HYDERABAD: Family and fans of thespian Akkineni Nageshwara Rao bid a tearful farewell to the actor on Thursday. The funeral was performed with state honours with a 21-gun salute by the Andhra Pradesh Special Police.
The APSP fired three times in the air as the funeral pyre was lit by ANR's sons Nagarjuna, Venkat helped by some of the grandchildren, including Supriya at the Annapurna Studios. The 90-year-old Dada Saheb Phalke award winner had died on Wednesday due to cancer.
Practically the entire film industry was present at the cremation which took place at 2.58 pm with the lighting of the funeral pyre. ANR's heroine of many films, Sridevi, who lives in Mumbai flew down to pay her last respects to the departed actor.
Since early Wednesday morning, the body of Nageshwara Rao was kept at the Annapurna Studios, the studio he founded, at Banjara Hills.
Thousands of people filed past the body to pay their last respects to ANR. After 11am on Thursday, the body was taken in a flower-bedecked van to the AP Film Chamber of Commerce at Filmnagar where several film personalities including well-known producer and Dada Saheb Phalke awardee D Rama Naidu, Movie Artistes Association (MAA) president Murali Mohan and scores of others from the film fraternity paid their respects.
The body was once again taken in a procession from the film chamber to the Annapurna Studios where the cremation took place.
ANR's son Akkineni Nagarjuna who could not control his emotions as he wept openly at the funeral on Thursday. He was overcome by emotion as he carried the funeral pyre of his father along with ANR's grandchildren including Suman, Naga Chaitanya, Sushanth and Akhil.
The family intended to perform the cremation at the Erragadda cremation grounds but at the instance of the film industry decided to do it at the sprawling Annapurna studios itself so that a memorial also could be built for ANR at the site.
Among those who were present at the funeral included union minister of state for tourism K Chiranjeevi, minister Danam Nagendar, Dasari Narayana Rao, Adiseshagiri Rao, Muralimohan, Ali, Venkatesh, former chief minister Nadendla Bhaskara Rao, Krishnam Raju, K Raghavendra Rao, T Subbarami Reddy, Dil Raju, Sridevi, Jr NTR, Nannapaneni Rajakumari, several directors, producers and artistes.