Indian Film Actor, director, producer, and a politician. He first gained popularity in the early 1950s as “messiah of the masses” and has become one of the most prominent figures in the history of Telugu Cinema. He made his debut as an actor in Mana Desam (1949) a Telugu social film directed by L. V. Prasad. He then continued to work in Telugu cinema, often portraying antagonistic characters and gradually rose to acting in lead roles. He is best known for his portrayals of Hindu deities, especially Lord Krishna and Lord Rama. “NTR” starred in over 320 Telugu films, that made him a mythic figure among the Telugu-speaking people of Andhra Pradesh.
He founded the Telugu Desam Party in 1982 and served 3 terms as Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh between 1983 and 1994. He was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 1968, recognizing his contribution to Telugu cinema. After his career in movies, Rao became a political activist and a political party leader. He is known as an advocate of Andhra Pradesh’s distinct cultural identity, distinguishing it from Madras State with which it was often associated. Besides Telugu, he has also acted in a few Tamil and Kannada films.
Born in Nimmakuru, a small village in Gudivada taluk on May 28, 1923, NTR had his early eduaction from tutor Valluru Subba Rao, in his native village. His parents, Venkataramamma and Laxmaiah, gave him in adoption to the latter’s brother, Ramaiah and his wife Chandramma. He studied up to Classs V in his village as there was no further education there, Ramaiah and his wife took their adopted son to Vijayawada and got him admitted into Class VI in the municipal school. He spent the following seven years in Yanamalakuduru, a small village near Vijayawada by the banks of river Krishna, at the home of D. Buchi Venkata Krishna Chowdary. He passed the matriculation examination in 1940 and joined the SRR and CVR College in Vijayawada. While doing his Intermediate course, he supplemented the family income by supplying milk to hotels in Vijayawada on his bicycle. At the end of the first year, the students decided to stage a play written by Viswanadha Satyanarayana, the well-known Telugu poet and writer and the head of the Telugu department of the college. He joined the Andhra-Christian College at Guntur for the Bachelor of Arts course in 1945. From a young age he showed an interest in singing and developed a baritone singing voice as a young man.
Career as an Actor
N. T. Rama Rao started his career playing a police inspector in the movie Mana Desam (1949). The role was offered by director L V Prasad. Next he appeared in Palletoori Pilla, directed by B. A. Subba Rao. It marked the first occasion that Rama Rao and Akkineni Nageswara Rao acted together for the first time. The title role was played by Anjali Devi and the story was loosely based on the English play, Pizaro by Richard Sherton. The film was a commercial hit and ran for more than 100 days in 6 centres. He appeared in over 320 films, although only around 292 films are often accounted for, and he became a legend in Telugu cinema. He often portrayed Hindu mythological gods or heroes, but also made an ideal villain.
He portrayed Lord Krishna in Maya Bazaar, Sri Krishnarjuna Yudham, Daana Veera Soora Karna, Lord Rama in (Lava Kusa), Bheeshma (Bheeshma) & Ravana (Bhookailasa), and Arjuna (Nartanasala). Later he became a screenwriter. Rao received no formal academic training in movie script writing. Yet he authored several screen plays for his own movies as well as for other producer’s movies.
He actively campaigned for the construction of a large number of movie theaters in rural locations and was influential in designing and implementing a financial system that funded the production and distribution of movies.
- First TermRao founded the Telugu Desam Party in 1982 and served as Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. His reason for founding the Telugu Desam Party was based on a historic need to rid the state of the corrupt and inept Congress rule. When he started his political career he was already a very popular actor in the Telugu film industry. Rama Rao was unanimously elected leader of Telugu Dasam Legislature Party on January 8, 1983 with 10 cabinet ministers and five ministers of State. He became the 10th Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and was reelected three times between 1983 and 1994.To promote the Telugu Desam Party, Rama Rao travelled across the state of Andhra Pradesh, crisscrossing all the districts, in his van dubbed “Chaitanya Ratham” (Chaitanyam literally means bringing to life or movement). With his son Hari Krishna as a driver, Rama Rao notched up over 75,000 kilometres during his 1982 campaign, a distinctive sight with the van’s yellow party flags and banners and Rao sitting on top of the vehicle hailing the crowds. Rama Rao campaigned for restoring the dignity of the Telugu people and advocated the forming a closer bond between the government and the common people, going into the elections with the slogan, Telugu vari Atma Gauravam, meaning “Telugu people’s self-respect. He reflected socialist views in several of his policies in that he believed that state must take care of the people that are below poverty line and everyone must have their basic necessities fulfilled. He campaigned to secure basic necessities such as home, clothes and food for the people and to provide subsidies on clothes and houses to the needy. He was also an advocate of women’s rights and worked on a bill to amend inheritance law to provide equal rights for women to inherit ancestral property, enacted later, in 1986.Rama Rao’s extensive tour in the Chaitanya Ratham vehicle helped to successfully mobilize people and recruit potential leaders and members for his newly founded party. The Congress Party, then in power, panicked at the response and replaced the Chief Minister Bhavanam Venkataram with a more experienced and seasoned leader, Kotla Vijaya Bhaskara Reddy. Reddy, who was Chief Minister for just over 3 