FOR PUBLISHING FILM NEWS, PROFILE, INTERVIEW, PREVIEW, REVIEW AND OTHER ARTICLES.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
BANKING ON TALENT - NAGARJUNA
Banking on talent
Nagarjuna bagged his third Best Actor Nandi Award 2006 for his portrayal as a devotee in Sri Ramadasu, directed by Raghavendra Rao. KK Moidu writes
The trio Raghavendra Rao-Keeravani-Bharavi proved that films like Sri Ramadasu still has a place in mainstream cinema, whereas crass commercial movies rule the box office. Sri Ramadasu not only won critical acclaim but also became a major hit at the box office. Sri Ramadasu tells a simple story that spins around Gopanna-Ramadasu, played by Nagarjuna. After marrying Kamala, Gopanna joins as a Tahsildar (village officer) in the kingdom of Tanisha. Dammakka, a tribal lady and a worshipper of Rama, saves Gopanna's life from a critical condition. Dammakka was waiting for someone who could construct a temple in Bhadragiri. She shows Bhadragiri to Gopanna and that changes his life forever. After seeing the place, Gopanna builds a temple on the hill by collecting money from the public. Because of his great bakthi or faith, he becomes Ramadasu. The enemies of Ramadasu start negative campaigns and Tanisha's dishonest brother-in-law succeeds in convincing the King against him. Tanisha, the emperor of Golkonda, believes the false news that Ramadasu has misappropriated the money of the people. The temple was constructed without the permission of the king. Ramadasu is imprisoned and the rest of the story tells how Tanisha realises the truth and frees him from jail. Nagarjuna plays the challenging roles of the film successfully — one as an unmarried happy-go-lucky man and the other as a devotee after his marriage. His skillful performance with perfect body language is the biggest strength of the film. Sri Ramadasu also won the Nandi Best Home Viewing Feature Film Award and Best Makeup Award for Ramachandra Rao. The film has 19 songs composed by MM Keeravani. Although the original tunes of Sri Ramadasu keerthanas are highly classical, Keeravani has made it simple for the common man. The songs create a perfect mood for the film and this has made him a household name in Andhra Pradesh. The story and dialogue are penned by JK Bharavi with enough research that gives it a realistic appeal. This is the third time the dynamic hero Nagarjuna has achieved the Andhra Pradesh Government's prestigious Nandi Award. He fetched his first Best Actor Nandi Award for Annamayya in 1997, for his challenging performance as Annamacharya, the legendary singer and poet of medieval times. The role also won the Special Jury National Award. Annamayya, directed by Raghavendra Rao was one of the biggest hits of the year in the Tollywood. His portrayal of Karthikeya aka Karthik in Santosham got him the Best Actor Nandi Award for the second time in 2002. Telugu actor and producer Nagarjuna is popularly known as the "dream boy" among his lady fans, even in his late 40s. He was lucky enough to work with reputed directors and prestigious banners of the industry in his more than two decades long career. His successful films like Shiva and Geethanjali were dubbed into other languages. That made him a lot of fans among Malayalam and Tamil film audiences. Telugu frontliner Nagarjuna is the son of actor Akkineni Nageshwara Rao (ANR) and Annapurna. Padma Bhushan ANR is noted for his class roles in the mid 60s, excelling in tragedy roles. Dadasaheb Phalke Award winner ANR is a Padma Shri recipient and continues acting although in his 80s. He played a pivotal role as Kabir in Sri Ramadasu. Nagarjuna was born on Aug.29, 1959. He completed his education at Hyderabad Public School, Little Flower Junior College and earned an engineering degree from a foreign university. He married former heroine Amala who has acted in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi films. Amala played the heroine opposite Nagarjuna in the superhit Shiva. Their son Akhil played the lead role as a boy in Sisindri and won awards for his performance. Nagarjuna also has another son Naga Chaitanya from his first marriage. Amala said good-bye to the tinselworld after marriage. She and Nagarjuna started the Blue Cross of Hyderabad, an organisation dedicated to animal welfare. Nagarjuna made his debut in the Telugu film industry with Vikram, a remake of the Hindi film Hero. After doing a couple of films, like his father, he played a tragedy hero's role in Majnu. Nagarjuna, with a cool and trendy hairstyle, was elevated to stardom after being paired with Sridevi in Akhari Poraatam. The film was his first big hit and completed 100 days in 12 centres. The success of Geetanjali took him into new heights as a romantic hero. Geetanjali was a pure love story directed by Mani Ratnam and the film tells the love of true friendship. Nagarjuna played the role of an easy going college student who is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Geetanjali won the Golden Lotus Award and Bangaru Nandi Award for the best popular film providing wholesome entertainment. The superhit action film Shiva followed, which deals with violence in the college campus. Shiva, the maiden directorial venture of Ram Gopal Varma, created box office history in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The success of Shiva gave him an action hero image and he became a favourite among college students. He also made a grand entry into Bollywood with the remake of the film. Crowdpuller Nagarjuna changed the industry's mindset with creative thinking and new technologies. He always encourages new directors and newcomers like Ram Gopal Varma, Krishna Vamsi etc. He delivered superhits like Gari Pellam, Hello Brother, Ninne Pelladutha etc. and is one of the "success guaranteed" heroes of the industry. Nagarjuna excels in all kinds of roles and once again proved this in Sri Ramadasu. He surprised the audience with his stylish appearance in Don, last year's release. He charmed cinegoers as Gopala Krishna, the owner of GK Constructions in the 2006 release Boss I Love You opposite Nayantara. His 2005 release Super was produced by him under home production Annapurna Studios. Nagarjuna was nominated for the Filmfare Best Actor Award for his performance in the film. Ali won the Best comedian Filmfare Award and Super was nominated as Best Film. Super was also nominated for Filmfare best director, best music director and best actress award for Puri Jagannath, Sandeep Chowta and Ayesha Takia respectively. His production venture Mass released in 2004 was also a big success. Mass, written and directed by Raghava Lawrence, collected the distributor's share in its opening week and played 100 days in 74 centres. His other release of the year Nenunnanu, written and directed by VN Aditya, was noticed for the music composed by MM Keeravani. Nagarjuna played a guest role as a modern day version of Krishna in the recently released Krishnarjuna directed by P Vasu. According to reports, Nagarjuna's forthcoming film will be directed by Sreenu Vaytla. His love interest of the film is leading south Indian actress Trisha Krishnan. Although Trisha has paired opposite senior Telugu heroes like Chiranjeevi, Venkatesh etc. this is the first time she is being paired with Nagarjuna. The frank and soft spoken Nagarjuna differs from other heroes. This is because he is not only successful as a hero in clean commercial entertainers but has also achieved success in films that value tradition and culture.