Date of Birth: December 31, 1928
Padma Bhushan
Title of Kala Vachaspath,Title of Kalaimamani,Title of Kala Prapoorna
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Kongara Jaggayya
Born December 31, 1928(1928-12-31)
Tenali, Guntur district, AP, India
August 5, 2004(2004-08-05) (aged 75)
Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
Other names Kalavachaspati, Kanchu Kantam
Occupation Actor, Dubbing Artist, Literaute, Journalist, Poet

Kongara Jaggayya (Telugu: కొంగర జగ్గయ్య) (31 December 1928 – 5 August 2004; also transliterated as Jaggaiah) was a multi-faceted personality and Indian Film Actor from Andhra Pradesh, India, Tollywood and Theater . He was popularly known as "Kanchu Kantam" Jaggayya (Telugu: Kanchu=bronze; Kantam=voice) for his booming voice.

Awards and honours

* Padma Bhushan, Indias third highest civilian award from the Government of India in 1992.
* Title of Kala Vachaspathi from the Sanskrit Viswa Vidyalaya, Delhi.
* Honorary D. Litt. from the Telugu University, Hyderabad.
* Title of Kalaimamani from Tamil Nadu government.
* Title of Kala Prapoorna from Andhra University, Visakhapatnam.
* Padandi Munduku (Literal translation: Let's go forward), a film produced by him, won Rs. 50,000/- cash award from the Government of Andhra Pradesh.

Early life

Jaggayya was born in a well-to-do family in Morampudi village near Tenali in Guntur district. He started acting at the age of 11, with the role of Lava in a Hindi play. As a student, he joined the Congress party in Tenali, which was involved in the Indian Independence Movement at that time. After his school education, he joined a periodical named Desabhimani (meaning "Patriot") as a journalist. Later he worked as an editor for the weekly Andhra Republic. He joined the Andhra-Christian College in Guntur for his higher studies, where N. T. Rama Rao, another famous actor (in his later days) also happened to study at the same time. Both of them acted together in several plays; Jaggayya won the best actor award in three successive years. He got trained in the art of painting under the guidance of Adivi Bapiraju, a famous painter. After working as a teacher for a brief while, he became a news reader in Telugu at the All India Radio for three years in New Delhi.
In films

He debuted in movies with the role of the hero in Tripuraneni Gopichand's Priyuralu (lover-girl). However, this and his subsequent movies did not do well. He came back into reckoning when two of his successive movies, Ardhangi and Bangaru Paapa did very well. He was very active in Telugu films from 1950s to 1970s and later, acted occasionally till his death. He played several roles such as hero, second lead, comedian and villain in several movies.


The reverting voice of Jaggayya filled theatres paleing the dialogue rendition of others into insignificance. He was distinguished for his voice and gave voice-over (dubbed) in almost 100 films. He gave his voice to Sivaji Ganesan in many Telugu movies that the latter acted in, apart from being the voice for his movies dubbed from Tamil. He also dubbed for Richard Attenborough's character of Hammond in the Telugu-dubbed version of the film Jurassic Park.

He was given the title 'Kala Vachaspathi' (Vachaspathi= Lord of Speech) for his remarkable and sonorous voice. His baritone voice is unique and no one can imitate or even come close to it. He is totally identified with his voice. So much so that, when he had some problem with his speech, he stopped acting in films. He said that he could not imagine anyone else dubbing for him. If he cannot dub for his role, then there is no point in doing the role, was his argument.

In politics

Jaggayya was active in politics right from his student days and was allied with the socialist group within the Congress party. When the group was disbanded, he joined Jayaprakash Narayan's Praja Socialist Party, but returned to Congress in 1956, heeding the call of Jawaharlal Nehru. In 1967, he was elected as a member of the fourth Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Parliament of India from the constituency of Ongole on a Congress Party ticket. He was the first Indian film actor to be elected as a member of parliament.

Literary achievements

He translated Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore's Geetanjali into Telugu under the name Ravindra Geetha. He also translated Tagore's play "Sacrifice" into Telugu under the name Balidaanam.