months, could not secure victory for the Congress Party in the ensuing elections in January 1983. The newly formed Telugu Desam Party won with significant margins in all three regions of the State (Coastal Andhra, Rayala Seema, and Telengana), winning over 200 seats in the 294 seat State Assembly against 56 seats by the Congress Party. Rama Rao himself contested elections from two constituencies, Tirupathi in Chittor District and Gudivada in Krishna district, and won both the seats.On Independence Day, 15 August 1984, NTR was removed from office by the then governor Ramlal. His finance minister, Nadendla Bhaskara Rao, a former Congress man, was made the Chief Minister by the Ramlal. Bhaskar Rao purportedly had the support of majority MLAs (Members of Legislative Assembly of Andhra Pradesh) which was never the case. Rama Rao disputed the claims by Bhaskara Rao and demonstrated his strength by bringing all the MLAs supporting him, which was a majority in the 294 member assembly, to the Raj Bhavan (Governor’s Office). Governor Ramlal did not relent and Rama Rao campaigned for restoration of democracy by mobilizing the support of people and various political parties in the country including Janata Party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), and National Conference. During the one month crisis, the MLAs supporting Rama Rao were secured in a secret place to avoid horse-trading. Due to mobilization of several political parties and the people and due to bad press, Indira Gandhi, then Prime Minister and head of Congress Party, unwillingly removed Governor Ramlal and appointed a congress party veteran, Shankar Dayal Sharma, as governor of Andhra Pradesh to pave the way for restoring Rama Rao. Shankar Dayal Sharma removed Bhaskara Rao from power and restored Rama Rao as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh in September 1984. He recommended dissolution of the Assembly and called for new elections in the state to ensure the people had a fresh choice to elect their representatives.In the following month, on 31 October 1984, Indira Gandhi was assassinated. Rajiv Gandhi became Prime Minister in her place. In the ensuing national elections to the Lok Sabha, the Congress party won convincingly all over the country except in Andhra Pradesh where Rama Rao’s Telugu Desam party secured a landslide victory. Senior Leaders of Congress party including Brahmananda Reddy, a former Chief Minister, and Vijaya Bhaskara Reddy, a former Chief Minister, lost in their constituencies of Narasarao Pet and Kurnool respectively to the Telugu Desam Party. Telugu Desam became the main opposition party in the Lok Sabha.
- Second TermThe Telugu Desam Party operations were significantly computerized and a systematic local party structure was built and this resulted in the establishment of a stable second political party that survived his death. Rao introduced the concept of strong states with a strong center in his discussions about state power with Gandhi and ushered in a new era of empowered local governments, within the framework of India.He suffered a mild stroke and was unable to campaign in the 1989 election, which he lost.
- Third TermN.T. Rama Rao returned to power in 1994 winning 226 seats for his party and his allies in a 294 seat Assembly. Congress party won only 26 seats. The BJP which contested 280 seats on its own won just three seats. In 1995, he was ousted from power by an internal revolution led by his son-in-law Nara Chandrababu Naidu, who became the president of the party and the chief minister of the state.
In May 1942, when he was 20, Rama Rao married Basava Tarakam, the daughter of his maternal uncle. The couple had eight sons and four daughters. Prominent among his children are Telugu cine star Nandamuri Balakrishna, TeluguDesam party leaderNandamuri HarikrishnaM.P(Rajyasabha), notable cinematographer jayakrishna, Late. Nandamuri Saikrishna, Late. Ramakrishna, Jayashankarakrishna, Mohanakrishna, to commemorate his son late ramakrishna,NTR started studio at Nacharam, named after ramakrishna horticultural cine art studio. Telugu cine star Nandamuri Tarak RamaRao Jr NTR, is NTR grand-son and son of Harikrishna and Shalini. Other grandsons are Kalyan ram, Taraka ratna. Bhuvaneswari, wife of Nara Chandrababu Naidu, the former chief minister of AP for 9 years, Daggubati Purandeswari, MP and a Minister of State for Human Resources in Manmohan Singh’s cabinet, Nandamuri Balakrishna a prominent actor in the Telugu film industry, and Nandamuri Harikrishna, an actor turned politician and a member of Rajya Sabha (upper house of India’s Parliament). She died of cancer in 1985. There is a cancer Hospital established in her memory in Hyderabad. NTR remarried in 1993 at the age of 70. NTR later took a second wife, Lakshmi Parvathi who after being widowed and the succession of TDP by Nara Chandra Babu Naidu founded her own party called the NTR Telugu Desam Party (Lakshmi Parvathi). Prominent among NTR‘s grandchildren are Jr N. T. Rama Rao , Kalyan Ram and Taraka Ratna, all three are actors in Telugu cinema.
NTR National Award
NTR National Award is a National level Award instituted in the honor of Sri.N.T.Rama Rao by the state of Andhra Pradesh government. The NTR National Award is an annual award to recognize people for their lifetime achievements and contributions to the Indian film industry. It is an award considered in prestige next only to Dadasaheb Phalke Award for film industry personalities in India. The Award carries a cash prize of 500,000/- and a memento. The award has been given since 1996.
- National Film Award
- 1961 – National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu – Certificate of Merit – Seetharama Kalyanam – NTR
- 1968 – National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu – Silver Medal – Varakatnam – NTR
- Special Honours
- Padmashri Award from Government Of India
- 1978 — Honorary Doctorate from Andhra University.
- Filmfare Best Actor Award (Telugu)
- 1972 — Best Actor for Badi Panthulu
Source: Wikipedia.org, Posted August 7th, 2011.