Scholar, dancer, film historian, book reviewer, art critic and orator-- Venkata Anandakumara Krishna Ranga Rao is a man of many interests. His love for cinema is more about film facts and documentation, rather than just watching films or reading about it. Born to Ravu Janardana Krishna Ranga Rao, zamindar of Chikkavaram and Saraswathi Devi, Ranga Rao has been associated with music, since he was a kid. His prized possession is a collection of 42,000 records of 78rpm gramaphone in forty national and international languages. “I was four, when I used to play with my mother’s gramophone records. Coming from a royal family, she also used to play the veena,” he says.
And how did he get involved in dance? His devotion to dance was nurtured by two Devadasis Gaddibhukta Sitaram at Bobbili and Saride Lakshminarasamma of Vijayanagaram. “I used to learn dance movements from her. I often perform at a few temples and also conduct orientation classes in dance,” he replies.
After having contributed his bit to almost every field, Ranga Rao says he can only read, but is not educated. “I never studied with an aim to pass exams. I studied to learn and everything was learning was a process of osmosis for me,” he explains.
He wrote a number of essays on subjects of his interest in leading dailies and his very popular column in a vernacular brought him into the limelight. It was perhaps the only column to have run for a period of 226 weeks. All his columns were compiled and published in a book, “Alapana”, which he claims is perhaps a first of its kind. About 1000 copies of Alapana, the first volume of the book were sold in the first 14 months.
His obsession for films also made him very particular about checking facts in every book he came across. “I found over 150 errors in the Alanati Chalana Chitralu and errors in three English books. One of them being the Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema, a publication of the Oxford University Press, British Film Institute and National Film Archive of India,” he informs.
His second compilation of essays, Maro Alapana, is all set to be launched today at the Sunshine Hospital Auditorium, at 6 pm. The show will be presided over by Padma Bhushan KI Varaprasad Reddy and the book will be reviewed by Prof. Dr C Mrinalini.