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N. T. Rama Rao or NTR was a superstar in the Telugu cinema. One of the most prominent figures in the history of Telugu film industry, NTR starred in 274 Telugu films, 15 Tamil films and three Hindi films. Several of his Telugu films were also dubbed into Tamil. NTR is the proud recipient of the Padma Shri, three National Film Awards and Rashtrapati Awards for his performances.
NTR was also a director, producer and a writer. Post his film career, NTR joined politics and founded the Telugu Desam Party in 1982. He served as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh for three terms. He was also instrumental in the formation of the National Front, a coalition of non-Congress parties.
NT Rama Rao was born as Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao on 28 May 1923 in Andhra Pradesh. He was born to Nandamuri Lakshmaih Chowdary and Venkata Ramamma. He studied in Vijayawada primarily. Instead of working as a sub-registrar in the Madras Service Commission, he devoted himself to acting. During his initial days NTR was also inclined to music.
NTR married Basava Tarakam on May 1942, and the couple had eight sons and four daughters. After the death of Basava Tarakam, NTR married Lakshmi Parvathi in the 1990s.
NTR made his film debut with the Telugu social film "Mana Desam" in 1949. During the 1950s NTR gained huge popularity for his portrayals of Hindu Gods, especially Krishna and Rama. These roles were so successful among the audience that he was referred as the "messiah of the masses". NTR essayed the role of Krishna in 17 films. NTR's first mythological film was Maya Bazaar in 1957 (where he portrayed Krishna) which became a blockbuster film of its time. NTR’s films like Sri Krishnarjuna Yudham, Karnan, Daana Veera Soora Karna, Lava Kusha, Shri Ramanjaneya Yuddham were some of the most memorable films of the actor. He also portrayed characters from the Ramayana, Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva and roles of Mahabharatha characters like Bheeshma, Karna Arjuna, and Duryodhana.
NTR’s roles as a poor yet heroic young man against the existing system were easily accepted by the masses as these roles appealed to the sentiments of the common people. Films like Devudu Chesina Manushulu, Adavi Ramudu, Driver Ramudu, Vetagadu, Sardar Papa Rayudu, Justice Chowdhary and others were super successful and super hits of their time. His portrayal of fantasy role in Yamagola received great reviews. Later NTR also gained success for his portrayal of antagonistic roles and Robin Hood-esque hero characters in films. As a writer he had written Brindadevi, Bidaai and Daana Veera Soora Karna.
NTR founded the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) on 29 March 1982 in Hyderabad and entered politics. He served as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh for three terms between 1983 and 1995 and reflected socialist and populist views in his policies. He was also an advocate of women's rights. NTR was instrumental in the formation of the National Front, a coalition of non-Congress parties. Though his political career was tightly packed, NTR acted in films from time to time.
Ill Health and Death:
NTR had not been keeping well towards the later part of his life. He died of heart attack on 18 January 1996 at his residence in Hyderabad. Huge crowds of supporters paid their tributes to this veteran superstar. Pujas were performed and processions were carried out all over Hyderabad by mourners.
Awards and Recognition:
In recognition of his contribution to cinema, the government of India conferred the Padma Shri award to NTR in 1968. NTR was awarded the National Films Award on three occasions - in 1954 for Thodu Dongalu, in 1960 for Seetharama Kalyanam and in 1970 for Varakatnam. He also received the Rashtrapati Awards in 1954 for Raju Peda and in 1963 for Lava Kusa. In 1972 he received the Filmfare Awards South for Badi Panthulu and in 1978 he received the Honorary Doctorate from Andhra University.
Instituted by the Government of Andhra Pradesh in 1996, the NTR National Award is a national award in honor of NT Rama Rao. The NTR National Literary Award is an annual award to recognize one’s contributions to Indian literature. Dr. N.T.R. University of Health Sciences was established in the honor of this legendary man. The statue of NTR has been installed on the Beach Road.
Spouse: Lakshmi Parvathi
Children: Nandamuri Harikrishna, Nandamuri Mohanakrishna, Nandamuri Balakrishna, Nandamuri Jayashankar Krishna, Garapati Lokeswari, Daggubati Purandeswari, Nara Bhuvaneswari and Kantamaneni Uma Maheswari
Grandchildren: NT Rama Rao Jr, Nandamuri Kalyan Ram, Taraka Ratna, Nandamuri Janakiram, Brahmani Nandamuri, Tejaswini Nandamuni, Mokshagna Teja, Janaki Ram Nandamuni
(FAN OF Dr. NANDAMURI TARAKA RAM RAO)
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