Thinking out of the box has always been in the Akkineni’s blood. When one picks acting as a career, they know it’s not another 9-6 job. One has to dedicate most of tone’s time towards it. From getting a grip over acting, to picking the right roles, along with experimenting with new stuff and maintaining the success rate.
Nagarjuna knew his stuff. Beating the villains black and blue, was never his belief. Seeing his counterparts throwing people into air, he might have found it interesting and did give it a shot. But, spreading love and joy was his primary work on screen!
From the beginning of his career he believed in always expanding cinema and its meaning to us, Telugu audience.
Let’s take a look at those few jewels, which were a part of his career and a part of our memories too.
This was Mani Ratnam’s first film in Telugu, and Nag’s first big success he tasted at the box office. Till then his acting was still amateurish. With this movie, he showed the audience his growth as an actor and gave us, the Telugu audience, our first coming of age love story.
A famous actor said ‘If Telugu cinema can be divided into two parts, it would be ‘Before SHIVA’ and ‘After SHIVA’. True! RGV at that point had not worked or even assisted anyone till then. Just believing him and his narration, was a gutsy step for the still young Nag. Shiva opened up a new phase for Telugu cinema. It proved that heroism needn’t be established by beating up villains and destroying fruits market on the road. It could be done with a cycle chain and aggression in the eyes.
Be it the shy and composed student, the rebellious brother fighting the system, or the thoughtful uncle saving his niece on a cycle, or the man standing for his people and warning the enemy, Nag was just BANG ON in portraying SHIVA.
Right at the beginning of the movie, Nag goes to jail and the constable at the entrance says to him ‘Hello Brother’. As a viewer, you sat back in the chair, ready for a roller coaster ride.
With EVV’s screenplay and LB Sriram’s dialogues, Nag fine tuned everything by portraying the dual roles to near perfection. While the role of the rash slum guy seemed like cake walk for him, the soft-spoken, innocent singer was equally convincing. His chemistry with both the leading ladies – Ramya Krishna and Soundarya and his comic timing all through the movie still stands out. You can say Nag carried the movie on his 4 shoulders. A comedy classic!
With this film, Nag proved that no one can have a more sizzling chemistry with their leading ladies than him. This was probably the best romance we have ever watched on Telugu celluloid.
From those stereotyped romances across the table or behind the flower, he showed us that the girl actually would be more comfortable on his lap, which is much simpler!! This was the time he gave us a new word apart from smart and handsome – ‘Greekuverudu’. It was through this movie music director, Sandeep Chowta was introduced to cinema and the music is another highlight of this flick.
This time, it wasn’t Rasika Rasa but the Bhakthi Rasa, though he started off the film in his style – romancing his two ladies!
But, once he realizes the beauty of GOD, the film undergoes a 180 degree spin, transforming a romantic Nag into an ardent devotee. Annamayya set a trend for biopic and period films, and the songs are still played during family functions, poojas, and wedding functions all across the state. Annamayya was a Kohinoor moment in Nag’s career.
With Trivikram penning the script, this film looked like it was in safe hands right from the beginning. The film begins as a stream, gains strength along the way, and flows down like a waterfall by the end. Nag was handsome, cool, witty, sarcastic, all at the same time. They say a man peaks at the age of 35-45. Nag was his best during this time and especially in this movie. As always, his chemistry was awesome with the two heroines – Anshu and Sonali. I wonder how he does it? Was his favourite subject in school – Chemistry?
This film was not just about the great story told in a very convincing way, but a page in the history of Telugu Cinema. The three generations of actors, ANR, Nag and Chaitanya teamed up with this movie. Probably this is confined to only the Akkineni’s. I am sure no other ‘dynasty’ can get a better story with three generations. The inter-link between the characters of grandson-son-grandfather from real to reel is simply splendid. Hats off to Nag for doing this piece of history for his dad, ANR. He bid him a grand farewell from cinema.
Now well in his 50s, Nag continues to make movies, continues to experiment, continues to entertain us.
Did we miss out on any of his films that you felt should be on the list?