K. Raghavendra Rao (Kovelamudi Raghavendra Rao), popularly known as Darshakendra, is an Indian Film Director, ScreenWriter and Choreographer, known for his works predominantly in Telugu cinema, few Bollywood and Kannada films. He has garnered seven state Nandi Awards, four Filmfare Awards South, and two CineMAA Awards. Rao has directed films across multiple genres like romantic comedy, fantasy, melodrama, action and romance films.He achieved national fame when he directed 2 superhit Hindi films with Rajesh Khanna in the lead – Naya Kadam and Masterji.
Raghavendra Rao is the son of late Kovelamudi Surya Prakash Rao who was also a famous Film Director who made super hit movies like Prem Nagar, etc. Mr. Rao started his career, working under his father. Rao is the father of actor turned film maker Prakash Kovelamudi. Raghavendra Rao is an executive member in the Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam Board.
The 1988 action film, Aakhari Poratam, was premiered at the 12th International Film Festival of India in the mainstream section.In 1992, he directed the melodrama Gharana Mogudu, premiered at the 1993 International Film Festival of India in the mainstream section, which became the first Telugu film to gross over ₹ 10 crore at the box office. Next he directed the instant hit Allari Priyudu, which was also premiered at the 1994 International Film Festival of India in the mainstream section.
In 1997, he scripted and directed the historical biographical film, Annamayya which won two National Film Awards, was also premiered at the 1998 International Film Festival of India in the mainstream section. Subsequently he directed, critically acclaimed devotional films like ‘Sri Manjunatha’ (2001), ‘Sri Ramadasu’ (2006), ‘Pandurangadu’ (2008), and ‘Shirdi Sai’ (2013), which received several state Nandi Awards.
Raghavendra Rao has directed commercial films and devotional films throughout his career. He is also known for portraying navel in a sensuous manner. Legendary Telugu actor & director Dasari Narayana Rao had once commented, “When you see a heroine slightly removing her pallu to show her inside assets, you don’t feel ashamed of it because of the artistic way in which Ragahvendra Rao projects it on the screen. Especially heroines’ navels look most beautiful in his movies.”
K. Raghavendra Rao is currently working on ‘Om Namo Venkatesaya’ with Nagarjuna Akkineni and Anushka Shetty.