Penupatruni Adinarayana Rao (1915–1991), also known as P. Adinarayana Rao was a Telugu music director, film producer, lyricist and play writer.
He co-founded “Aswini Pictures” with Akkineni Nageswara Rao and produced some movies in Telugu and Tamil. Later, he produced several blockbuster Telugu movies under his own production house, Anjali Pictures, named after his actress wife, Anjali Devi. He also composed and produced music for several Tamil and Hindi movies.
According to the music critic V. A. K. Rangarao,
“Adinarayana Rao is credited for introducing Hindustani music in contemporary flavour and simplified orchestration, and thereby impressing both laymen audience as well cognoscenti. It is this music that survives him enthralling all the music lovers”.
Memorable music compositions from Rao are: “Rajasekhara Neepai Moju Theera Leduraa” in the movie Anarkali released in 1955, “Piluvakuraa Alugakuraa” in the movie Suvarna Sundari released in 1957, “Telugu Veera Levaraa Deeksha Booni Sagara” and “Vastaadu Naraju” in the movie Alluri Seetarama Raju released in 1974 and all songs including “Ghana Ghana Sundara” in Bhakta Tukaram, released in 1973.
Music directors such as Satyam, Totakura Venkata Raju and Lakshmikant-Pyarelal honed their skills by working under him as assistant directors.
Adinarayana Rao was born in 1915 in Kakinada of East Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh to Penupatruni Krishnayya Goud and Penupatruni Anasuya. He completed his matriculation in Kakinada.
He started his film career, as a child artiste at the age of six, under Rajarajeswari Naatya Mandali’s baton playing the roles of mythological characters such as “Narada” and “Savitri”. Later, he studied classical music under Patrayani Sitaramsastry in Saluru. By age of 12, he played many musical instruments and had shown his talent in both music as a composer, and on stage as a playwright.
He was well known in Kakinada theatre circle, with plays like Black Market, Vasanta Sena and Veedhi Gaayakulu, with which he still continued after entering the film industry and was affectionately given a nickname “Abbayi Garu”. The play Street Singers written by him was admired, and his wife Anjali Devi received a Gold medal and a citation from Sir Arthur Hope, then governor of the Madras Presidency in 1943. He fine-tuned his skills to become a well known artiste while working under the ‘Burmah Shell Amateurs Troupe’, through the famous ‘Young Mens Happy Club’, which produced stalwarts from the Telugu film industry like Relangi Venkata Ramaiah, S. V. Ranga Rao, Gandikota Jagannatham and Anjali Devi. Here he met his future wife Anjali Devi.