Nandamuri Balakrishna

Nandamuri Balakrishna is an Indian film actor and politician known for his works in Telugu cinema.[1][2] He is the sixth son of Telugu film actor and former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh N. T. Rama Rao. He entered the film industry as a child artist at the age of fourteen with the film Tatamma Kala (1974)[3][4] and has acted in more than a hundred feature films in varied roles.

Nandamuri Balakrishna
Balakrishna in 2012
Member of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly
for Hindupur
Preceded byP. Abdul Ghani
Personal details
Born10 June 1960
Madras, Madras State, India
Political partyTelugu Desam Party(TDP)
Vasundhara Devi (m. 1982)
FatherN.T. Rama Rao
RelativesSee Nandamuri family
EducationNizam College, Hyderabad
  • Actor
  • politician

Balakrishna has achieved commercial success since the 1980s in films such as Sahasame Jeevitham (1984), Janani Janmabhoomi (1984), Mangammagari Manavadu (1984), Apoorva Sahodarudu (1986), Muvva Gopaludu (1987), Muddula Mavayya (1989), Nari Nari Naduma Murari (1990), Lorry Driver (1990), Rowdy Inspector (1992), Bangaru Bullodu (1993), Bhairava Dweepam (1994), Peddannayya (1997), and Samarasimha Reddy (1997), some of which earned him accolades.[5]

He has also acted in 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) which was screened at the Moscow Film Festival; Krishnadevaraya in Aditya 369 (1991) which was screened at the International Film Festival of India; Satya Harischandra and Dushyanta in Brahmashri Vishwamitra (1991); Lord Krishna and Arjuna in Shri Krishnarjuna Vijayam (1996); Pundarika in Pandurangadu (2008); his father, N.T.R, in N.T.R: Mahanayakudu and N.T.R: Kathanayakudu (2019); and Lord Rama in Sri Rama Rajyam (2011) which received special mention at the International Film Festival of India.[5]

In his 100th film, he played Gautamiputra Satakarni, second-century ruler of the Satavahana Empire in the epic war film Gautamiputra Satakarni (2017).[6] The film was subsequently dubbed into Hindi and Tamil. The film was screened at the first "Edinburgh Festival of Indian Films and Documentaries".[7] Balakrishna has received three state Nandi Awards for Best Actor for his works in Narasimha Naidu (2001), Simha (2010), and Legend (2014) as of 2014.[8] In 2014, he received the South Indian International Movie Award for best actor for his work in Legend.[9] Balakrishna was the chief guest for the 43rd International Film Festival of India.[10] Balakrishna is the Chairman of Basavatarakam Indo-American Cancer Hospital and Research. He is an elected member of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly of Hindupur.

Early life and family

Balakrishna was born in 1960 in Chennai (then Madras), Tamil Nadu to Telugu actor and three-time former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao (NTR) and his wife Basavatarakam.[11][12] As the Telugu film industry was based in Madras at the time, he spent his entire childhood in Madras. During his adolescence, he moved to Hyderabad following the shifting of the Telugu film industry to that city. He earned a bachelor's degree in commerce from Nizam College, Hyderabad, Telangana. In 1982, at the age of 22, Balakrishna married Vasundhara Devi, and they have three children.



Starting years (1974–1986)

In 1974, Balakrishna acted as a child artist in Tatamma Kala, which was directed by N. T. Rama Rao (NTR), his father. He acted in several films, many of which were directed by NTR, including Daana Veera Soora Karna, Sri Madvirata Parvam, Akbar Salim Anarkali and Sri Tirupati Venkateswara Kalyanam. At the age of 16, he acted in a movie titled Annadammula Anubandham, a remake of Dharmendra's Hindi movie Yaadon Ki Baaraat, and played a brother to his real life father NTR. Balakrishna appeared as son to his real life brother Nandamuri Harikrishna in the movie Dana Veera Sura Karna.

In 1984, Balakrishna debuted in a hero role with Sahasame Jeevitham. He then starred in the drama film Mangammagari Manavadu in 1984, 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.


