Tenali Ramakrishna is a 1956 Indian Telugu-language political drama film produced and directed by B. S. Ranga based on Ch. Venkataramaiah's stage play of the same name. Produced for the banner Vikram Productions, it stars Akkineni Nageswara Rao, N. T. Rama Rao, V. Nagayya, Bhanumathi Ramakrishna and Jamuna in key roles. Ranga handled the cinematography with his brother-in-law B. N. Haridas while P. G. Mohan edited the film. Viswanathan–Ramamoorthy composed the soundtrack and background score.
Ramakrishna is a poet and scholar in the Telugu and Sanskrit languages whose talent is not recognized in his hometown Tenali. To earn a living, he migrates to Hampi with his wife Kamala and son Madhava. On his way to Hampi, he stops at a Kali temple. He is initially terrified looking at the goddess' idol and the animal sacrifices made to please her. That night, Kali appears before him and grants a boon: he must choose either wisdom or wealth. Ramakrishna opts for both, which angers Kali. She warns him that he might end up as a Vikatakavi (clownish poet) whose wisdom is useful solely for entertaining others. Ramakrishna accepts this as a blessing and asks Kali to save him from further dangers. The goddess agrees and disappears.