Bhanumati is a popular film actress, director, music director, singer, producer, book writer and songs writer. Most of her works are in Telugu and Tamil languages. She was born on 7th Sep, 1925 at Doddavaram, AP as third child to Saraswatamma and Bommaraju Venkata Subbaiah. Bhanumati ( means ‘shining like the sun’ in Sanskrit).
During the shooting of the film Krishna Prema, she met P. S. Ramakrishna Rao, an assistant director for that film. He was a film producer, director and editor of Telugu and Tamil Films. The couple later married on 8 August 1943 and later launched a popular production company, Bharani Pictures on their son's name.
She died at the age of 80 years in Chennai on 24th Dec, 2005
She grew watching her father performing stage shows. Her father was fond of classical music and gave her early training in music.Bhanumati made her foray into the industry in 1935, and acted in over 200 films in tamil and telugu. She was popular as Ashtavadhani by the film industry people as she was a writer, actor, director, producer, singer, music director, editor and studio owner. She also had a good knowledge of Astrology and philosophy.
She made her debut in Telugu cinema in 1939 as Kalindi in Vara Vikrayam (Telugu), directed by C. Pullaiah. She had acted in Malathi Madhavam, Dharma Patni and Bhaktimala. Her first popular film was Krishna Prema. Her next popular film was Swargaseema, a milestone film in her career.
Chakrapani, Laila Majnu, Vipranarayana, Malliswari, Batasari and Anthastulu. In 1953, she made her directorial debut with Chandirani (made simultaneously in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi). Her last film was made in 1998, entitled Pelli Kanuka.
She was adept in both Carnatic and Hindustani music. She gave voice to her songs despite it being the norm to use playback singers for actors. Some of her songs are still popular like Pilichina biguvatara, Kila Kila Navvulu, Oh Pavurama, Preme Nerama. She also provided music to a lot of her films.
She was a Member of State Film Awards Committee for two years. She was also a Visiting Professor at the Film Institute for one year. She was Member of Children Film Society for 5 years, from 1965 to 1970.
C. N. Annadurai gave her a title "Nadippukku Ilakkanam" (means Grammar for acting) that suits her aptly. Even veteran actors Sivaji Ganesan and the then Chief minister of Tamilnadu M.G.Ramachandran were afraid on the sets of her bold and prolific versatility.
Bhanumati was associated with numerous social service organisations. She herself was was the founder member and treasurer of Madras branch of Altrusa International Inc., Chicago for lifelong starting from 1963. She was a life member of the 'Red Cross Society'. She established an educational institution named as "Dr. Bhanumathi Ramakrishna Matriculation School" at Saligramam, Chennai providing free education to the poor.