N. T. Rama Rao Jr.

Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao Jr. (born 20 May 1983), also known as Jr NTR or Tarak, is an Indian actor, singer, and television presenter who primarily works in Telugu cinema. One of the highest paid Telugu film actors,[1][2] Rama Rao Jr. has won several accolades, including two Filmfare Awards, two state Nandi Awards, and four CineMAA Awards. Since 2012, he has featured in Forbes India Celebrity 100 list.[3]

N. T. Rama Rao Jr.
N.T.Rama Rao Jr. at the RRR Press Meet in Chennai.jpg
Rama Rao promoting RRR in Chennai, 2021
Born
Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao

(1983-05-20) 20 May 1983 (age 39)
Occupation
  • Actor
  • dancer
  • singer
  • television presenter
Years active
  • 1991, 1997 (child artist)
  • 2001–present
Spouse(s)
(m. 2011)
Children2
Parent(s)
Relatives
FamilySee Nandamuri family

Grandson of former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh N. T. Rama Rao,[4] Rama Rao Jr. starred as a child actor in Ramayanam (1997), which won the National Film Award for Best Children's Film that year. He made his debut as a lead actor with the commercial failure Ninnu Choodalani (2001). He rose to prominence with the coming-of-age film Student No. 1 (2001) and the action drama Aadi (2002).

Rama Rao Jr. established himself as a renowned actor of Telugu cinema with works such as Simhadri (2003), Rakhi (2006), Yamadonga (2007), Adhurs (2010), Brindavanam (2010), Baadshah (2013), Temper (2015), Nannaku Prematho (2016), Janatha Garage (2016), Jai Lava Kusa (2017), Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava (2018), and RRR (2022), the latter being his highest-grossing release. He won two Filmfare Awards for Best Actor – Telugu for his performances in Yamadonga and Nannaku Prematho.

Rama Rao Jr. is also notable in the television industry. In 2017, he hosted the first season of the Telugu reality TV show Bigg Boss on Star Maa. Rama Rao Jr. started hosting the fifth season of Evaru Meelo Koteeswarulu in 2021 on Gemini TV.

Early life and familyEdit

 
Rama Rao with his father Nandamuri Harikrishna at Jai Lava Kusa promotional event in 2017

Rama Rao was born on 20 May 1983 as son to film actor and politician, Nandamuri Harikrishna and Shalini Bhaskar Rao. His father is of Telugu descent and his mother is a Kannada Brahmin who hails from Kundapur, Karnataka.[5][6] He is the grandson of Telugu actor and former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, N. T. Rama Rao.[7] Initially named Tarak, he was renamed as N. T. Rama Rao on the suggestion of his grandfather.[8]

Rama Rao did his schooling at Vidyaranya High School, Hyderabad, and completed his Intermediate education at St. Mary's College, Hyderabad. He is a trained Kuchipudi dancer.[9]

He is the half-brother of actor and producer Nandamuri Kalyan Ram,[10][11] the nephew of actor and politician Nandamuri Balakrishna and former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, N. Chandrababu Naidu, and the cousin of actors Taraka Ratna, Nara Rohit and politician Nara Lokesh.

Acting careerEdit

1991–2006: Debut and initial careerEdit

Rama Rao made his debut in the film Brahmarshi Vishwamitra (1991) as a child artiste at the age of seven. Written and directed by his grandfather N. T. Rama Rao, he played the role of Bharata. After a long gap, he then played the titular role of Rama in the Gunasekhar-directed mythological film Ramayanam (1997), which won the National Film Award for Best Children's Film.[12] His performance in the film received critical appreciation.

Director K. Raghavendra Rao recommended Rama Rao to S. S. Rajamouli for his directorial debut Student No. 1 (2001) during mid-2000 after being impressed with his performance in the auditions and his previous film Ramayanam, however, the film went under production for too long. He was later signed by producer Ramoji Rao, and decided to work on the romantic drama Ninnu Choodalani which marked his debut as a lead actor. By that time, he was only 17.[7] Student No. 1, which released later, went onto be successful while Subbu (2001) was a commercial failure.[13]

In Aadi (2002) directed by debutant V. V. Vinayak, he played a man is trying to take revenge on a landlord for the death of his parents. The film was one of the highest-grossers of 2002.[14] He went to appear in other films such as B. Gopal's Allari Ramudu (2002) and A. M. Rathnam's political thriller Naaga (2003). Simhadri (2003), his second collaboration with Rajamouli, became one of the highest-grossing Telugu films of the year.[15] He sported a new look, in order to get rid of the youth one, and grew a light beard. giving him the title of Young Tiger. He later quit youth films and started experimenting with faction dramas.[16]

He next appeared in Puri Jagannadh's action drama Andhrawala (2004) created much hype but was a box office failure.[13] He then starred in action film, Samba (2004) in his second collaboration with Vinayak. Later on he played a dual role in family drama film Naa Alludu (2005) and starred in Gopal's Narasimhudu (2005) and Surender Reddy's Ashok. All the three films failed at the box office.[17] His performance in Krishna Vamsi's Rakhi (2006) is considered to be one of his finest.[18]

2007–2012: Breakthrough and career fluctuationsEdit

Rama Rao collaborated with director Rajamouli for the third time for a socio-fantasy film Yamadonga. For this film, he had to sport a new look by shedding more than 20 kg, as he used to be 94 kg. Rao played Raja, a thief who later criticizes and insults Yama and then suddenly goes into hell due to some bad acts. The film received positive reviews and made him receive Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Telugu. Actor Sobhan Babu praised Rama Rao's performance in the film. Rama Rao later signed up for the action film Kantri which was directed by debutant Meher Ramesh, a protege of Puri Jagannadh. In 2009, Rama Rao took a year hiatus to campaign for Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in the 2009 general elections.[19][20]