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 Tatineni Rama Rao and Muvva Gopaludu, by Kodi Ramakrishna.[13] His other films like Inspector Pratap, Bharatamlo Bala Chandrudu, Tiragabadda Telugubidda, Raktabhishekam were also successful at the box office. 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.[14]

In 1991, Balakrishna 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. He then had two releases in 1992, Dharma Kshetram and Rowdy Inspector, directed by B. Gopal.[15] 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, Vamshanikokkadu, Peddannayya and moderate successes such as 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.


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. Balakrishna won his first Nandi Award for Best Actor for his performance. In the same year, he appeared in Bhalevadivi Basu with Shilpa Shetty and Anjala Zhaveri.[16] His 2002 and 2003 films include Seema Simham and Chennakeshava Reddy. The former received unfavourable reviews and was a box office flop, but the latter one was critically and financially successful. In 2004, he performed in a remake of the 2003 Tamil film Saamy, titled Lakshmi Narasimha, with Asin Thottumkal. The film and Balakrishna's performance won critical acclaim and was a financial success.[17][18] During the period, he also announced plans to act and direct in the remake of Nartanasala, 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.[19] However, despite a grand launch, the film was later shelved following the sudden demise of Soundarya.[20]

The years from 2005 to 2009 saw action-drama flicks such as Vijayendra Varma, Veerabhadra, Allari Pidugu, Okka Magadu and Maharadhi which did not perform well at the box office.[21] He paired with Sneha and Tabu in the mythological movie Panduranga (2008), directed by K. Raghavendra Rao. He played the dual roles of Krishna and Panduranga.[22] 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!".[23] The film was an average success and his performance won him the Santosham Best Actor Award.[24] In the year 2009, he starred in the family drama Mithrudu, alongside Priyamani in a slightly different role – that of a dependable friend and confidante to the female lead. The film opened to average reviews.[25]


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,[26] and went on to become the highest-grossing Telugu film of the year.[27] 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."[28] 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.[5] In 2014, he acted in Boyapati Srinu's film Legend, alongside Sonal Chauhan and Jagapati 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 Empire, Gautamiputra Satakarni.[6] 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 NTR. The film was made in two parts, and the first part was released on 9 January 2019, with the second on 22 February 2019.[29][30][31]


Since the founding of the Telugu Desam Party, Balakrishna campaigned for it in every election, but didn't 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 East Godavari district. He ran in the 2014 Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly elections on behalf of TDP and won the Hindupur Assembly Constituency seat with a reasonable majority.[32] Hindupur, in Anantapur district, has been a TDP stronghold since 1983. It was once represented by NTR himself and later for a term by his elder son Nandamuri Harikrishna and Balakrishna will be the third from the family to represent it in the State Assembly.[33]

International Film Festival of India (IFFI)


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 50 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.[34]


Shooting controversy

Balakrishna was involved in a shooting controversy which took place on 3 June 2004 around 8:50 PM at Balakrishna's residence in Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad. Balakrishna allegedly fired shots at producer B. Suresh and his associate, Satyanarayana Chowdhary. Later, both the wounded were admitted into Apollo hospital.[35] The circumstances under which the case was handled led to controversy as purported by the Human Right 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.[36]

The two victims gave statements before the magistrate, alleging that Balakrishna fired shots at them, but later retracted their earlier statements.[37] Balakrishna was later arrested on 6 June and produced before Fifth Metropolitan Magistrate. A show cause notice was also served on Balakrishna's wife Vasundhara Devi as the weapon used was licensed under her name, and she could not give sufficient protection to her weapon. Later, Balakrishna was granted bail on conditions that he should not leave Hyderabad without Court's permission and to surrender his passport.[38][39]



Nandi Awards
CineMAA Awards
Santosham Film Awards
TSR National Awards
SIIMA Awards
Other Awards
  • Award for Best Child Actor – Tatamma Kala[48]
  • Samman Award – Highest taxpayer in the charge of Commissioner of Income Tax.[49]
  • Bharata Muni award for Best Actor of the year 2009 – Pandurangadu
  • Bharata Muni award Best Actor of the year 2010 – Simha[50]
  • Bharata Muni award Best Actor of the year 2011 – Sri Rama Rajyam[51]
  • A.P. CINE Goers Association Best Actor Award – Narasimha Naidu[52] Chennakesava Reddy[53] and Pandurangadu.[54]
  • Akkineni Abhinaya Puraskaram for the year 2007[55]
Filmfare Awards South


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