Naga Chaitanya

Akkineni Naga Chaitanya (born 23 November 1986) is an Indian actor who primarily works in Telugu cinema. He made his acting debut with Josh (2009) and his breakthrough came with Gautham Vasudev Menon-directed Ye Maaya Chesave (2010). He has won several film awards including Filmfare Award for Best Male Debut – South, Nandi Award for Best Supporting Actor and SIIMA Award for Best Actor (Critics).[1]

Naga Chaitanya
Naga Chaitanya at CBL Telugu Thunders team jersey launch (cropped).jpg
Naga Chaitanya at CBL Telugu Thunders team jersey launch
Born
Akkineni Naga Chaitanya

(1986-11-23) 23 November 1986 (age 35)
Other namesChay
Alma materSt. Mary's College, Hyderabad
OccupationActor
Years active2009–present
Spouse
(m. 2017; div. 2021)
Parents
FamilySee Daggubati–Akkineni family

In his initial years he appeared in successful films including 100% Love (2011), Tadakha (2013) and Manam (2014) along with few films that did not perform well.[2] Chaitanya is known for his notable work in films such as Premam (2016), Majili (2019), Venky Mama (2019), Love Story (2021) and Bangarraju (2022).[3]

He married actress Samantha Ruth Prabhu in October 2017, but they got separated in October 2021.[4]

Early lifeEdit

 
Chaitanya with Nagarjuna and Amala

Chaitanya was born on 23 November 1986 in Hyderabad to actor Akkineni Nagarjuna and Lakshmi Daggubati.[5][6] His paternal grandfather, actor Akkineni Nageswara Rao and his maternal grandfather, producer D. Ramanaidu are prominent figures in Telugu cinema.[7] Chaitanya's parents got divorced when he was a child. Both his parents later remarried. While Nagarjuna married former actress Amala Mukherjee, Lakshmi married Sharath Vijayaraghavan, a corporate executive at Sundaram Motors.[8] Chaitanya has a paternal half-brother, actor Akhil Akkineni[9] and a maternal step brother.[10] His maternal uncle Venkatesh and first cousins Rana Daggubati, Sumanth and Sushanth are also actors.[11]

Chaitanya grew up in Chennai, where he was raised for 18 and a half years.[12] He was educated at Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan, Chennai[13] and at AMM School, Chennai.[13] He then completed his graduation from St. Mary's College, Hyderabad.[14] He expressed his desire to Nagarjuna to take up acting as his profession during his second year in college.[15] He enrolled in a three-month acting course in Mumbai. He received further training in acting and martial arts in Los Angeles, apart from taking voice and dialogue coaching for one year before making his acting debut.[16]

CareerEdit

Debut and breakthrough (2009–2012)Edit

Chaitanya debuted in 2009 with the film Josh, directed by Vasu Varma, in which he played a college student.[17] Rediff.com wrote: "As a debutant, Naga Chaitanya has performed well. He has his moments where he's proven himself. There is always scope for improvement and one hopes that he will hone his skills in the years to come."[18] Chaitanya won the Filmfare Award South for Best Male Debut.[19]

He next starred in the 2010 romantic drama Ye Maaya Chesave, directed by Gautham Vasudev Menon, which was simultaneously shot in Tamil as Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa, with a different cast and climax.[20] He played a Hindu Telugu assistant director who falls in love with a Christian Malayali girl. A reviewer from Sify.com wrote: "Naga Chaitanya is at home in romantic scenes. His asset is his voice and his casual acting style. Chaitanya has improved his performance from his first film. He can now confidently act in more romantic films and strengthen his position." However, the reviewer felt that he should concentrate on his looks as he felt that Chaitanya looked "very boyish".[21] The film was a success at the box office and went on to receive a cult status.[15][22] He also received a nomination for Filmfare Award South for Best Actor Male.[23][24]

After Ye Maaya Chesave, he paired up with Sukumar in 2011 for another love story titled 100% Love, in which he played a studious and egotistical college student who is the top ranker of his college. His next film was Dhada (2011). The film's story is based on an engineering graduate student who was to complete his studies in the US and return to India in another 10 days. The Times of India wrote: "After good performances in his last two films, Naga Chaitanya doesn't live up to expectations. He has the same expression stuck on his face throughout the movie."[25]

His next release that year was Bejawada, directed by Vivek Krishna. The film saw Chaitanya portraying the role of a college student-turned-gangster. The film received negative reviews, with critics calling it his worst film.[26][27] His performance was also panned by critics. The Times of India wrote: "This film might have even outdone "Dhada", in being called the worst film of Chaitanya's career. While the young actor still needs to work on his facial expressions, he was saddled with a poorly sketched character in this film, devoid of all heroism, and he fails to rise above it."[28]

