J V Somayajulu is a versatile actor in Telugu film industry, who acted in about 150 films in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Hindi of which Shankarabharanam. Vamsavruksham and Saptapadhi also became hits. His journey in films started iin 1980 and he shot to national fame with his maiden film Shankarabharanam. He essayed the lead role of Shankara Shastry, a puritan of Carnatic music, and became a legend.
He was born in August 1928, in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh, Somayajulu became a renowned stage artiste and played the role of Ramappa Panthulu to perfection in the evergreen play Kanyasulkam written by the legendary Gurujada Apparao. Somayajulu, also served as head of the department of theater arts in Telugu University.
His performance in Telugu classic film ‘’Shankarabharanam’’ is among the 25 greatest acting performances ever witnessed in Indian cinema. Telugu film Sankarabharanam has been a beautiful illustration of how musical movies with classical songs and dances can break the barriers of language and boundaries and reach everyone. The film was screened in the Moscow International Film Festival (1980) and even also won the Prize of the Public at the Besancon Film Festival of France in the year 1981. Even after three decades, the magic remains evergreen still.
Besides acting, he had done several performances in state during four decades of theater activity. He was just 16 when he made his debut on the stage as a student in 1944 in his college. He had a rich voice, flawless expression, majestic figure and above all, abiding love for stage. Overnight he became a celebrity with success of Shankarabharanam.
After the success of Shankarabharanam, he had even portrayed Vaggayakara 'Thyagaraja' in a magnum opus directed by Bapu. The actor passed away at age of 76, leaving behind his wife, two sons, and a daughter. He served as special deputy collector in Vishakapatnam Urban Development Authority, before making a debut in cinema.