Born to legendary Telugu actor Akkineni Nageswara Rao and his wife Annapurna, Akkineni Nagarjuna grew up around films. Nagarjuna started his filmy career as a child artist in the Telugu film Sudigundalu and featured in many films before making his debut as a lead in the 1986 release Vikram. Nagarjuna was praised for his portrayal of a heartbroken man in the film that became a roaring hit at the box office. The success of his debut was repeated in films that followed and in the 1989 release Siva, Nagarjuna established him as an action hero. Siva, which also marked the debut of director Ram Gopal Varma, was remade in Hindi as Shiva in 1990.
In his career spanning over three and a half decades, Nagarjuna has starred in over 100 films across different languages. He delivered some memorable performances and as he celebrates his 62nd birthday today (August 29), we look at some of his best performances.
The film starred him in the role of a young college student who ends up becoming a gangster due to circumstances. His intense portrayal received a lot of appreciation from critics and audiences at the box office. Shiva marked Nagarjuna’s debut in Hindi films and was declared a superhit.
Director Mani Ratnam’s tragic love story Geethanjali managed to impress the audience and critics alike despite the bold content. The film was received with an overwhelming response and Nagarjuna’s performance earned him a new fan base making him a heartthrob overnight. Geethanjali went on to win the National Film Award for Best Popular Film.
Hello Brother (1994)
Director EVV Satyanarayana’s Hello Brother featured Nagarjuna in a double role and was a complete masala entertainer. It was declared a superhit on the box office and later remade in Hindi as Judwaa in 1997.
Nagarjuna has an image of an actor who is not afraid of taking up experimental challenging roles. Directed by V. Vijayendra Prasad, Rajanna which was loosely based on freedom fighters Suddala Hanmanthu and Razakar featured Nagarjuna in the role of a revolutionary who pushed his village to thrive in pre-independent India
Director Mahesh Bhatt’s Zakhm was inspired by the shades of his own life and revolved around an inter-religious love story. Nagarjuna played the role of a Hindu film producer who falls in love with a Muslim woman and secretly marries her. Zakhm starred Nagarjuna along with Pooja Bhatt, Ajay Devgn and Sonali Bendre.