Renowned Telugu actor Chiranjeevi presented the Akkineni Nageswara Rao (ANR) National Award to veteran actors Sridevi (posthumous) and Rekha during a function at Annapurna Seven Acres.
Instituted by the Akkineni International Foundation, the award is presented annually to celebrities to honour their decade-long contribution to the Indian cinema.
In her acceptance speech, Rekha recalled her association with ANR. “Annapurna Studios is like my home production and it feels good to have received this honour alongside Sridevi, who is my little sister and an actor par excellence. I did a Telugu film titled Amma Kosam for my mother. And now, I’m here to thank another one of my mothers, Annapurna Studios.”
The 65-year-old actor, who made her acting debut as a child artiste in the Telugu film Inti Guttu (1958), expressed her desire to make a comeback in Telugu cinema. “I want to do a Telugu film soon. And to get the fluency in the language, I think, I have to hone my speaking skills -- akin to how Sridevi used to deliver her dialogues effortlessly,” says Rekha.
Terming ANR an encyclopedia of acting, the chief guest of the evening, Chiranjeevi shared: “He (ANR) has been an inspiration to us all. My mother was an ardent admirer of ANR Garu and I look up to him as my (guru) mentor. I’m glad to have shared screen space with him in Mechanic Alludu (1993). I feel fortunate to present this prestigious award to legendary personalities like Rekha. Sridevi may have gone too soon, but she made a lasting impact with her talent on our hearts.”
Industrialist T Subbarami Reddy, ANR’s son and actor Nagarjuna Akkineni, other members of the Akkineni family and prominent members of the Indian film industry were present at the glittering ceremony.