Career fluctuation with few successes (2013–2018)Edit

Chaitanya's next film, Tadakha in 2013, was an official remake of N. Lingusamy's Tamil action film Vettai. The Hindu wrote: "Naga Chaitanya shows tremendous improvement even his last outing, the debacle called Bejawada. He is in sync with his role, exudes over confidence and seems to have had funny stunt sequences and comic portions. Reprising a role played by an established actor like Arya is no mean task and Chaitanya pulls it off rather well."[29] The film was commercially successful, giving the actor a much needed break.[30]

In 2014, Chaitanya appeared in the period-drama Manam, which also featured his grandfather, Akkineni Nageswara Rao, and father, Nagarjuna.[31] He played two roles in the film, which were of a middle class father in 1983 and a happy-go-lucky college student. Deccan Chronicle wrote: "Naga Chaitanya has done a decent job and compared to his earlier films he matured a lot as an actor."[32] Sify.com wrote "There is lot of improvement in Naga Chaitanya's acting. He looks natural and has done justice to his role."[33]

His next release was the political-drama Autonagar Surya, directed by Deva Katta, in which he played Surya, a skilled mechanic.[34] Upon release, the film received mixed reviews from critics, who however appreciated Chaitanya's performance in the film calling it one of his best efforts. The film ended up as a flop.[35] The Hindu wrote: "One rarely gets to see Naga Chaitanya smiling in this film. Chaitanya brings in the right amount of grit and intensity required for his role and shows that he can carry a film on his shoulders with the help of an able director."[36]

He later starred in romantic comedy Oka Laila Kosam. The Times of India wrote, "Oka Laila Kosam is a simple love story which doesn't quite leave you with a big smile on your face, but it has enough mojo, if you are a big sucker for romance."

In 2015, he played the lead in the action-crime drama Dohchay, directed by Sudheer Varma. Later that year, he was brought aboard for Gautham Vasudev Menon's bilingual romantic thriller film Sahasam Swasaga Sagipo.

In 2016, he starred in the remake of the 2015 Malayalam cult-romantic film Premam, of the same name, alongside Shruti Hassan. After the success of Premam, his next release was Sahasam Swasaga Sagipo, released two days after demonetization,[37] received positive reviews.[38][39][40] and won him critical acclaim but no commercial success.[41]

In 2017, he had two releases. The family drama Rarandoi Veduka Chudham, directed by Kalyan Krishna and the thriller film Yuddham Sharanam.[42][43]

In 2018, he starred in a brief role in the Savitri's biopic, Mahanati, directed by Nag Ashwin, which was a huge hit. He played his grandfather Nageswara Rao. In the same year, he starred in Maruthi-directed Shailaja Reddy Alludu alongside Anu Emmanuel and Ramya Krishna. The Times of India wrote, "Some preaching, some family drama, some humour and Shailaja Reddy Alludu plays safe for a festive release." Two months later, his next film, the thriller Savyasachi directed by Chandoo Mondeti featured Chaitanya in the role of an ambidextrous man.

Acclaimed success and further career (2019–present)Edit

In 2019, Chaitanya featured in Majili along with his then wife Samantha Akkineni in their fourth film together. With a gross of 700 million (equivalent to 740 million or US$9.3 million in 2020), Majili become the highest-grossing film in Chaitanya's career.[44] Later that year, he starred in Venky Mama alongside his maternal uncle Venkatesh. The film directed by K. S. Ravindra, and produced by his uncle D. Suresh Babu was a profitable venture, grossing 720 million (equivalent to 760 million or US$9.5 million in 2020).[45]

In 2021, he starred in the film Love Story with Sai Pallavi. His performance was called one of his best by Neeshita Nyayapati of The Times of India[46] and Hindustan Times's Haricharan Pudipeddi stated: "In spite of the hurried climax and the predictable ending, the film works to a large extent because of its sensible treatment and earnest performances of Naga Chaitanya and Sai Pallavi, who complement each other so well."[47]

In 2022, Chaitanya appeared in Bangarraju along with his father, Nagarjuna. Anji Shetty of Sakshi stated that Nagarjuna and he were the core strength of the film.[48] The film received mixed reviews but was a commercial success.[49] He next appeared in Thank You with Raashi Khanna.[50] The film received mixed to negative reviews, Neeshita Nyayapati of The Times of India wrote "Thank You doesn’t offer anything fresh in terms of the story or the performances".[51][52]

