Fondly known as ‘Yuva Samrat’ (in the 90s and now as ‘King’), Akkineni Nagarjuna is one of the most versatile personalities we have in Telugu Cinema. On this special occasion of his Birthday, let’s recall Nag’s Top five performances:
1. Annamayya: In the era, when Telugu cinema was in dearth of devotional films, Nagarjuna appeared as Annamayya mesmerizing the audience with an extremely convincing performance. Nag could justify all the stages of Annamayya. His performance in the climax will be cherished forever, and the way he reacts when the Lord himself recites the Sankeerthanas. Nag received Nandi, National and many more awards for the spectacular performance. Anamayya was directed by Raghavendra Rao, who later paired up again to give another epic ‘Sri Ramadasu’.
2. Hello Brother: Directed by EVV Satyanarayana, this one can be easily considered as one of the best comedies of Telugu cinema. Nag was cast in a dual role – Deva and Ravi. The raw and rustic Deva had Brahmnanandam as the side-kick and left the audience split into laughter. The scenes become hilarious when the swapping happens, and the confusion created is rib-tickling.The moment when Deva accidentally comes onto the stage and says “Vaayinchandeheee” gives a high even Today. ‘Aavide Maa Aavude’ whjich came in 1998 was another laugh-riot in the combo of EVV and Nag.
3. Criminal: In this thriller directed by Mahesh Bhatt, Nagarjuna played Ajay, a philanthropic doctor, and is accused of killing his wife. Nag plays the intense role with great skill, while finding the cause of the crime and injustice. He emotes greatly creating adequate empathy for a person, who is completely broken by the death of his love, and with a strong will of digging out the truth. The lines rendered by Nag in Telusa Manasa/Tum Mile- ‘Darling, Every breath you take, every move you make…’ spelled magic.
4. Ninne Pelladtha: Directed by Krishna Vamshi, Nag played Seenu, a fun and energetic boy-nextdoor. Seenu had the charm and style any girl could die for. Seenu’s mocking of his family in the backyard and the term “Thotti Gang” was quite a popular funny scene. Nag played this youthful and kinetic role which was loved by all ages.
5. Nuvvu Vastavani: Nag played Chinni, who is a constant victim of the fate. Nag touched the hearts of the audience in this role as the extremely soft-hearted Chinni, who doesn’t like plucking flowers and thus places ‘Ganesha’ idol in his garden. There are many “awww” moments, which make you feel bad for the unfortunate events he comes across and the culmination leaves you with a smile when Chinni finally gets his lady love.
These are only a handful of the numerous impressive performances of Nagarjuna. He did not limit himself to Telugu films. He is also familiar to the Bollywood audience through Khuda Gawah, Drohi and Zakhm. Chitramala wishes the extremely handsome ‘Greeeku Veerudu’ of Telugu Cinema, a very Happy Birthday.
By Rag Mayur