He is one of the most prominent figures in Telegu, helping the industry to base its production from Hyderabad. Apart from being a Telegu superstar, he was also a prolific writer. Some of his best works in Telugu cinema are Tenali Rama Krishna, Devdas, Maya Bazaar, Missamma, Muga and others.
The ANR National Award was instituted by the Akkineni International Foundation in the honour of Akkineni Nageswara Rao in 2005 to recognize people for their lifetime achievements and contributions to the Indian film industry.
He was a prominent Indian film actor and producer, predominantly in the Telugu cinema. From paddy fields, he strode into the field of fine arts through theatre. He became a famous stage artiste, specialising, surprisingly, in playing female characters, because women at that time were prohibited from acting.
Some of the famous plays he acted in were Harishchandra, Kanakatara, Vipranarayana, Telugu Talli, Aasajyoti and Satyanveshanam. Subsequently, he was discovered, by chance, by the then prominent film producer, Ghantasala Balaramaiah, at the Vijayawada railway station.