Uncredited Roles To Owning Studios, Similarities In NTR And Nageswara Rao’s Careers
If we talk about stalwarts of Telugu cinema, the first two names that come to mind are undoubtedly Nandamuri Tarak Rama Rao and Akkineni Nageswara Rao. Both the actors have left behind a legacy that has been carried forward by their families. While NT Rama Rao’s legacy is kept alive by his son Nandamuri Balakrishna and grandson Junior NTR, Akkineni Nageswara Rao has been succeeded by his son Akkineni Nagarjuna and grandson Naga Chaitanya. Being equally revered by generations of Telugu audiences, NTR and ANR, as they were fondly called, had a few similarities throughout their entertainment careers. Let us take a look at some of them as we explore their cinematic journeys.
In 1932, Nageswara Rao entered the film industry, and he was followed by NT Rama Rao 7 years later. It is indeed a strange coincidence that both the legends started their careers playing female characters on stage. While Nageswara Rao appeared as Chandramati in the play Harishchandra, NT Rama Rao played the role of Nagamma in the drama Rachamallu Douthyam in 1940 during his college days. These roles were stepping stones for them to foray into the film industry.
Another common aspect of both their careers was that both of them were uncredited in their first-ever roles in the film industry. ANR’s first film was Dharmapatni and NTR’s first movie was Manadesam, both of which featured the superstars respectively in uncredited supporting roles.
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After achieving stardom in the Telugu film industry, both the stalwarts, just 6 months apart, established their studios in Hyderabad and set an example for others. ANR established Annapurna Studios, while NTR established Ramakrishna Cine Studios.
It is noteworthy that half of the films released during the first decade of the Golden Age starred these two actors. NTR and ANR even shared the screen space quite a few times, appearing in 14 films together. No two leading actors have starred in so many films together.
Both the stars started a new era of cinema and the word ‘superstar’ was coined for the first time to describe them in the Telugu industry. For their contribution to Indian cinema, both were simultaneously honoured by the Indian government with the Padma Shri on January 26, 1968.
Although both of them shared a good bond, ANR decided to stay away from politics even as NTR took the political plunge and invited his friend, time and again, to join him. ANR was also offered important positions when NTR took over as Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, but he turned them down. There was also an alleged rift between them when reports about NTR ordering to seize ANR’s Annapurna Studios by citing violations during his tenure as CM made headlines back in the day. However, the two legends never publicly criticised each other. The last instance of similarity between them is the fact that both of them passed away in January.
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