Bhanumathi Ramakrishna was a renowned Indian actress, singer, writer, prolific director and music director. She was very versatile. She was born on 7th September 1925, in Doddavaran, Prakasam District, Andhra Pradesh, India. She grew up watching her father perform in various stage shows. Her father, Venkata subbiah, was a staunch lover of classical music and trained her in music since her early years.
She is considered to be the first female star of Telugu cinema, who is also known for her work in the Tamil Cinema. Bhanumathi debuted as an actress in 1939 in a Telugu film titled Vara Vikrayam as Kalindi (a 13 year old girl who is forced to marry an old man and ended her life by committing suicide). Vara Vikrayam was directed by C. Pullaiah. And, later she appeared in >200 Tamil and Telugu Films. She was given the title of Ashtavadhani by the film industry because of her multi-talented personality.
She is known for her work on Chandirani (1953), Bamma Maata Bangaru Baata (1990) & Chakrapani (1954).
In 1953, she made her directorial debut with Chandirani (made simultaneously in Tamil, Telugu & Hindi). Her last film was made in 1998, entitled Pelli Kanuka. C. N. Annadurai titled her Nadippukku Ilakkanam, affectionately.
She was married to P.S. Ramakrishna Rao, who was a Director & Producer of Telugu and Tamil Films. They tied the knot on 8th August 1943.
Besides being a great actress, she was an exceptionally fine singer and a much-appreciated writer, director, producer, music director, and editor. She was the first female studio owner of India. Bhanumathi was an active social worker and was associated with several charitable organizations. She had written a number of short stories to her credit. Her autobiography Nalo Nenu was published in Telugu and later, released in English as Musings. The Andhra Pradesh Sahitya Academy awarded her as the “Best short story writer” for her popular short stories Attagari Kathalu. She was a Member of Lalit Kala Academy for 5 years, and in Sahitya Academy, Andhra Pradesh for 10 years. She served as Director and Principal of the Tamil Nadu Government Music College.
She was the founder of Dr. Bhanumathi Ramakrishna Matriculation School, which is an educational institution in Chennai.
She was the recipient of several national awards like the Padma Bhushan Award (2001), Padma Shri Award (1966) etc.
This legendary artist, who had won millions of hearts with her creativity & work, took her last breath on December 24, 2005, in Chennai, Tamilnadu, India.