Hyderabad, Jan 23 (IANS) Hundreds bid tearful adieu to Telugu cinema icon Akkineni Nageswara Rao, whose last rites were performed here Thursday with state honours.
In the presence of eminent film personalities, politicians and fans, Rao's sons and grandsons together lit the funeral pyre amid chanting of vedic hymns by pundits and gun salute by the police at Annapurna Studios.
Rao's two sons, including popular actor Nagarjuna, three daughters and other family members broke down during the cremation. They were consoled by relatives and friends including top film personalities.
A sense of gloom enveloped the sprawling Annapurna Studios as the funeral procession reached there.
As a mark of respect to the legendary actor, policemen reversed their arms and later fired three rounds in the air. The buglers sounded The Last Post.
Actor-turned-politician Union Tourism Minister K. Chiranjeevi, Sridevi, Tabu, Junior NTR, Venkatesh, Rajasekhar, famous filmmakers Dasari Narayana Rao and D. Ramanaidu were among key film personalities who attended the last rites.
Earlier, mourners queued up at the office of Telugu Film Chamber, where his body was kept Wednesday afternoon for the people to pay their last respects.
Police and volunteers had a tough time in controlling the surging crowds. Men and women stood in long queue to have a last glimpse of the thespian, who died Wednesday at the age of 89, plunging the Telugu film industry into gloom.
Earlier, similar scenes were witnessed at Annapurna Studios, where the body was kept.
The body in a flower-bedecked vehicle was later taken from the studio to the office of the film chamber.
The funeral procession, which started from the Film Chamber around 1 p.m. Thursday, passed through Jubilee Hills and returned to Annapurna Studios.
Movie Artists Association (MAA) president Murali Mohan and eminent film personalities besides a large number of fans joined the funeral procession.
Earlier, film personalities, politicians and eminent citizens from various walks of life paid their last respects to ANR, as the actor was popularly known.
Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, several ministers and leaders of various parties also paid their tributes late Wednesday.
On a call given by MAA, the Telugu film industry remained shut Thursday as a mark of respect to the legendary actor.