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Last Updated : Oct 30, 2018 06:09 PM IST | Source:

Before the release of the much-awaited NTR biopic, here's a look at how he became Tollywood’s legend

NTR's biopic will be made in two parts and both will release in January next year.

Maryam Farooqui @farooqui_maryam

From the 1950s to 1990s, Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao, popularly known as NT Rama Rao, was the face of Telugu film industry. He was a demigod figure for the Telugu audience and is still remembered as the pride of the Indian cinema.

So, when a biopic on NTR was announced it wasn't as much a surprise as it was welcome news.

NTR's biopic will be made in two parts. NTR Kathanayakudu will release on Jan 9, 2019, while NTR Mahanayakudu will release on Jan 24 next year. The titular role will be played by Nandamuri Balakrishna. Actress Vidya Balan will play the role of NTR’s wife and Rakul Preet Singh will be Sridevi in the biopic. The film will also star Rana Daggubati who will essay the role of N Chandrababu Naidu, NTR's son-in-law.

In recent times, Telugu films have not only eclipsed Tamil movies but also Bollywood. The massive success of the Baahubali series has put the Telugu film industry at the forefront of Indian cinema.

Long before this, the industry had gained prominence thanks to NTR. Although his journey to the silver screen wasn’t easy, NTR made it big when he got the opportunity. It was in Palletoori Pilla that he starred as the main lead. While it was a gamble for director Subba Rao to launch a new face as the hero for his film, he was confident of NTR.

Despite the success of his initial few films, NTR barely managed to make ends meet. But, things took a turn for the better when his 1950 release Samsaram was a hit. The film ran for 100 days in 11 theatres and for 25 weeks in one theatre. Another film that turned the tables for NTR was his fifth release Shavukaru.

In 1951, when Patala Bhairavi released and ran for 100 days in 34 cinema halls and completed its silver jubilee in (25 weeks) in 13 theatres and golden jubilee (50 weeks) in one, it established NTR as a mass hero. After this, getting film offers was a regular affair for him.

The film was remade in both Tamil and Hindi which turned out successful as well.

TIll 1957, NTR had acted in as many as 30 films out of which 20 had celebrated 100-day runs in 169 theatres. Nine films celebrated silver jubilee in 30 cinema halls, and one lasted for as long as 50 weeks in one theatre.

NTR’s fame was not restricted to box office numbers. It was more than that. His mythology films in which he played different Hindu gods led to the deification of Rama Rao. His residence slowly became a shrine of a kind. Thousands of pilgrims would arrive every morning from Tirupati to see NTR.

According to industry sources, during 1963, 1965-67, and 1969, NTR made one film every month. He broke his own record in 1964 when he made 15 films. It is estimated that his 292 films may have earned a big total of Rs 200 crore.

The Telugu film industry has a lot to thank NTR for. And, it is more than a horde of successful films. It was NTR who shifted the Telugu film industry from Chennai to Hyderabad and gave it a distinct identity. This, in turn, benefitted Telugu film producers and distributors and theater owners in Andhra Pradesh.

Beyond films, NTR’s life revolved around politics. He was the founder of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), which is currently headed by Chandrababu Naidu, incumbent Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. NTR was also the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh for three terms.

NTR’s biopic next year is one of the most awaited films which will tell the story of a man who defined the word protagonist and still remains Telugu cinema’s greatest and most revered actor.
First Published on Oct 30, 2018 06:09 pm
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