Many Happy Returns to Nag

There will be no Telugu speaking person who doesn't know Padma Bhushan, Dada Saheb Phalke Awardee, Nata Samrat, Dr Akkineni Nageswara Rao. He is rendering yeoman services to the Telugu film industry for the past 60 years. Yuva Samrat Akkineni Nagarjuna, who was born to him, earned a good name not only as his son who was continuing his legacy, but also as a hero personally, who could perform excellently on the screen. Yuva Samrat had proved that a tiger would give birth to a tiger alone and he enhanced the prestige and image of his father.

This Yuva Samrat is celebrating his birthday on August 29. On the occasion, wishes to bring to the fore his biography and filmography for the benefit of its browsers.

Nagarjuna was born on August 29, 1959 to Akkineni Nageswara Rao and Annapurnamma. Though he was born in Chennai (the then Madras), he had his schooling in Hyderabad. However, he completed his mechanical engineering in Madras. Despite completing engineering, Nagarjuna chose films as his profession to continue his father's legacy.

In order to introduce Nagarjuna as hero, Akkineni remade a super hit Bollywood film 'Hero' with Jackie Shroff and Meenakshi Seshadri in the lead in Telugu as 'Vikram' with Sobhana playing the female lead. Incidentally, both the heroes made the debut in films with the same film. 'Vikram' was released on May 23, 1986 and became a big hit. However, there was a lot of criticism on his action and dialogue modulation at that time.

Later, Nagarjuna played hero in 'Majnu' with Rajani as heroine under the direction of Darsaka Ratna and the present Union minister Dasari Narayana Rao. However, no one dared to speak negative about Nagarjuna in this film. At the same time there were no positive remarks too. In fact, the performance of Nagarjuna in the song 'Idi Toli Raatri ' Kadalani Raatri' that comes in the climax scene attracted the audiences well. After this film, Nagarjuna withstood as a hero, with films like 'Murali Krishna, Collector Gari Abbayi.' Though Nagarjuna's films went well, he earned the star image with 'Aakhari Poratam' with Sridevi playing opposite him as heroine under the direction of Raghavendra Rao. Surprisingly, the same Sridevi played heroine in several films opposite his father ANR and had got the credit of playing heroine with his son as well. The film was a blockbuster during those days and earned a star image to Nagarjuna.

Later, Nagarjuna played hero in the direction of creative director Maniratnam, with a debutant heroine Girija, for 'Geetanjali' which brought the acting talents in Nagarjuna to the fore. Though Nagarjuna played a deglamourised role in this film, his performance won critical acclaim. In this film, the hero and heroine kiss each other in a song and it continues throughout the song. Possibly this is the longest kissing scene in any Telugu film so farm and that credit also goes to Nagarjuna. This film was a big hit in Telugu.

Yuva Samrat has the habit of thinking differently and in a novel way. At the same time, he always likes to encourage new talents. One such good example is Ram Gopal Varma, who became a director with Nagarjuna's encouragement and now became an international level director. Nagarjuna not only encouraged him as director but also played hero in his debut film 'Siva' on his own 'Annapurna' banner. The film has become a trendsetter during those days and remained a milestone in the Telugu film industry by becoming a biggest blockbuster. Tanikella Bharani came to light as a writer and artiste with this movie.

Likewise, Nagarjuna encouraged Krishnavamsi, who worked as assistant director for 'Siva', and gave him a chance to direct a film 'Ninne Pelladutha' again on his own banner and that film was also proved a big hit. One can remind 'Yeto Vellipoyindi Manasu' song even now as the film was not only a hit commercially but also a musical hit. Nagarjuna played a dual role in 'Hello Brother' directed by EVV Satyanaryaana. That film was also a big hit and stood an example to Nagarjuna's calibre and stamina at the Box Office.

Though many of the films played by Nagarjuna were hits and super hits and earned good collections, the one and only film that remained in the history of Telugu film industry in his career is 'Annamayya'. Nagarjuna received widest applause not only in India but also globally for his performance in the role of saint-poet Annamayya. Nagarjuna faced criticism during the shooting, on how a commercial hero who moves with cycle chains and bashing goons play a different role like Annamayya. But after the release, the film gave a fitting reply to all those criticisms. Of course, director Raghavendra Rao also has a share in the success of the movie. It is not an exaggeration that there is no Telugu NRI house sans the DVD of this film.

After that, the most memorable film in his career is 'Sri Ramadasu'. Yuva Samrat Nagarjuna feels that the films 'Annamayya and Sri Ramadasu' gave him an immense satisfaction as an artiste. Nagarjuan bagged Filmfare awards as Best Hero for three times for films like 'Siva, Annamayya and Super', while received Nandi Awards as Best Hero for films like 'Annamayya and Santosham'.

Not only in Telugu, Nagarjuna also played hero in Hindi films like 'Siva, Khuda Gawa, Drohi, Agnivarsh, Jakhm and Criminal' and earned good name at national-level. Presently, he is playing hero in 'Don' directed by choreographer-turned-director Raghava Lawrence and produced by ML Kumar Choudary on the banner of Sri Keerti Creations.

Nagarjuna married his co-artiste Amala and they have two sons ' Naga Chaitanya and Akhil. Surprisingly, Akhil made his debut in a film called 'Sisindri' at a very early age as a child artiste, while Naga Chaitanya would soon appear as hero in a film.

On the lines of his father Nata Samrat, who was serving the Telugu film industry for the past 60 years as an artiste, producer and studio owner,, on the occasion of his birthday, wishes that this Yuva Samrat should also play hero in many more successful films and produce as many films and emerge victorious.

Once again we wish Nag a 'Very Happy Birthday'.


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