Nandamuri Harikrishna, a senior Telugu actor and political leader, was killed in a freak road accident in the wee hours of Wednesday. He was 61.
Harikrishna was the fourth son of legendary actor and political titan from the united Andhra Pradesh, NT Rama Rao. He grew up along with 11 siblings: 7 brothers and 4 sisters. Hailing from one of Indian film industry’s most powerful families, Harikrishna took to acting like a duck to water. He was about 10 years old when he made his screen debut with mythological drama Sri Krishnavataram (1967), which had his superstar father playing the role of Lord Krishna. Harikrishna had played young Krishna in the film, which was directed by Kamalakara Kameshwara Rao.
And he continued to pursue acting with notable films like Talla Pellamma (1970), Tatamma Kala (1974) and Ram Raheem (1974). The shining moment in his young acting career was when he portrayed the role of Arjuna in Daana Veera Shura Karna (1977), a memorable film in the history of Telugu cinema.
However, Nandamuri Harikrishna took a sabbatical from his promising film career for about two decades. He returned to the big screen with a cameo in Sri Ramulayya (1998), which had actor Mohan Babu in the lead role.
Then, he appeared in a few other films like Seetharama Raju (1999), Lahiri Lahiri Lahirilo (2002), Siva Rama Raju (2002) and Seetayya (2003).
Harikrishna’s deep interest in politics was the main reason why he cut back on acting offers. He was known to be close with his brother-in-law Chandrababu Naidu, the current chief minister of divided Andhra Pradesh. He even supported Naidu, when he had staged a revolt against his father and the then chief minister NTR.
As a politician, he had served as the member of Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly between 1996 and 1999. He became a Cabinet Minister for Road Transport in 1996, soon after the internal revolt in the TDP. In 2008, he was elected to Rajya Sabha and had served as a member in several parliamentary committees.
Harikrishna is survived by his wife Lakshmi Harikrishna and sons N. T. Rama Rao Jr and Nandamuri Kalyan Ram. His third son Janakiram, a filmmaker-politician, had died in a road accident in 2014.