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Vemuri Gaggaiah (1895–1955) was an Indian film actor, character actor, singer, and thespian known for his works in Telugu cinema, and Telugu theater. In 1933, East India Film Company produced its first Indian film, Savitri, in Telugu. Shot in Calcutta on a budget of 75 thousand, and based on a popular stage play by Mylavaram Bala Bharathi Nataka Samajam, the film was directed by the father of the "Telugu Theater Movement", Chittajallu Pullaiah, casting Vemuri Gaggaiah and Dasari Ramathilakam as "Yama" and "Savithri" respectively.[1] The blockbuster film has received an honorary diploma at Venice Film Festival.[2]

Vemuri Gaggaiah
DiedDecember 30, 1955
Hyderabad, India

Gaggaiah was an important member of the "Mylavarama Bala Bharathi Nataka Samajam" in Mylavaram, Krishna district during 1913–28. Through "Mylavaram Theatre". Gaggaiah became a household name for mythological roles. He won recognition in drama as Yama, god of death, in Sati Savitri, as the demon Hiranyakasipu in Bhakta Prahlada. Some other prominent roles were as the eponymous Mymvana, and as Jalandhara in Sati Tulasi. His theatrical performances made C. Pullayya to persuade to him to enter motion picture. His other notable films include works such as Kamsa in Sri Krishna Leelalu (1935) and the womanizer in Chandika (1940). He is known for rendering songs such as "Po Bala Pommikan" and "Dhikkaramulu Saituna". [3]

Early lifeEdit

Gaggaiah was born in 1895 at Vemuru in Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh. He lost his father in early childhood. His elder brother tried to educate him but failed in his efforts. He married Ramalaxmi in 1913. During those days, Surabhi Drama company used to be played throughout the Andhra Pradesh and attracts huge crowds. Influenced by this, he learned music and singing songs. He joined the same troupe and acted in many plays touring with them.

Personal lifeEdit

His son Vemuri Ramaiah was also a stage actor.[4] He was a Bachelor of Law and started with the role of Sri Krishna in 1950. He later shifted to the role of Karna and acted in the same role on the stage for about 40 years. He formed his own troupe and staged the drama Maharathi Karna. He rendered the verses and dialogues with clear diction and very good action. He published his autobiography with details of his acting career along with his contemporaries. Vemuri Ramasubbaya is one of his students.


The much recognized Telugu theatre personality, Vemuri Gaggaiah died in 1955 on 30 December in his native village Vemuru.


  1. Savithri (1933)Yama
  2. Seeta Kalyanam (1934)
  3. Sri Krishna Leelalu (1935) – Kamsa
  4. Draupadi Vastrapaharanam (1936) – Sishupala
  5. Sati Tulasi (1936)
  6. Mohini Rugmangada (1937)
  7. Jarasandha (1938)
  8. Markandeya (1938) – Yama
  9. Chandika (1940) – Giriraju
  10. Mahiravana (1940) – Mairavana
  11. Dakshayagnam (1941) – Daksha
  12. Bhakta Prahlada (1942) – Hiranyakashipu
  13. Seeta Rama Jananam (1942) – Ravana
  14. Garuda Garvabhangam (1943)


  1. ^ Narasimham, M. L. (7 November 2010). "SATI SAVITHRI (1933)". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
  2. ^ Bhagwan Das Garg (1996). So many cinemas: the motion picture in India. Eminence Designs. p. 86. ISBN 81-900602-1-X.
  3. ^ Luminaries of 20th Century, Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University, Hyderabad, 2005.
  4. ^ Famous artists in Andhra Natakam

External linksEdit