Nandamuri Balakrishna (born 10 June 1960), widely known as Balakrishna and Balayya is an Indian actor, producer and politician known for his works in Telugu cinema.[2][3] Balakrishna is an elected member of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly from Hindupuram constituency since 2014.[4] The sixth son of veteran actor and former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh N. T. Rama Rao, Balakrishna made his debut as a child artist at the age of 14 with the film Tatamma Kala (1974).[5][6] Balakrishna is a recipient of three state Nandi Awards and one South Indian International Movie Award.[7] In 2012, Balakrishna was the chief guest at the 43rd IFFI.[8] Currently He serves as the Chairman of Basavatarakam Indo-American Cancer Hospital and Research Center in Hyderabad.[9]

Nandamuri Balakrishna
Balakrishna in 2012
Member of Legislative Assembly
Andhra Pradesh
Assumed office
2014
Preceded byP. Abdul Ghani
ConstituencyHindupuram
Personal details
Born (1960-06-10) 10 June 1960 (age 63)
Madras, Madras State, India (present-day Chennai, Tamil Nadu)
Political partyTelugu Desam Party (TDP)
Spouse
Vasundhara Devi
(m. 1982)
Children3
Parents
Relatives
EducationNizam College, Hyderabad
Occupation
  • Actor
  • producer
  • politician
  • businessman

Known for his dancing skills, Balakrishna starred in more than hundred feature films in a variety of roles.[10] He achieved commercial success, with works such as Sahasame Jeevitham (1984), Janani Janmabhoomi (1984), Mangammagari Manavadu (1984), Apoorva Sahodarulu (1986), Muvva Gopaludu (1987), Muddula Mavayya (1989), Nari Nari Naduma Murari (1990), Lorry Driver (1990), Aditya 369 (1991), Rowdy Inspector (1992), Bangaru Bullodu (1993), Bhairava Dweepam (1994), Peddannayya (1997), Samarasimha Reddy (1999), Narasimha Naidu (2001), Lakshmi Narasimha (2004), Simha (2010), Legend (2014), Akhanda (2021) and Bhagavanth Kesari (2023).

Balakrishna experimented with biographical, historical and hagiographical films. He played poet Vemulawada Bheemakavi in Vemulawada Bheemakavi (1976); Abhimanyu in Daana Veera Soora Karna (1977); Jahangir in Akbar Salim Anarkali (1979); Narada in Sri Tirupati Venkateswara Kalyanam (1979); Sidda in Srimadvirat Veerabrahmendra Swami Charitra (1984); Krishnadevaraya in Aditya 369 (1991); Satya Harischandra and Dushyanta in Brahmarshi Vishwamitra (1991); Lord Krishna and Arjuna in Sri Krishnarjuna Vijayam (1996); Pundarika in Pandurangadu (2008); N. T. Rama Rao in NTR: Mahanayakudu (2019) and NTR: Kathanayakudu (2019); and Lord Rama in Sri Rama Rajyam (2011) featured at the 42nd IFFI.[11]

In his 100th film, he played Gautamiputra Satakarni, second-century ruler of the Satavahana dynasty in the epic war film Gautamiputra Satakarni (2017) featured at the first "Edinburgh Festival of Indian Films and Documentaries".[12][13] Balakrishna has received three state Nandi Awards for Best Actor for his works in Narasimha Naidu (2001), Simha (2010), and Legend (2014).[14]

Early life and family edit

Nandamuri Balakrishna was born on 10 June 1960 in Madras (present-day Chennai, Tamil Nadu) to Telugu actor and three-time Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh N. T. Rama Rao and his wife Basavatarakam.[15][16] As the Telugu film industry was based in Madras at that time, he spent his entire childhood in Madras. During his adolescence, he moved to Hyderabad following the shift of the Telugu film industry to that city.[citation needed] He earned a bachelor's degree in commerce from Nizam College, Hyderabad.[17][when?]

In 1982, at the age of 22, Balakrishna married Vasundhara Devi, and they have three children.[18]

Acting career edit

Starting years (1974) edit

Balakrishna made his acting debut as a child artiste in Tatamma Kala, which was directed by N. T. Rama Rao, his father. He acted in several films, many of which were directed by his father, including Daana Veera Soora Karna (1977), Sri Madvirata Parvam (1979), Akbar Salim Anarkali (1979) and Sri Tirupati Venkateswara Kalyanam (1979). At the age of 16, he acted in a movie titled Annadammula Anubandham (1975), a remake of Dharmendra's Hindi movie Yaadon Ki Baaraat, and played a brother to his real life father, Rama Rao. Balakrishna appeared as son to his real life brother Nandamuri Harikrishna in the movie Dana Veera Sura Karna.

