The Hindu, 28 June 2005
HYDERABAD: Veteran character artiste of Telugu cinema with a flair for comedy, Sakshi Ranga Rao, passed away after a prolonged illness in Chennai on Monday evening. He was 63 and is survived by wife, two sons and a daughter.
With several memorable performances to his credit, be it the guilt-ridden aide, `Topalam' of Sankara Sastry in `Sankarabharanam' or the harassed husband of an over devout wife in `Swarnakamalam,' Rao had etched out an inimitable name for himself among Telugu filmgoers.
Rao, who began his film career with Bapu's 1960 film, `Sakshi' from which he derived his screen name, had the unique distinction of acting in most of the films made by quintessential Telugu filmmakers, K. Vishwanath, Bapu and Vamsi. In all, he acted in about 450 films.
Working as a stenographer in Andhra University, he pursued his passion, theatre arts, and was renowned for his poignant roles, particularly in `Kanaka Pushyaraagam'. But, it was in comic roles that he found his footing in the film world, `Sirivennela', `Swarnakamalam', `April 1 Vidudhala', `Joker' to name a few. His last film was also with K. Vishwanath, `Swarabhishekam,' that was released a few months ago.
Incidentally, it was on stage that Rao collapsed on May 5 during a rehearsal for the Gurazada play, `Kanyasulkam'. He was admitted to hospital and was on the recovery path when the end came. He leaves behind scores of lovers of good cinema and more importantly, healthy comedy in films.
The Chief Minister, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, conveyed his condolences to the bereaved family members. The TDP president, N. Chandrababu Naidu, expressed grief at the passing away of Ranga Rao.