The suspected suicide of N T Rama Rao’s youngest daughter, K Uma Maheshwari, on Monday makes it the fourth child of the film star-turned-larger than life politician to die a tragic death.
NTR and wife Basvarama Tarakam, who got married in May 1943, had 12 children, including four daughters. While NTR stunned the country when he stormed to power in 1983, leading the Telugu Desam Party in its very first election, it’s his son-in-law N Chandrababu Naidu who would go on to walk away with both the party and his political legacy. NTR’s own children have remained secondary players in the TDP space, with one of NTR’s daughters moving out to forge a political career.
In the tinsel word, where they have also followed their father’s footsteps, they have had more success.
The NTR progeny to move out of the TDP circle is Daggubati Purandeswari, one of his four daughters – the others being Dr G Lokeswari, Nara Bhuvaneswari and K Uma Maheshwari. Purandewari, 63, is a general secretary in the BJP, having joined the party in 2014. Before that, she won twice as MP, having been elected from Visakhapatnam in 2009 and Bapatla in 2004 on Congress ticket, and also served as Union Minister of State. Purandeswari’s husband used to be a Congress leader before joining the YSR Congress Party of Jagan Mohan Reddy.
Dr Lokeswari is a gynaecologist, while Nara Bhuvaneswari is married to Chandrababu Naidu.
NTR lost his eldest son Ramakrishna in 1962 of ill health, and founded a studio named after him on the outskirts of Hyderabad following his death.
His second son N Jayakrishna is a film producer and businessman, based in Hyderabad. NTR’s third son Saikrishna, who owned several cinema theatres, also died due to ill health in 2004.
Fourth son Nandamuri Harikrishna found success as an actor, and starred in over a dozen films. He was a TDP Rajya Sabha member from 2008 to 2013. On August 29, 2019, Harikrishna, then 61, died in a car crash near Nalgonda in Telangana, while on his way to Vijayawada.
NTR’s fifth son Nandamuri Balakrishna is one of the most famous actors of the Telugu film industry (also known as Tollywood), with nearly a hundred films behind him, including the recent Akhanda, and several awards to his name. He had been actively campaigning for the TDP for several years, before entering politics in 2014, when he contested and won from Hindupur Assembly constituency. He won again in 2019 and is a sitting TDP MLA.
NTR’s sixth and seventh sons, Mohankrishna and Ramakrishna Junior, are film producers based out of Hyderabad.
The eight son, Nandamuri Jayashankar Krishna, owns film companies and is a film producer.