N. T. Rama Rao Jr.
Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao
20 May 1983
|Family||See Nandamuri family|
Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao (born 20 May 1983), also known as Jr NTR or Tarak, is an Indian actor, singer, and television presenter who works in Telugu cinema. In his film career spanning 20 years, Rama Rao has worked in over 29 films. He is mostly known for his single take acting, dialogue delivery and dancing without rehearsals. He is popularly referred as Young Tiger of Tollywood. Ntr has received two state Nandi Awards, two Filmfare Awards South and four CineMAA Awards. One of the highest paid Telugu film actors, he was ranked 28th in Forbes India Celebrity 100 list with an annual income of ₹280 million in 2018.
Grandson of Telugu actor-politician N. T. Rama Rao, Rama Rao Jr. played the lead role as a child actor in Ramayanam (1996) which won the National Film Award for Best Children's Film for that year. His debut as an adult with Ninnu Choodalani (2001) and tasted success with the film Student No. 1 (2001). He received critical reception for his performance in works such as Aadi (2002), Simhadri (2003), Rakhi (2006), Yamadonga (2007), Adhurs (2010), Brindavanam (2010), Temper (2015), Nannaku Prematho (2016), Janatha Garage (2016), Jai Lava Kusa (2017) and Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava (2018).
Early life and family
Rama Rao was born on 20 May 1983 in Hyderabad to Nandamuri Harikrishna, a Telugu film actor and politician, and Shalini Bhaskar Rao, who hails from Kundapur, Karnataka. He is the grandson of Telugu actor and former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, N. T. Rama Rao. He 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.
He is the half-brother of actor and producer Nandamuri Kalyan Ram, 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.
1991–2006: Debut and initial career
Rama Rao first appeared in Brahmarshi Vishwamitra (1991) as a child artiste, written and directed by his grandfather N. T. Rama Rao Sr. He then went on to play the titular role of Rama in Gunasekhar-directed mythological film Ramayanam (1996), which won the National Film Award for Best Children's Film.
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. Student No. 1, which released later, went onto be successful while Subbu (2001) was a commercial failure.
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, just behind Chiranjeevi's Indra. 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. 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.
He next appearance in Puri Jagannadh's action drama Andhrawala (2004) created much hype but was a box office failure. 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. His performance in Krishna Vamsi's Rakhi (2006) is considered to be one of his finest.
2007–2010: Breakthrough and success
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 extremely positive reviews, and later brought him back to the top league in Telugu cinema, and this film made him receive a Filmfare Award for Best Actor in 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.
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. He then returned to romantic films after several years in the romantic comedy Brindavanam (2011), directed by Vamsi Paidipally.
2011–2014: Career stagnation
Rama Rao collaborated with director Ramesh for the fantasy action film Shakti, and with director Surender Reddy for the romantic action film Oosaravelli. The Boyapati Srinu-directed Dammu (2012) become an average grosser.
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 Malayalam and Japanese. 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.
2015–present: Further successes
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.
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. NTR sported a new look with gelled up hair and long beard for the film. received positive reviews from critics and audience. 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$12 million). 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. 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. and became the highest grossing Telugu film of the year.
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. Jai Lava Kusa collected almost ₹130.90 crore worldwide and was successful at the box office 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. S. S. Rajamouli's magnum opus RRR, where Rama Rao playing 20th century freedom fighter Komaram Bheem, is under production.
Rama Rao hosted the Telugu version of Bigg Boss reality show, Bigg Boss 1 that was broadcast on the Star Maa channel. Rama Rao's entry to the small screen was a huge success and had a record breaking ratings for Star Maa, making it the number one channel among all the shows. The first season of the show began airing from 16 July 2017. He has also been as a guest in Telugu Reality game show Meelo Evaru Koteeswarudu, Telugu Reality dance shows Dhee 2 and Dhee 10.
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. Their wedding took place on 5 May 2011 in Hyderabad at Hitex Exhibition Center, Madhapur. The couple has two sons.
Political stint and accident
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. 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.
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. 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.
Filmography and awards
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