S.N Rao was a popular actor of Telugu Cinema. He is a receiver of Padmashri award. He has also played various female roles in Telegu movies which were all well received by the audience. He has acted well in movies like Roshanara, Vipranarayana and the best of all Chintamani which were all praised by the audience. His most admired acting was as Madhuravani in Gurajada Appa Rao`s comedy Kanyasulkam. The count of his performance is more than 1500 which makes him one of the most popular and successful actors of Telegu Cinema.
1920 marked his entry to the theatre and he started doing theatre drama from then only, after getting trained by Veeraraghava Swamy, played for the Rama Vilasa Sabha. His presence in the Telegu Cinema lasted till four decades and his name is still popular as one of the most talented actors of all time in Telegu Cinema. His productions of movies such as Kanyasulkam and Ganapati, where he credited as a producer, remain classic.
Sthnam Narishma Rao received many awards in his life because of his impeccable acting of a female. He received a Padma Shri from Indian Government in 1956 as was the first person to get this award belonging from Tamil Nadu. S.N Rao also received Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1961 for his brilliant acting. Most new actors still see him as their inspiration for acting and consider him as a legend. His depiction of "Sringara Rasa" as Satyabhama, in Sri Krishna Tulabharam, was highly praised by the audience. This marked the high peak in his career.
S. N Rao always was interested in playing the challenging roles like portraying the role of females. Among his fans, he is credited as an absolutely amazing female role player which marked as the best in his whole career.