Remembering Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao; Tollywood’s Original Torchbearer

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Telugu Cinema has come quite a long way since its inception decades ago.  Today, Tollywood is a source of pride for the Country and is known all across the world for its quality.  But if there is one person who carried Tollywood on his shoulders, it is Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao, Tollywood’s original torchbearer.  NTR as he was fondly referred, is known for his impeccable dialogue delivery, in a style unique to him.  Today, the Telugu states remember the legendary actor turned politician on the anniversary of his demise.  India lost NTR on January 18, 1996 in Hyderabad due to a heart attack.

NTR was born on May 28, 1923 in Gudivada, Krishna district of the then Andhra Pradesh state.  NTR cracked the State Service Commission exams and joined as a Sub Registrar in the Guntur district.  However, his love for cinema made him quit his job and move to Madras in which he pursued his dreams.  NTR made his debut in Palletooru Pilla (1950) which was directed by B.A. Subba Rao.  NTR also became a screenwriter in the later part of his acting career and was quite successful in it despite having no formal writing experience.  Having been fed up with the Indian National Congress and its corrupt ways, Nandamuri led a political revolution with his Telugu Desam Party which he founded in 1982 and gave an identity to the Telugu people in India.  

NTR was famous for his portrayal of Lord Ram and Lord Krishna in most of his movies and perhaps playing characters of legend is what made him legendary.  Apart from essaying mythical roles, NTR was also known to essay roles which portrayed him as a Robinhood.  NTR received the erstwhile Rashtrapati Awards for his performance in Raju Peda (1954) and Lava Kusa (1963.)

NTR was also known for his performances in movies like Patala Bhairavi (1951,) Mayabazar (1957,) Nartanasala (1963,) Kodalu Diddina Kapuram (1970,) Badi Panthulu (1972.)  NTR was also awarded the Padma Shri for his outstanding contribution to Indian Cinema.  Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao was also known for redefining politics in the then united Andhra Pradesh State and was also fiercely committed to let the world and India know the identity of the Telugu peoples.

Nandamuri Balakrishna, the son of the late NTR paid his respects at the NTR Ghat today, while his grandson, Jr. NTR could not make it due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  We at Telugu Filmnagar join every Telugu person in celebrating the legend who was, Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao on the anniversary of his demise.


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