R Nagendra Rao was a theatre veteran. He had also made his mark in films as an actor and music director but had not yet ventured to direct a film.
This opportunity came in the form of Satya Harischandra in 1942. He wrote the screenplay, dialogues and songs for this film as well as directed it. The film ran for 100 days in Dharwad. The film was also dubbed in Tamil and made a good profit there. Interestingly, when the film was dubbed in Tamil, the original Kannada actors gave their voices in Tamil.