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Saluru Rajeswara Rao
Also known as Saluri Rajeswara Rao
Born 1922
Origin Sivaramapuram, Vizianagaram district, Andhra Pradesh, India.
Died October 25, 1999
Genres Actor, Singer, Music composer
Occupations Music composer
Instruments Harmonium
Years active 1934-1986

Saluru Rajeswara Rao (Telugu: సాలూరు రాజేశ్వరరావు) (1922 – 25 October 1999) was a Music composer for South Indian films.

He was born in Sivaramapuram village near Salur in Vizianagaram district (erstwhile Srikakulam district), Andhra Pradesh, India. His father, Sanyasi Raju, was a famous mridangam player for the concerts of Dwaram Venkataswamy Naidu and was also a lyricist.


Early career

His tryst with cinema came unexpectedly in the form of a talent-scouting Huchins Recording Company to his native place Vizianagaram in 1934. A child prodigy, he could identify the Carnatic music ragams at the tender age of four and by the time he was seven, he started giving stage performances. Huchins spotted "master" Rajeswara Rao and took him to Bangalore along with his father. They recorded "Bhagawat Gita" in Rajeswara Rao's voice. P.V.Das and Gudavalli Ramabramham, Film Producers, visited Bangalore, and impressed by his singing ability, brought him to Madras. They cast him as Lord Krishna in their "Sri Krishna Leelalu" in 1934. The film was released the next year (1935) and Rajeshwara Rao became a household name all over Andhra Pradesh. Later he played the role of "Abhimanyu" in "Maya Bazar"(1936).

He went to Calcutta (now Kolkata) to act in "Keechaka Vadha". He met such stalwarts as Kundan Lal Saigal and Pankaj Mullick.[citation needed] He became a disciple of Saigal and learned Hindustani music for a year. He also learnt to play the sitar and the surbahar. He had already mastered playing the tabla, dholak, and miridangam, later the piano, harmonium, mandolin and the electric guitar too. He learnt orchestration and how to mix the sounds of different instruments.

Music Director

He returned to Madras in 1938 and formed his own music troupe. He worked as assistant to Jayaramayyar for a Tamil film "Vishnuleela" in which he also played the role of 'Balarama' and sang his own songs. He became a full-fledged music director with "Jayaprada". He continued with his acting in "Balanagamma" and "Illalu" in which he acted opposite his famous singing partner, Rao Balasaraswati Devi.

When He entered the industry there was no playback system. The Actors used to sing and act at the same time with the orchestra in the background unseen by the camera. While he was doing "Illalu" the playback system had come into vogue.

Rajeswara Rao showed thru his private records how light music should be set in Telugu films. "Thummeda Oka saari", "Kopamela Radha", "Podarintilona", "Rave Rave Koyila", "Challa Gaalilo" "Paata Paduma Krishna" all of which his father has written. Rajeshwara Rao, through these songs, set a new trend in light music in Telugu.

Rajeswara Rao's most rewarding assignments came from Gemini, which he joined in 1940 and lasted for a decade. After leaving Gemini, he got an offer to provide music for B. N. Reddy's "Malleeswari" (1950). It was a sensational music hit. Then came "Vipranarayana", "Missamma" and a host of other musical hits, more than a hundred of them in Telugu and Tamil and a few in Kannada. When Vijaya's "Missamma" (originally a Telugu film) was made into "Miss Mary" in Hindi, Hemant Kumar provided the music. He changed all the tunes, but retained one - "Brindavanamadi Andaridi" which Hemantha liked so much that he took permission to retain it in the Hindi version - an instance of one master's tribute to another.

Among the classical ragas, Rajeswara Rao likes Bhimplas (Abheri), Sindhu Bhairavi, Kafi, Kalyani, Pahad, and Malkauns (Hindolam), which he has used most in his songs.

His two assistants for over four decades Rajagopal and Krishnan, both well versed in classical music, have proved an asset to him. s-rao-p

Family Members

Music flows in Salur Rajeswara Rao's family. His elder brother Salur Hanumantha Rao was a music director in the Kannada and Telugu film industry. Salur Rajeswara Rao was married to Rajeswari Devi and the couple were blessed with five sons and four daughters. His eldest son, Salur Ramalingeswara Rao was a well—known piano and electric organ player in the South India. His second son, Salur Poornachandra Rao was a popular guitarist. His third and fourth sons, Salur Vasu Rao and Salur Koteswara Rao (Koti) are well-known music directors in Telugu film industry. Salur Vasu Rao has preferred to go it alone on the lines of his father's melody and Koti has formed a team with Somaraju (son of veteran music director T.V.Raju) and the duo is popularly known as Raj-Koti, who have composed music for almost 500 movies in Telugu, Tamil & Kannada. Salur Rajeswara Rao's fifth son Salur Koti Durga Prasad is not associated with the film industry. All his four daughters are well placed.


Movies Acted and/or Composed Music

He acted in few films like Sri Krishna Leelalu (1935), Maya Bazaar (1936), Jayaprada (1939) and illalu (1940)

He composed music to some popular and very successful and memorable Telugu movies like:

  • Jayaprada (1939),
  • Chandralekha (1948),
  • Illalu (1940),
  • Apavadu (1941),
  • Bala Nagamma (1942),
  • Chenchu Lakshmi (1943),
  • Bhishma (1944),
  • Paaduka Pattabhishekam (1945),
  • Ratna Mala (1947),
  • Vindya Rani (1948),
  • Aahuti (1950),
  • Apurva Sahodarulu (1950),
  • Mangala (1951),
  • Malleswari (1951),
  • Navvite Navaratnalu (1951),
  • Priyuralu (1952),
  • Pempudu Koduku (1953),
  • Raju Peda (1954),
  • Vipra Narayana (1954),
  • Missamma (1955),
  • Bhale Ramudu (1956),
  • Charana Dasi (1956),
  • Maya Bazaar (1957),
  • Chenchu Lakshmi (1958),
  • Appu Chesi Pappu Koodu (1959),
  • Bhakta Jayadeva (1961),
  • Iddaru Mitrulu (1961),
  • Bharya Bhartalu (1961),
  • Bhishma (1962),
  • Aaradhana (1962),
  • Chaduvukunna Ammayilu (1963),
  • Puja Phalam (1964)
  • Bobbili Yuddham (1964),
  • Manchi Manishi (1964),
  • Amara Shilpi Jakkana (1964),
  • Mairavana (1964),
  • Doctor Chakravarti (1964),
  • Desa Drohulu (1964),
  • Dorikite Dongalu (1965),
  • Palnati Yuddham (1966),
  • Chilaka Gorinka (1966)
  • Sangita Lakshmi (1966),
  • Aatma Gauravam (1966),
  • Pula Rangadu (1967),
  • Bhakta Prahlada (1967),
  • Vasanta Sena (1967),
  • Bangaru Panjaram (1968),
  • Aatmiyulu (1969),
  • Aadarsa Kutumbam (1969),
  • Chitti Chellelu (1970),
  • Pavitra Bandham (1971),
  • Amayakuralu (1971),
  • Bala Bharatam (1972),
  • Kalam Marindi (1972)
  • Yashoda Krishna (1975)
  • Chakradhari (1976),
  • Kurukshetram (1977),
  • Radhakrishna (1978)
  • Tandra Paparayudu (1986)

Visits Abroad

He visited United States of America and Performed in Telugu Association of North America meeting and Telugu Literary and Cultural Association (TLCA) in 1981.


  • S. Rajeswara Rao, Trend-Setter in Light Music by M.L. Narasimham published in The Hindu on 12 March 1993.[1]


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