Rama Rao signed up for the action-comedy Adhurs, in which he played dual roles for the third time after Andhrawala, and Naa Alludu. Adhurs grossed more than 300 million.[21] He then returned to romantic films after several years in the romantic comedy Brindavanam (2011), directed by Vamsi Paidipally.[22]

Rama Rao collaborated with director Ramesh for the fantasy action film Shakti, and with director Surender Reddy for the romantic action film Oosaravelli.[23] The Boyapati Srinu-directed Dammu (2012) become an average grosser.[24]

2013–present: Commercial successesEdit

 
Jr NTR with actor Rajendra Prasad at Nannaku Prematho promotional event

In Baadshah, he sported a new look by straightening his curly hair and growing a beard, in order to suit the don image. The film became a sleeper hit. Baadshah's final figures was over 480 million in 50 days. This film was later dubbed into Hindi and Malayalam.[25] Rama Rao's next release of 2013, was the revenge drama Ramayya Vasthavayya, directed by Harish Shankar. This was the worst period in Rama Rao's career and Baadshah was the only film that gave him success. Baadshah was premiered at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2014 held in Japan.[26]

In 2015, he starred in Temper directed by director Puri Jagannadh. The film gave a much-needed success for Rama Rao, after a series of debacles and his performance as a corrupted cop Daya who turns a good doer was appreciated by audience and critics alike.[citation needed]

Following the success of Temper, Rama Rao worked in Nannaku Prematho (2016) directed by Sukumar under the production of Sri Venkateswara Cine Chitra and Reliance Entertainment. He has second Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Telugu for his performance.[27][28] NTR sported a new look with gelled up hair and long beard for the film.[29] received positive reviews from critics and audience.[citation needed] The movie eventually turned out to be the highest grosser in Rama Rao's career surpassing Baadshah with a worldwide gross of 82.7 crore (US$10 million).[30] Later in the same year, Rama Rao starred in the September release Janatha Garage, directed by Koratala Siva, where he was cast alongside the Malayalam actor Mohanlal.[31] The film registered the highest opening for a Tollywood film in 2016, and was the second highest Tollywood opening of all time, behind Baahubali: The Beginning.[citation needed] and became the highest grossing Telugu film of the year.[32]

In 2017, Rama Rao essayed a triple role in Jai Lava Kusa under the direction of K. S. Ravindra on N.T.R. Arts banner with his half-brother Nandamuri Kalyan Ram as the producer.[33] Jai Lava Kusa collected almost ₹130.90 crore worldwide and was successful at the box office[34] with critics praising his triple role performance.

In 2018, he starred in Trivikram Srinivas-directed action drama Aravinda Sametha which went become one of the highest-grossing Tollywood films of the year.[35] S. S. Rajamouli's magnum opus RRR, where Rama Rao playing 20th century freedom fighter Komaram Bheem, opened to massive success.[36][37] He will be collaborating with Koratala Siva again, after Janatha Garage, for his 30th film.[38] He has also announced his 31st film with Prashanth Neel.[39] This will be produced by Mythri Movie Makers, his second collaboration with them after Janatha Garage. It will also be produced under his home banner, N.T.R. Arts, with Nandamuri Kalyan Ram as co-producer.

Television careerEdit

Rama Rao hosted the reality show, Bigg Boss 1 that was broadcast on the Star Maa. Rama Rao's television debut was a huge success and had a record breaking ratings for Star Maa, making it the number one channel among all the shows.[40] The show began airing from 16 July 2017.[41] He has also been as a guest in Telugu reality game show Meelo Evaru Koteeswarudu[42][43] and Telugu reality dance shows Dhee 2 and Dhee 10.[44] In February 2021, he was confirmed to be the host of Evaru Meelo Koteeswarulu.[45] Later, on 10 July 2021, he joined the production of the show.[46]

Personal lifeEdit

FamilyEdit

Rama Rao married Lakshmi Pranathi, the daughter of realtor and businessman Narne Srinivasa Rao. Srinivasa Rao's wife is the niece of N. Chandrababu Naidu, who mediated the marriage.[47] Their wedding took place on 5 May 2011 in Hyderabad at Hitex Exhibition Center, Madhapur.[48] The couple has two sons.[49]

Rama Rao is popularly referred to as the Young Tiger of Tollywood in the media.[50]

Political stint and accidentEdit

Rama Rao was one of the campaigners for the Telugu Desam Party, for the 2009 Indian general election from April to May 2009 in Andhra Pradesh.[19][20][51][52][53][54] On 26 March 2009, after electioneering, en route to Hyderabad, the SUV in which he was a passenger, was struck head-on with another vehicle, at Suryapet. He and his companions were thrown out off the SUV and suffered injuries. He was treated at Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences, in Secunderabad, where he recuperated well.[55]

PhilanthropyEdit

In 2009, Rama Rao announced that he intended to donate 20 lakhs to Chief Minister's Relief Fund to take up relief operations for flood victims.[56] During Baadshah audio function in 2013, a fan died due to a heavy stampede, NTR donated 5 lakhs to his family. Rama Rao also promised to take care of his family, due to the fan's sudden demise.[57]

In 2014, Rama Rao announced that he intended to donate 20 lakhs to CM's Relief Fund to take up relief operations for victims of Cyclone Hudhud in Andhra Pradesh.[58]

Filmography, awards and nominationsEdit

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit