Jr NTR turned 34 on Saturday and chose to celebrate the day with his wife Narne Lakshmi Pranathi and son Abhay Ram. Given that he hails from one of the most powerful and celebrated families in the Telugu film industry, signing his first film was a piece of cake for him. But, establishing himself as a successful lead actor was not. He had a slew of box office hits and misses in a career spanning about 16 years. Today, he is a force to reckon with in the south Indian film industry and is also fast becoming a significant voice in the state politics. It won’t be wrong to say his popularity among the Telugu film lovers is at par with his grandfather and legendary actor-political leader NT Rama Rao and his star uncle Nandamuri Balakrishna.
Jr NTR had to struggle a lot before he could find his feet in the industry as a lead actor. We look at five films that revived his career and cemented his position as the hero of the masses down south.
Student No. 1:
Jr NTR was a child actor. He made cameo appearances in historical films like Brahmarshi Vishwamitra (1991) and Ramayanam (1996). His first film as a lead actor was Ninnu Choodalani, which came out in 2001. It was a box office disaster. The film was also poorly rated by the critics. But, the same year Student No.1 was released, which also marked the debut of director SS Rajamouli in Telugu cinema. The film established Jr NTR as a promising actor in the industry.
Set in the Rayalaseema backdrop, this 2002 action masala film was a box office success. This one made the actor an instant hit with the commercial film lovers and boosted his stardom in the industry. The film was also remade in Tamil as Jai and Bengali Surya.
In 2003, Jr NTR kick started the year on a disappointing note with Naaga. Once again Rajamouli came to his rescue. The second film of the actor – Simhadri went on to become one of the biggest blockbusters of Telugu cinema that year. The success of the film strengthened his position in the industry, which helped his career to stay afloat during his unsuccessful stint at the box office.
My first and most precious birthday wishes of the year pic.twitter.com/sCfAgIIZc0
— Jr NTR (@tarak9999) May 19, 2017
Family time!dnt know why abhay just loves closing my eyes pic.twitter.com/iXZiqOXXAc
— Jr NTR (@tarak9999) May 19, 2017
It seems like films directed by Rajamouli has a lion’s share in the success of Jr NTR’s film career. In 2007, the actor-director duo delivered another memorable film Yamadonga, which was well received both critically and commercially. And also broke his 3 years of unsuccessful streak at the box office.
Once again, Jr NTR’s career went downhill as his films fell short of making a dent at the box office. In 2015, director Puri Jagannadh’s Temper gave the actor the much-needed break. The film about a corrupt cop, who has a change of heart following a brutal rape and murder of a girl under his watch, received a big thumbs up from the critics and the audience. The film is being remade in Tamil, Kannada and Hindi and has also been turned into an English novel.
The year 2016:
Last year was the most significant and memorable year in the career of Jr NTR. He had two big releases, which took the box office by storm both at home and aboard. Nannaku Prematho, which was the actor’s 25th film, become one of the top-grossing films last year. Janatha Garage, which also had Malayalam superstar Mohanlal in the lead role, collected more than Rs 100 crore at the box office, besides bagging two prestigious National Awards.
Jr NTR is currently busy shooting for Jai Lava Kusa, which is directed by KS Ravindra. It is the most-awaited film among the Telugu film audience given that he plays three different roles in the film. The first look posters were released on the eve of his birthday to a rousing reception.