Moparthi Sitarama Rao (Telugu: మోపర్తి సీతారామా రావు) (3 July , 1921 – 20 April, 1992) popularly known as M.S. Rama Rao, Sundara Dasu was a renowned Telugu singer and composer .
M.S. Rama Rao was renowned for his devotional songs in Telugu especially Sundara kanda (5th episode of the epic Ramayana) and Hanuman Chalisa. He was also a noted playback singer in Telugu Cinema.
- Mother : Moparthi Mangamma ~ Father : Moparthi Rangaiah
- Siblings: Brother(s) : Moparthi Krishna Murthy, Moparthi Bhavanaranyana ; Sister : T. Sita
- Wife : Moparthi Lakshmi Samrajyam
- Children: Son(s): Moparthi Babu Rao, Moparth Nageshwar Rao ; Daughter: Polapragada Sarojani Devi (Chitti)
- Grandson: Dr. Polapragada Srinivas
Sri M.S. Rama Rao was born 3rd July 1921 to Smt. Moparthi Mangamma (mother) and Moparthi Rangaiah (father – Karanam at Moparru village) in Moparru village Tenali, Guntur district , Andhra Pradesh. He was the eldest in the family followed by two brother Sri. Moparthi Krishna Murthy and Sri. Mopo.Bhavanaranyana and a sister Smt. T. Sita.
He studied in Nidubrolu High School and graduated from Hindu College, Guntur. He lived in Rajahmundry during 1964-74 . In 1975 he moved to Hyderabad and lived there ever since. M.S.Rama Rao married Lakshmi Samrajyam in 1942 , survived by three children capt.M.Babu Rao(Pilot Air India) Mr. Nageshwar Rao and Smt. Chitti Polapragada.
M.S. Rama Rao started his journey as a Singer in his early college days. He grabbed the attention of several during an Inter-college light music singing competition for his melodious voice. Popular Lyricist Naduri Subba Rao, suggested him to contribute his efforts to Telugu Cinema. Sri M.S. Rama Rao subsequently traveled to Madras (now Chennai, Tamil Nadu) and made his debut song for the Cinema “Devatha” in 1941. He contributed his voice as playback singer to Mega Stars such as Ch. Narayana Rao, Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao, Gummadi Venkateswara Rao, Akkineni Nageswara Rao, Chitturu Vuppaladadiyam Nagaiah and many others.
After serving Telugu Cinema industry for nearly 20 years , M.S Rama Rao faced several hardships in Cinema as a playback singer. He concluded his career to Cinema industry in 1964 and shifted his family from Madras to Guntur. The same year in 1964, M.S. Rama Rao joined Satya Sai Grukulam as a Hostel Warden in Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh. With Divine blessing and intent, Sri M.S. Rama Rao then translated Hanuman Chalisa (originally composed by Tulasidas) and Sundara kanda (from Valmiki Ramayana) to simplistic Telugu (Teta telugu) during 1972-74. He gained fame for singing the devotional songs and was awarded the name of ‘Sundara Dasu’ in 1977.
- Hanuman Chalisa
Awards and Recognition:
- Sri.Rama Rao gained fame for his singing, writings and was awarded the name of ‘Sundara Dasu’ in 1977.
- In 2003, a street in Hyderabad at Chikkadpally was named Sundara Kanda M S Rama Rao Lane in his honour.