Akkineni Nagarjuna is an actor, producer, TV presenter and one of the leading Superstars of Telugu Cinema. Born to the legendary actor ANR, Nagarjuna was interested in acting since childhood but waited until he finishes his formal education. The son of a legendary actor Dr. Akkineni Nageshwara Rao, Nagarjuna has experimented in various genres right from pulsation action flicks to sensitive biographies which won him a legion of fans along the way.
He marked his debut as a child artist with Sudigundalu, an experimental film which had his father ANR in the lead role. As a hero, he debuted with Vikram in 1986, the films was a decent runner at BO. Being just 4 films old, Nagarjuna proved he can match his father’s lineage as a lovelorn youngster with Dasari Narayana Rao’s Majnu. Post Majnu, he had delivered few blockbusters, but it was the year 1989 that changed the fortunes of Nagarjuna forever.
In this year, he had two of the biggest hits of his career. One of which is a classic love story Geethanjali, directed by Maniratnam that took Nag’s image as a romantic hero to newer heights. The super success of Geethanjali has been made look minuscule and overshadowed by his career changing stormy hit in the form of the cult-classic Shiva, directed by a debutante director Ram Gopal Varma. Though many were against his decision to deploy faith in Ram Gopal Varma, who doesn’t have any experience in the direction department, Nagarjuna believed his instinct and it paid off well. The film has set a new trend in Tollywood giving Nagarjuna, the much-needed action hero image and Nagarjuna’s stardom has risen to peaks making him the much bigger star than he was.
Shiva made such an indelible impact on the youngsters that most of the leading current directors got inspired by this cult-classic to enter into film making, and even Telugu films were differentiated as pre and post Shiva era, in terms of technical aspects of film making. After the storm Shiva was abated, there was a lull period for some time, before he plunged in with President Gari Pellam, which brought him the mass image that fetched him fans in B and C centers and was on a roll till Hello Brother happened. Nagarjuna’s comic antics is best exploited by the director EVV Satyanarayana in Hello Brother, and it was the first time Nagarjuna was seen in a dual role. With the stupendous success of Hello Brother, Nagarjuna has become a strong force to reckon with. Riding high on few hits, Nagarjuna delivered yet another blockbuster hit Ninne Pelladatha, which brought him closer to the family audience and it was his next film Annamayya, which appeared to be the biggest challenge he has to come across, as many made snide comments as Nagarjuna’s ability to carry off the role of a devotee. But, Nagarjuna carried the role with a great panache and silenced the critics and justified his cast as the eponymous lead.
Nagarjuna is often called as “Celluloid Scientist” for the variety of genres he has experimented with and for introducing the new talent to the industry. He has done a variety of roles that of a Killer in Antham, a devotee in Annamayya, Sriramadasu and God in Sri Shirdi Sai. In an illustrious career spanning nearly 3 decades, Nagarjuna has appeared in close to 90 movies and has won 2 National Awards, 9 Nandi Awards, and 3 Filmfare Awards South.
Apart from an actor, he is an entrepreneur and TV presenter. His TV Show Meelo Evaru Koteswarudu on MAA TV is a huge success. He is the president of non-profit school “Annapurna International School of Film and Media” based in Hyderabad. Some of Nagarjuna’s superhit movies include Shiva, Geethanjali, Sri Ramadasu, Hello Brother, Annamayya, King, Ninne Pelladatha and Manmadhudu.
His elder brother Akkineni Venkat is a famous producer, his nephews Sumanth, Sushant and sons Naga Chaitanya, Akhil are well-known heroes in Tollywood.