A major director and producer in Telugu cinema, Ghantasala Balaramaiah is primarily remembered for introducing Akkineni Nageshwara Rao. But being active in the film industry since the 30’s, his contributions run much deeper.
Born in 1906 in Pottepalem village, he made his name as a theatre actor in the 20’s. One of his major roles was playing Bhakta Ramadasu in the production Ramadasu directed by his brother Radhakrishnaiah. In 1936 he helped found Shri Rama Films with financial backing from rich zamindars of Nellore. The first film produced under the banner was Sati Tulasi (1936). He also produced Markandeya (1938) and Mahiravana (1940) for Studio Kubera Pictures. His directoral debut came after the establishment of Pratibha Film with Parvati Kalyanam (1941). Garuda Garvabhangam (1943) was a Burrakatha-inspired mythological tale. The debut of future superstar A Nageshwara Rao came with Seeta Rama Jananam (1942). A subsequent commercial success was the A Nageshwara Rao and Anjali Devi starrerSwapna Sundari (1950). The form of mythological established by these films, proved to be hugely influential, inspiring the likes of K V Reddy and N T Rama Rao. Other notable films were the action-packed fantasy Balaraju(1948), Sri Lakshmamma Katha (1950), and Chinnakodalu (1952).
Ghantasala Balaramaiah passed away in 1953.