Upcoming projects

Chaitanya will make his Hindi film debut in 2022 with Laal Singh Chaddha.[53][54] He will also appear in Venkat Prabhu's Telugu-Tamil bilingual film. It will mark his Tamil debut.[55] Chaitanya will make his web debut with Vikram Kumar's web series Dhootha.[56] He also has a film with Parasuram in the pipeline.[57]

Personal lifeEdit

 
Chaitanya and Samantha with Nagarjuna and Venkatesh at their wedding reception in 2017

After being in a relationship since November 2015, Chaitanya got engaged to actress Samantha Ruth Prabhu on 29 January 2017.[58] Later that year, they married in Goa, in a Hindu religious ceremony on 6 October and a Christian ceremony on 7 October. Both were private ceremonies, where only close friends and family were present. The public knew them as "ChaySam".[59][60] After much speculated rumours, Chaitanya and Samantha announced their separation on 2 October 2021, ending their four years of marriage.[61]

In the mediaEdit

Chaitanya is one of the most popular and highest paid Telugu actors.[62] He has featured on Hyderabad Times Most Desirable Men list various times. He ranked 12th in 2017,[63] 7th in 2018,[64] 11th in 2019[65] and 6th in 2020.[66]

FilmographyEdit

FilmsEdit

Key
  Denotes films that have not yet been released
  • All films are in Telugu unless otherwise noted
Year Title Role(s) Notes Ref.
2009 Josh Sathya
2010 Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa Himself Tamil film; Cameo appearance
Ye Maaya Chesave Karthik
2011 100% Love Balu Mahendra
Dhada Vishwa
Bejawada Shiva Krishna
2013 Tadakha Karthik
2014 Manam Nagarjuna / Radha Mohan Dual role
Autonagar Surya Surya
Oka Laila Kosam Karthik
2015 Dohchay Chandu
Krishnamma Kalipindi Iddarini Himself Cameo appearance
2016 Premam Vikram Vatsalya
Aatadukundam Raa Himself Cameo appearance
Sahasam Swasaga Saagipo DCP Rajinikanth Muralidhar
2017 Rarandoi Veduka Chudham Shiva
Yuddham Sharanam Arjun
2018 Mahanati Akkineni Nageswara Rao Cameo appearance [67]
Shailaja Reddy Alludu Chaitanya (Chaithu)
Savyasachi Vikram Aditya
2019 Majili Poorna Chandra Rao
Oh! Baby Young Chanti Cameo appearance
Venky Mama Capt. Karthik Shivaram Veeramachineni
2021 Love Story Revanth [68]
2022 Bangarraju Chinna Bangarraju [69]
Thank You Abhiram [70]
Laal Singh Chaddha Balaraju Bodi Hindi film [71]
TBA Untitled Venkat Prabhu film   TBA Simultaneously shot in Tamil; Filming [72]

Web seriesEdit

Year Title Role(s) Platform Notes Ref.
2022 Dootha  Sagar Amazon Prime Video Filming [73]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Akkineni Naga Chaitanya awards and nominations
 
Chaitanya at South Filmfare Awards
Totals[a]
Wins9
Nominations14
Note
  1. ^ Certain award groups do not simply award one winner. They recognize several different recipients, have runners-up, and have third place. Since this is a specific recognition and is different from losing an award, runner-up mentions are considered wins in this award tally. For simplification and to avoid errors, each award in this list has been presumed to have had a prior nomination.
Year Award Category Film Result Ref.
2009 CineMAA Awards Best Male Debut Josh Won [74]
Filmfare Awards South Best Male Debut – South Won
2010 Best Actor – Telugu Ye Maaya Chesave Nominated
CineMAA Awards Best Actor Nominated
South Scope Cinema Awards Rising Star of South Won
2012 SIIMA Awards Best Actor – Telugu 100% Love Nominated
2014 Manam Nominated [75]
Best Actor (Critics) Won [76][77]
Nandi Awards Best Supporting Actor Won [78]
2016 TSRTV9 National Film Awards Special Appreciation Award Premam Won [79]
2017 Filmfare Awards South Best Actor – Telugu Nominated [80]
15th Santosham Film Awards Best Actor Won
Zee Golden Awards Entertainer Of The Year Rarandoi Veduka Chudham Nominated [81]
2019 TSRTV9 National Film Awards Special Jury Award Shailaja Reddy Alludu Won [82]

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External linksEdit