K. Raghavendra Rao full name Kovelamudi Raghavendra Rao, popularly known as Darshakendra, is an Indian film director, screenwriter, and choreographer, known primarily for his works in Telugu cinema, with few Bollywood and Kannada movies.
He has received seven Nandi Awards, four South Filmfare Awards, and two CineMAA Awards. Raghavendra Rao has directed films across a variety of genres, including romantic comedy, fantasy, melodrama, action, and romance.
He gained national prominence by directing 2 super-hit Hindi films with Rajesh Khanna in the lead-Naya Kadam and Masterji. The 1988 action film, Aakhari Poratam, was showcased in the popular segment of the 12th International Film Festival of India.
In 1992, he was directed the melodrama Gharana Mogudu, premiered in the mainstream section at the 1993 Indian International Film Festival, which became the first Telugu movie at the box office to gross over 10 crores.
Next, he was directed the instant hit Allari Priyudu, which was also premiered in the mainstream section at the 1994 Indian International Film Festival. In 1997 he wrote and directed the historical biographical film, Annamayya, which won two National Film Awards, also premiered in the mainstream section at the 1998 Indian International Film Festival.
He later directed, critically acclaimed devotional films such as Sri Manjunatha (2001), Sri Ramadasu (2006), Pandurangadu (2008), and Shirdi Sai (2013), which won multiple state Nandi Awards.
Mr. Raghavendra Rao is the son of the late Kovelamudi Surya Prakash Rao who was also a famous film director who made super-hit films like Prem Nagar, etc. Mr Raghavendra Rao started his career and worked under his father.
Throughout his career Raghavendra Rao directed commercial films and devotional films. He is often known for his sensuous depiction of navel. Once commented the legendary Telugu actor and director Dasari Narayana Rao, "When you see a heroine removing her pallu slightly to expose her inside riches, you don't feel ashamed of it because of the creative way Ragahvendra Rao projects it on the screen. Particularly the navels of heroines look the most beautiful in his films."
Life time contribution to Indian cinema (2009) - B. N. Reddy National Award
Annamayya (1998) - Nandi Award for Best Director
Annamayya (1998) - Nandi Award for Best Feature Film (director)
Pelli Sandadi (1996) - Nandi Award for Best Choreographer
Pelli Sandadi (1996) - Nandi Award for Best Director
Allari Priyudu (1994) - Nandi Award for Best Director
Bobbili Brahmanna (1984) - Nandi Award for Best Director
Filmfare Awards South:
Prema Lekhalu (1977) - Filmfare Best Director Award (Telugu)
Jagadeka Veerudu Athiloka Sundari (1990) - Filmfare Best Director Award (Telugu)
Allari Priyudu (1993) - Filmfare Best Director Award (Telugu)
South (2002) - Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award
(2014) SIIMA Lifetime Achievement Award
(2012) - CineMAA Award for Life Time Contribution
Shirdi Sai(2013) - CineMAA Awards for Best Film (Jury)
(2016) Allu Ramalingaiah Award