The man synonymous with actor Jeetendra’s blockbusters in the 1980s, veteran director-producer T.Rama Rao passed away in Chennai during the early hours of Wednesday. He was 83.

Rama Rao had helmed 70 films in Telugu and Hindi, besides bankrolling blockbusters in Tamil.

A resident of Chennai’s T. Nagar neighbourhood, Rama Rao died at around 12.30 a.m. because of an age-related illness. His last rites will be held at the Kannammapet crematorium at 4 p.m. on Wednesday. He’s survived by his wife Tatineni Jayashree and children Chamundeswari, Naga Suseela and Ajay.

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Beginning his directorial journey in 1969 with ‘Navarathri’, Rama Rao worked with a number of top Telugu stars, including NTR, ANR, Shoban Babu, Krishna, Balakrishna, Sridevi, Jayapradha and Jayasudha.

Rama Rao directed Telugu films such as ‘Navarathri’, ‘Jeevana Tarangalu’, ‘Brahmachari’, ‘Aalumagalu’, ‘Yamagola’, ‘President Gari Abbayi’, ‘Illalu’, ‘Pandani Jeevitham’ and ‘Pachani Kaapuram, etc., in Telugu One of the pioneering southern directors to also work in Bollywood, Rama Rao entered the Hindi film industry in 1979 and got to team up with leading actors such as Amitabh Bachan, Jeetendra, Dharmendra, Sanjay Dutt, Anil Kapoor, Govinda and Mithun Chakraborty.

Several movie celebrities condoled the death of the stalwart director. Anupam Kher twitter: ‘Deeply saddened to know about the demise of veteran filmmaker & a dear friend Shri #TRamaRao ji. I had the privilege of working with him in #AakhriRaasta and #Sansaar.’

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