In 1984, he debuted in an adult role with Sahasame Jeevitham. He then starred in the drama film Mangammagari Manavadu the same year, alongside Bhanumathi and Suhasini, directed by Kodi Ramakrishna. In the same year, he acted in Kathanayakudu and in the biographical film Shrimad Virat Veerabrahmendra Swami Charitra. He also appeared in Janani Janmabhoomi in 1984, directed by K. Viswanath. In 1985, he acted with Akkineni Nageswara Rao in the film Bharyabhartala Bandham, alongside Rajani. In 1986, he acted in movies such as Muddula Krishnaiah, Seetharama Kalyanam, Anasuyamma Gari Alludu and Deshoddharakudu, which gradually increased his potential at the box office.[vague]

1987–1999 edit

In 1987, Balakrishna acted in a dual role in the film Apoorva Sahodarulu, directed by K. Raghavendra Rao. In the same year, he starred in President Gari Abbai, directed by T. Rama Rao and Muvva Gopaludu, by Kodi Ramakrishna.[19] His other films like Inspector Pratap, Bharatamlo Bala Chandrudu, Tiragabadda Telugubidda, Raktabhishekam were also successful at the box office.[citation needed] In 1989, he paired with Vijayashanti in Muddula Mavayya directed by Kodi Ramakrishna. In 1990, he acted in Nari Nari Naduma Murari, directed by A. Kodandarami Reddy, alongside Shobana and Nirosha. In the same year, he appeared in B. Gopal's Lorry Driver, opposite Vijayashanti.[20]

In 1991, he acted in science fiction film Aditya 369, directed by Singeetam Srinivasa Rao. This was the only science fiction film in Telugu cinema during that period of time.[citation needed] He then had two releases in 1992, Dharma Kshetram with Divya Bharathi and Rowdy Inspector, directed by B. Gopal.[21] In 1993, he had two releases on the same day, which are Nippu Ravva, alongside Shobana and Vijayashanti, directed by A. Kodandarami Reddy; Bangaru Bullodu, alongside Raveena Tandon and Ramya Krishna, directed by Ravi Raja Pinisetty. His next appearance was a role in Bhairava Dweepam in 1994, directed by Singeetam Srinivasa Rao. In Brahmarshi Viswamitra, directed by NTR, he played as Satya Harischandra and Dushyanta. Between 1994 and 1999, he acted in movies such as Bobbili Simham, Vamsanikokkadu, Peddannayya and moderate successes[citation needed] such as Top Hero, Muddula Mogudu, Maato Pettukoku, Raana and Pavitra Prema. In the year 1999, he acted in B. Gopal's action film Samarasimha Reddy, opposite Simran and Anjala Zhaveri.

2000–2009 edit

In 2000, Balakrishna acted in Goppinti Alludu, directed by E. V. V. Satyanarayana with Simran. In 2001, he starred in the B. Gopal-directed faction film Narasimha Naidu, opposite Simran once again. The film became the highest-grossing Telugu film of all time until the record was broken by Chiranjeevi's Indra, which was also directed by B. Gopal.[citation needed] Balakrishna won his first Nandi Award for Best Actor for his performance.[22] In the same year, he appeared in Bhalevadivi Basu with Shilpa Shetty and Anjala Zaveri.[23] His 2002 and 2003 films include Seema Simham and Chennakesava Reddy. The former received unfavourable reviews and was a box office flop, but the latter one was critically and financially successful.[24] In 2004, he performed in a remake of the 2003 Tamil film Saamy, titled Lakshmi Narasimha, with Asin. The film and Balakrishna's performance won critical acclaim and was a financial success.[25][26] During the period, he also announced plans to act and direct in the remake of Nartanasala, starred by his father, and a launch event was held in Hyderabad in March 2003. Produced by Pusapati Lakshmipati Raju, the film was announced to have an ensemble cast also featuring Soundarya, Srihari, Saikumar, Uday Kiran and Asin in lead roles.[27] However, despite a grand launch, the film was later shelved following the sudden demise of Soundarya.[28]

The years from 2005 to 2009 saw action-drama flicks such as Vijayendra Varma, Veerabhadra, Allari Pidugu, Okka Magaadu and Maharathi which did not perform well at the box office.[29] He paired with Sneha and Tabu in the mythological movie Pandurangadu (2008), directed by K. Raghavendra Rao. He played the dual roles of Krishna and Panduranga.[30] Rediff described his performance as "Balakrishna does justice to both the roles of God and Ranga. He shines in the climax of the movie. It's quite a task to step into NTR's shoes, but his son has done pretty well, though one does miss NTR in the role of Krishna!".[31] The film was an average success and his performance won him the Santosham Best Actor Award.[32] In the year 2009, he starred in the family drama Mitrudu, alongside Priyamani in a slightly different role – that of a dependable friend and confidante to the female lead. The film opened to average reviews.[33]

