It’s an uncanny connection between reel and real life. Lanchavataram (personification of corruption) is a Telugu movie released in 1985. Film director-turned-politician Dasari Narayana Rao had directed and played the lead role in the hard-hitting movie that consolidated his reputation as one of the best in the business in Tollywood.
Today, almost 27 years later, the same Dasari is getting sucked into the raging coal scam for his role as the union minister of state for coal in UPA-1. Friends of Dasari, particularly those in the film fraternity dismiss rumours and reports circulating in the media about his involvement in the coal scam. Dasari is seen as the godfather of Tollywood and every controversial issue is taken to his notice for resolution.
Born on May 4, 1947 at Palakol in West Godavari district, Dasari first entered Tollywood as a director and went on to don many hats, including that of an actor, lyricist, dialogue writer and screenplay. In all, he has directed 150 movies, a World Record. Besides, he produced 53 films and worked in over 250 as a dialogue writer and lyricist.
When the Telugu film industry moved to Hyderabad from Chennai, Dasari started the long overdue employees union, covering all the sections and sectors in Tollywood. Though he is no longer active in the industry, he is behind the plan to construct a model colony for 5,000 film employees at Hyderabad.
Dasari had also dabbled in journalism at one point and launched Udayam, a Telugu daily. As editor and publisher of Udayam, he ran it successfully for several years and gave Eenadu, the leading daily in Andhra Pradesh, a run for its money. More than that, his thought-provoking editorials earned the paper credibility within a short span of time. Dasari took an active role in electioneering for the Congress. But after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, he felt he was being distanced in the Congress.
However, he was sent to the Rajya Sabha by the Congress in April 2000.
He was a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology and consultative committee member in South Central Railways. In May, 2004 Dasari was made Union Minister of State for Coal and Mines. Later, he became inactive in Congress politics, as he had differences with the then chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy.