The Telugu film industry, popularly known as ‘Tollywood’, is the third largest film industry in India. The Telugu film industry is still in its infancy when it comes to making and accepting realistic, contemporary, unconventional cinema. Traditionally, the Telugu audiences idolize their actors and like to watch them in larger-than-life roles. This article is about the four most popular, still-reigning actors of Telugu cinema.
Chiranjeevi: This ‘Megastar’ of Telugu cinema had a modest beginning to his career in 1977, acting in villainous and supporting roles. He started playing leading roles in movies in 1982. Films like Intlo Ramayya Veedhilo Krishnyya, Khaidi, Abhilasha and Rudraveena earned him awards and accolates. And there was no looking back after that. The 90’s further established him as a top hero, with films like Jagadeka Veerudu Atiloka Sundari, Gang Leader, Gharana Mogudu and Aapadbhandavudu that won the hearts of class as well as mass audiences. After a few more super hit movies like Indra, Tagore and Shankar Dada Zindabad in the 2000’s, Chiranjeevi is now more focused towards his political career. He started an independent political party called Praja Rajyam (People’s rule), which later merged with the Congress party. He is also actively involved in social activities, running a blood bank named after the actor himself. Chiranjeevi is the most popular actor of Telugu cinema till date, loved by Telugu audiences across the world for his versatility, dancing style and charisma.
Balakrishna: ‘Yuvaratna’ (young diamond) Balakrishna is the son of legendary Telugu actor and former chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, N.T.Rama Rao. Following his father’s footsteps, he entered the film industry as a child actor in the film ‘Tatamma Kala’ in 1974. He debuted as a main lead in the 1984 film ‘Sahasame Jeevitham’. ‘Mangamma Gari Manavadu’, released in the same year, was a roaring success at the box office. His popularity soared in the next few years with several hit movies like Muddula Mavayya, Nari Nari Naduma Murari, Lorry Driver, Rowdy Inspector and Aditya 369. The films had Balakrishna in various interesting roles that attracted class and mass audiences, and particularly, the youth. The 2000’s saw Balakrisha acting in several factionist-backdrop movies like Chenna Kesava Reddy, Narasimha Naidu and Samara Simha Reddy. His latest super-hit movie was Simha in 2011. When we talk of Balakrisha, we can’t forget his mythological movies and socio-fantasies. Like his father, Balakrishna excels in such roles and it would not be an exaggeration to say that he is the only current hero who can do complete justice to such movies. Some of his note-worthy performances in such roles were in the movies Bhairava Dweepam, Pandurangadu and Sri Krishnarjuna Vijayam. Another film ‘Sri Rama Rajyam’ based on lord Rama’s life is currently in the post-production stage and is slated to be released in Aug, 2011. Balakrishna is also involved in social causes and runs the Basavatharakam Indo American Cancer hospital, which is a brain-child of his father and named after his mother.
Nagarjuna: Widely regarded as one of the most stylish actors of Tollywood, Nagarjuna entered filmdom with high expectations. His father is Akkineni Nageswar Rao, one of the legendary actors of Telugu Cinema. He is one of the few heroes in Tollywood who excels in romantic roles. Though his first film was ‘Sudigundalu’ (1967) when he was just 8 years old, his debut film as a hero was Vikram in 1986. Two movies of Nagarjuna that released in 1987, Geetanjali and Shiva, not only got him commercial success, but also critical acclaim, and they remain among Nagarjuna’s best movies till date. In the 90’s, Nagarjuna acted in several hit movies like Killer, Varasudu, President Gari Pellam, Hello Brother, Criminal and Gharana Bullodu. The roles he played in these movies were a mix of sophisticated, urbane characters and rural, mass characters, and he did justice to both types of roles alike. In 1996, Nagarjuna produced and starred, along with Tabu, in ‘Ninne Pelladutha’, which is ones of the best Telugu romantic movies ever made. Among his other light-hearted, romantic entertainers are Santhosham and Manmadhudu. Another interesting movie of Nagarjuna was ‘Sisindri’ in which the story revolves around the life of a little boy who went missing from his house. The little boy’s role was played by Nagarjuna’s son Akhil. In the movies Annamayya and Sri Ramadasu, the audiences got to see a different side of Nagarjuna’s acting abilities. He played the role of an ardent devotee in both the movies, and proved that he is also capable of excelling in a genre his father was well-known for. With a charming personality and unmatched style, Nagarjuna has kept the Telugu audiences captivated for over two decades now. Nagarjuna’s son from his first marriage, Naga Chaitanya, has also entered the Telugu film industry and is doing well, with a recent hit ‘Ay Maya Chesave’. Nagarjuna is the co-founder of the Blue Cross of Hyderabad, which is an animal welfare organization run by his wife Amala.
Venkatesh: ‘Victory’ Venkatesh, as he is popularly known, is the son of famous producer D.Ramanaidu. Venkatesh debuted in the movie ‘Kaliyuga Pandavulu’ in 1986. He then acted in the movie Swarnakamalam, which is among the best Telugu movies ever made. Starting with this movie, Venkatesh has always made an effort to act in meaningful cinema. However, he also acted in some mass movies, which gained him a fan following in mass as well as class audiences. The 90’s saw some interesting movies like Bobbili Raja, Kshana Kshanam, Chanti, China Rayudu, Dharma Chakram, Preminchukundam Raa, Premante Idera. Some of these were romantic entertainers, some socio-fantasies, while others were set in a rural backdrop. This versatility makes Venkatesh stand out among his contemporaries and the audiences have come to expect something good and different from him each time. One other speciality of Venkatesh’s movies is the scope they give for female actors to perform at par with the hero of the film. Examples of such movies include Malleeswari, Adavari Maatalu Arthale Verule and Nagavalli. Venkatesh keeps a low profile and avoids media attention except for his movies. So not much is known about his other activities.
Telugu is considered to be the most renowned language of Southern India. Even the songs and movies in this language play a vital role in the Indian film industry.
Telugu language in all forms including scripts, movies, and songs has its own importance in the history of Indian culture. The journey of these songs started as religious hymns and prayers which later moved on to various categories of music. It took generations to improvise these songs with new rhythms, lyrics, and beats. Today, there are various categories or genres of Telugu songs that are compatible to the aspirations and likes of present day youth and even music enthusiasts.
The most accepted and admired genres of Telugu songs are Telugu film songs, Telugu classical songs, Telugu folk songs, and Telugu devotional songs. Telugu film songs play an integral role in making films popular and classic songs have their roots deep into the heritage of this soothing and pleasant language. Talking about the Telugu devotional songs, these are sung in praise and in devotion of God, great kings and leaders. Folk songs are also loved by most of the people in South India because these have a traditional touch mated with sweetness of music and joyous melodies.
Telugu language being soothing and pleasant to the ears, it has a fan following across the nation. Some of the songs and music loved include compositions of Gantadi Krishna, Ghantasala, Harris Jayaraj, Ilayaraja, K V Mahadevan, Keeravani, Koti, M S Viswanathan, and Maadhavapeddi Suresh. In addition, the voice and emotions delivered by some Telugu singers like A.R. Rehman, Vidyasagar, D.Imaan, Devi Sri Prasad, Ghantasala, Keeravani, Mano, Mohammad Rafi, S P Balu, Ramana Gogula, Madhavapeddi Sathyam, M Balamuralikrishna, Kumar Sanu, Tippu, Yesudas, and Joshua Sridhar makes the composition more energetic and pleasant to ears.
Filmy Telugu songs are inspired by momentum making them fast paced and energy driven. Today with the introduction of internet accessing information has been very easy. All the information is available at a click of a button. Being in the download age Telugu songs are easily available for downloading. Artists mostly put up a song from their album for download purposes so that they can build a fan club following and thus lead to sale of their albums.
Telugu continues to be one of the most popular regional languages used in South India. Even the screening of Telugu movies is not confined to the Telugu inhabitant areas & is taking place all over India. That’s how Telugu songs & movies are experiencing a strong clout in the entire Indian film industry.
The language of Telugu in all of its possible forms including Telugu song, Telugu pictures, Telugu movie review, lyrics & scripts has its own effect on Indian movie buffs & Indian culture as well. All this started with the introduction of devotional songs including prayers & religious hymns which later spread to other Indian music types. It took investment both in time & efforts to renovate the conventional Telugu song with new tracks & beats. Today, more people are showing interest for Telugu movie review & different genres of Telugu music that are most likely to fit every occasion. Both the music enthusiasts & modern day youth have been able to find great entertainment stuff in it.
Telugu songs, Telugu folk songs, Telugu classical songs, Telugu devotional songs & Telugu movie songs are some of the most admired & widely played varieties of Telugu music. Telugu songs play a crucial role in making films hit & make viewers turn up again & again to view the film. The success of these songs depends highly on the way it is written & composed. Religious people in particular are fond of Telugu devotional songs that are dedicated towards leaders, great kings or god. The Telugu folk songs with a combination of joyous melodies & soothing music have a large number of admirers in South India alone.
Telugu music being pleasant to the ears & relaxing to the mind have a huge fan base spread across the whole nation. The music compositions of Ghantasala, Ilayaraja, Harris Jayaraj, Keeravani, K V Mahadevan, Maadhavapeddi Suresh, Keeravani, Koti, M S Viswanathan & Gantadi Krishna have a great demand in market. Moreover, the singing style of some renowned Telugu singers like D.Imaan, Devi Sri Prasad, S P Balu, Ramana Gogula, A.R. Rehman, Vidyasagar, Ghantasala, Keeravani, Madhavapeddi Sathyam, M Balamuralikrishna, Joshua Sridhar, Tippu & Yesudas helps in making the songs more appealing to listeners.
Modern day highly rhythmic Telugu song are inspired a lot by the energetic & fast paced lifestyle. With the availability of internet, accessing latest information on Telugu has become a lot easier these days. Information on Telugu movie review as well as songs can be gathered at the mere click of a button. Some of the music sites are also offering users free downloading of Telugu songs from movies & albums. Majority of Telugu music artists make it a practice to put up a song from their movie or album in such sites for downloading purpose in order to build up a fan club much faster which will ultimately lead to high sale of their movies or albums.