Bapu, whose real name was Sattiraju Lakshminarayana, had been admitted to a private hospital in Chennai a few days ago and he passed away this evening due to a cardiology-related ailment, hospital sources said.
Bapu had begun his career as a director in 1967 with 'Sakshi', which was then screened in international film festivals. He went on to direct about 50 films in his career.
His last film was 'Sriramarajyam' in 2011, which had popular actor Balakrishna, son of late N T Rama Rao, and Nayanatara in the lead.
He received several coveted honours, including Padma Sri from the Union government in 2013 and the prestigious Nandi Award of the Andhra Pradesh government.
Bapu, in combination with his friend and writer Mullapudi Venkata Ramana, made critically-acclaimed and successful films like 'Muthyala Muggu', 'Tyagayya', 'Bhakta Kannapa', 'Pelli Pustakam' and 'Mr Pellam'.
Bapu made a few films in Tamil and Hindi as well. His Hindi films include 'Ham Paanch' and 'Seeta Swayamvar'. Bapu's 'Vamsa Vriksham' in Telugu was one of the earliest films in the career of veteran Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor.
Bapu was also an artist, painter, cartoonist and illustrator par excellence, whose works signified the benchmark for Teluguness.
In casual conversations, a traditional-looking Telugu girl is often described as "a girl in Bapu's picture".