “Thedi Vandha Mappillai” and “Madurai Meetiya Sundara Pandian”.
Shri B.R.Panthulu has introduced Ms.Jayalalitha to the silver screen first in the Kannada film “Chinnada Gombe” and later introduced the fresh MGR – Jayalalitha duo in “Aayarathil Oruvan”. He has also introduced other artistes like Bharathi, given the opportunity to his assistant Puttana Kannagal to direct his first film “School Master. Many of his films were remade in all languages including Hindi.
He is the only director in the South who has felt deeply about the Independence Movement in the South and has made films in these languages about Freedom Fighters involved in the Independence Movement from South India.
Even after the demise of Shri B.R.Panthulu on Oct 8th, 1974, Srimathi Indira Gandhi previewed the film “Kappalotiya Thamizhan” and was so deeply moved, she granted Entertertainment Tax Exemption for the film, forever.