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NTR Junior: In his grandfather’s image?

Can he re-create the mesmerising magic that his legendary grandfather weaved so deftly decades ago? Will he turn out to be the “next NTR...

Can he re-create the mesmerising magic that his legendary grandfather weaved so deftly decades ago? Will he turn out to be the “next NTR” that the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) so desperately needs?

While it remains to be seen whether his mass appeal will stand the test of time,he certainly carries NTR’s name and clearly bears the sheen of the former matinee idol and politician’s reflected glory. On his first road show in Srikakulam district today,Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao,Junior,the grandson of N T Rama Rao,did prove that he has plenty of punch in his own right too.

As he took to the road in Palasa constituency,braving the heat like a true hero,the 26-year-old actor was overwhelmed by the lakhs of people who turned out to cheer him on. He recovered quickly and delivered some well-rehearsed punch lines that had the desired effect — the crowds went delirious.

His performance on day one,in fact,was reminiscent of the massively popular show that actor Chiranjeevi took out to promote his Praja Rajyam Party in coastal Andhra late last year.

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NTR Junior has been roped in by the TDP to campaign in coastal Andhra,where he is extremely popular. He will address nearly 100 public meetings during his gruelling 40-day tour of 10 coastal districts.

Looking lean after weight-loss surgeries in the US,the young actor even wore khakis — a trend his grandfather had started after deciding to launch the TDP exactly 27 years ago on March 12,1982.

He may not be able to emulate his grandfather’s charisma,oratory and commanding presence just yet,but NTR Junior made the right gestures and spoke with enough conviction to remind people of NTR Senior.

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In 1982,after NTR formed the TDP,a mere call from the great actor from temple town Tirupathi to unite for the cause of Telugu pride catapulted him to power within a year and he became the chief minister on January 5,1983.

NTR Junior doesn’t have any political dreams yet. But he reluctantly joined the NTR clan in supporting TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu to revive the fortunes of the party that his grandfather founded. After staying away from family meetings and thwarting Naidu’s dinner diplomacy,NTR Junior seems to have finally relented.

“Before starting his tour from Srikakulam,he took some tips from Naidu. I don’t know if the ice has really broken between them but Naidu and his nephew appeared comfortable. The confidence that Naidu expressed in him may have also inspired him,” Srikakulam MP and Politburo member K Yerrannaidu said.

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Yerrannaidu,who accompanied NTR Junior on the first day today,was himself very surprised at the response from people. “Lakhs of people waited under the hot sun for him,” he said.

Known for his dancing skills that leave his heroines panting,NTR Junior,an accomplished Kuchipudi dancer,is the son of NTR’s son Harikrishna,a popular actor himself. He started young in the Telugu film industry with his first film Bala Ramayanam in which he incidentally played the character of Lord Rama,a role that was made memorable by the original NTR and still has no equals. He has so far acted in 18 films and is one of the most popular among Tollywood’s young actors.

First published on: 13-03-2009 at 11:31:06 pm
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