HYDERABAD: Theatre personality Rekander Nageswar Rao, popularly known as Surabhi Babji, passed away here on Thursday. He was 72. Born in the Surabhi theatre family in Gimidi Peta in Srikakulam of Andhra Pradesh, Babji took charge of the Sri Venkateswara Natya Mandali in 1973.
He received the Padma Shri in 2013, the first for a theatre artiste. Babji directed major plays Lavakusa, Srikrishna Leelalu, Veera Brahmam Gari Charitra, Balanagamma and Jai Pathala Bhairavi. Babji also assisted BV Karanth, a renowned Kannada director, in a play, Chandi Priya. Mourning his death, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said Babji’s death was an irreparable loss to the theatre art form.