L. V. Prasad Story

Imperial had to retrench people and Prasad was left jobless. Things had not improved for him in the past 8 years, but for some acting, a little bit of assistance in directing and some odd roles. He decided to leave Bombay with his family to his native place with an intention of raising some funds from known people and start his own production company. This did not work. One day when he was desperate, a telegram came from H.M.Reddy to act in Rohini Pictures Grihalakshmi. He left for Madras and life changed. He made impact in H.M.Reddy’s Tenali Ramakrishna and Gharana Dhonga. World War II was at its peak and the Japanese bombed Madras forcing many to migrate. H.M.Reddy left for Pune with his family and Prasad had to return to his native place. He was deeply depressed now since he found himself a misfit for any job other than cinema. Tantra Subrahmanyam assigned him a job of a production supervisor and assistant director for the film ‘Kashta Jeevi’ which took him to Bombay again. The film was abandoned after shooting three reels. Prasad was in no mood to leave now and he got a job as assistant director in a few other films. During this time using his connections with Prithviraj Kapoor he joined Prithvi Theatres and satisfied his acting passion. It was during this time that he met Raj Kapoor, the hero of his first Hindi production 'Sharada'. Though L.V.Prasad was now comfortable the yearning to achieve greater heights made him restless.

In 1943 he got the opportunity to take on the responsibility of assistant director for Gruha Pravesham. Due to circumstances he became the director of the film and then he was also chosen as the hero of the film! Gruha Pravesham, released in 1946 was one of the finest films of the forties and went on to become a classic of the period. After this K.S.Prakasha Rao offered Prasad an important role in ‘Drohi’. During this time Ramabrahmam was facing difficulty in finishing his film ‘Palnatti Yudhdham’ due to ill health and he chose Prasad to do justice to this film. After this in 1949, Prasad directed Mana Desam and introduced N.T.Rama Rao, later to become a legend in telugu cinema, in a minor role.

In 1950 Vijaya Pictures released their first film ‘Shavukkaru’ establishing L.V.Prasad as a great director. N.T.Rama Rao became a hero in Shavukkaru and Janaki the heroine, climbed to fame to become known as ‘Shavukkar Janaki’. Samsaram released in the same year brought together the two legends of the telugu film industry as brothers – N.T.Rama Rao and A.Nageswara Rao in a social drama which created records wherever it was released. The film provided a model for later film makers, a model and theme relevant and popular amongst film makers even today. After this success chased him. He directed some memorable films in the fifties all of them known for their drama and fine humour. ‘Rani’ a hindi film took him to Bombay again and after that Jupiter Films engaged L.V.Prasad to direct their Magnum Opus Manohara starring the legendary Shivaji Ganesan in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi. This film elevated Shivaji Ganesan to the greatest heights of stardom. In the mid fifties the industrialist in L.V.Prasad came into being and he purchased a plot offered by Ranganadhadas to start building his own studio. The combined pressure of building the studio and directing films started telling on his health and in 1955 he suffered from a bout of sciatica. Though he recovered sufficiently, his decision to return immediately to his duties, against the doctor’s advice, resulted in prolonged treatment and diet restrictions till the end.

But L.V.Prasad had more goals to achieve. In 1955 he assigned D.Yoganand to direct his first production ‘Ilavelpu’ in Telugu under the banner Lakshmi Productions. L.V.Prasad established Prasad Productions soon after this in 1956. His second son Ramesh returned from the US after obtaining his B.E.M.S degree and established Prasad Film Labs in Chennai in 1974. Prasad Productions made many memorable box office hits including Milan, Khilona, Sasural and Ek Duuje Ke Liye. L.V.Prasad contributed generously towards theestablishment of L.V.Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, which is today, one the foremost eye research institutes in the world. The efforts started by him in 1956 is today one of the largest infrastructure for feature film post production in India with facilities and offices in India, Singapore, Dubai and Hollywood.

During his lifetime L.V.Prasad held many posts and won many awards. In 1982 came the crowning glory of his lifetime – the Dada Saheb Phalke award from the Government of India, the highest recognition in Filmdom in India.