2010–present edit

In 2010, Balakrishna acted in Boyapati Srinu's film Simha, alongside Nayantara and Sneha Ullal. He played a dual role as father and son. The film opened to positive reviews,[34] and went on to become the highest-grossing Telugu film of the year.[35] A review in Rediff said about his performance: "Balakrishna has put in a restrained performance. Though his character is supposed to roar at times, he seems subdued most of the time. But he's given plenty to be pleased about as it is his show all the way."[36] In 2011, he acted in the mythological film Sri Rama Rajyam, based on the epic Ramayana. He played a triple role in the 2012 action drama Adhinayakudu as grandfather, father and grandson. Balakrishna was the chief guest for the 43rd International Film Festival of India, 2012.[37] In 2014, he acted in Boyapati Srinu's film Legend, alongside Sonal Chauhan and Jagapathi Babu. He played the title role in the biographical and historical film Gautamiputra Satakarni, his 100th film. The film is directed by Krish and is based on the life of the 2nd century ruler of the Satavahana dynasty, Gautamiputra Satakarni.[12] In 2018, he acted in Jai Simha, which was directed by K. S. Ravikumar and started shooting for the N.T.R. biopic in which he reprised the role of his father. The film was made in two parts, the first part NTR: Kathanayakudu was released on 9 January 2019, with the second NTR: Mahanayakudu on 22 February 2019.[38][39][40] His 2021 movie Akhanda marks third collaboration with director Boyapati Srinu, featuring his dual role as Aghori Baba and a farmer. It was a super hit at the box office.[41] In 2023, Nandamuri Balakrishna starred in the Telugu film Bhagavanth Kesari.[42]

International Film Festival of India (IFFI) edit

In 2012 the Governor of Goa, B. V. Wanchoo, the Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and Balakrishna were seen along with award winners and other dignitaries at the closing ceremony of the 43rd edition of the IFFI. Balakrishna, in his speech, said that although the Telugu film industry finds no place in the film festival by way of representation its films, 80 percent of the movies that are produced in India are in regional languages, out of which Fifty percent are from South India. "Today, film industry is facing competition from radio, and television as also from piracy," he stated. He also maintained that the film festivals have enlarged his vision towards his career.[citation needed]

Political career edit

Since the founding of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in 1982, Balakrishna campaigned for it in every election for Rama Rao and Chandrababu Naidu, but did not enter the electoral battle until 2014. During a vacation to his father-in-law's house, he went on a political campaign for TDP all over the East Godavari district. He contested in the 2014 Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly election and won the Hindupur Assembly Constituency seat with a reasonable majority.[43] Hindupur, in Anantapur district, has been a stronghold for TDP since 1983. It was once represented by his father and later for a term by his elder brother, Nandamuri Harikrishna. Balakrishna is the third member from the family to represent it in the State Assembly.[44]

Controversies edit

Balakrishna was involved in a shootout controversy which took place on 3 June 2004 around 8:50 PM at his residence in Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad. He allegedly fired shots at producer Bellamkonda Suresh and his associate, Satyanarayana Chowdhary. Later, both the wounded were admitted into Apollo hospital.[45] The circumstances under which the case was handled led to controversy as purported by the Human Rights Forum (HRF). The HRF questioned the authenticity of people who handled the case, and the circumstances under which Balakrishna was shielded from police by being given refuge in Care Hospital without any justifiable cause.[46]

The two victims gave statements before the magistrate, alleging that Balakrishna fired shots at them, but later retracted their earlier statements.[47] Balakrishna was later arrested on 6 June and produced before Fifth Metropolitan Magistrate. A show cause notice was also served to Balakrishna's wife Vasundhara Devi as the weapon used was registered to her, and she could not give sufficient protection to her weapon. Later, Balakrishna was granted bail on the conditions that he should not leave Hyderabad without the court's permission and to surrender his passport.[48][49]

He was accused of sexual harrasment by an contestant (a former actress) in the reality show Bigg Boss (Tamil season 7). Further she said she left the industry after this incident.[50][51]

Filmography edit

Awards edit

Nandi Awards
CineMAA Awards
  • CineMAA Award for Best Actor - Male – Simha (2010)[53]
Santosham Film Awards
TSR National Awards
SIIMA Awards
Other Awards
  • Samman Award – Highest taxpayer in the charge of Commissioner of Income Tax.[60]
  • Bharata Muni award for Best Actor of the year 2009 – Pandurangadu
  • Bharata Muni award Best Actor of the year 2010 – Simha[61]
  • Bharata Muni award Best Actor of the year 2011 – Sri Rama Rajyam[62]
  • A.P. CINE Goers Association Best Actor Award – Narasimha Naidu[63] Chennakesava Reddy[64] and Pandurangadu.[65]
  • Akkineni Abhinaya Puraskaram for the year 2007[66]
  • South Indian Cinematographers Awards 2015 Best Actor –Legend
Nominations
Filmfare Awards South

References edit

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External links edit