Pic: Noted Bollywood hero of yester years and Dadasaheb Phalke award winner Paidi Jairaj who hails from Karimnagar
Who is the first Telugu speaking film personality to gain super star status in Indian cinema? Some might say ANR or NTR, or others who have a much more interest in movies, acknowledge Chittor Nagaiah.
Quite obviously, these are the usual names everyone takes due to the fact that Telugu cinema personality is synonymous with people from Coastal Andhra or Rayalaseema. On the contrary, it’s a personality from Telangana, Mr.Paidi Jairaj who actually is the first Telugu speaking personality to gain stardom.
Jairaj was born in Karimnagar on September 28, 1909 and received his initial education in Hyderabad. He later on moved to Bombay at the age of 20 and went on to act in silent English movies much before the first Indian talkie “Alam Ara” was made.
Interestingly, he started his career in English movies and later acted in Hindi and Urdu movies. He was the undisputed action hero of his times and portrayed characters like Tipu Sultan, Prithviraj Chouhan and Chandrashekar Azad. His well built body, his acting and speech skills put him in the league of contemporary stars like Prithviraj Kapoor and V.Shantaram. He played lead roles opposite the legendary Devika Rani and Meena Kumari.
Being ambitious and multi talented he directed movies and even produced some. His mutli lingual skills helped him act in some Marathi and Gujarathi movies.
Owing to his contribution, the Indian government honoured with the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke award in 1980. Unfortunately, The Telugu film industry which celebrated when these awards were given to personalities like BN Reddy, ANR or Ramanaidu, never ever mentioned the name of super star from Telangana.
Even during the celebrations of 75 years of Telugu film industry, everybody lauded LV Prasad (who actually started his career in Hindi movies), but conveniently forgot to even mention Jairaj’s name.
Unfortunately, Jairaj has not acted in any Telugu films.
Today (August 11) is the death anniversary of this unsung hero. He died in the year 2000 at the age of 90.
Though the so-called Telugu film personalities of Seemandhra blow trumpets about stars and super stars, the fact that Jairaj was the pioneer of stardom still remains. And his career graph is a befitting reply to all those who misconceive that Telangana does not have any film personalities.
– By: Thirmal Reddy Sunkari
Watch a news report on Paidi Jairaj: