The two part film has a huge star cast, with the actors playing real life personalities who have political significance in Andhra Pradesh.

From Balayya to Rana who plays who in the upcoming NTR biopic
Flix Tollywood Tuesday, January 01, 2019 - 17:03

Kathanayakudu and Mahanayakudu, the two part biopic on the life of Andhra’s most renowned actor and politician NT Rama Rao, is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated Telugu movies of 2019. The movie holds political relevance as it traces the course of events that turned Andhra’s once famous actor into the chief minister of the state.

Though the movie makers are tight-lipped about the storyline, it is said that Kathanayakudu will trace the rise of NTR as an actor and Mahanayakudu will depict the actor’s transformation into a successful politician and the formation of the Telugu Desam party (TDP).  Its political relevance comes more into play as the makers are pushing for the release of the movie before the election code for the upcoming assembly elections comes into place.

The NTR biopic comes with a huge star cast, with the actors reprising the roles of many famous politicians and celebrities of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh. From Balakrishna to Vidya Balan, director Krish has roped in big names from both Tollywood and Bollywood. Here is a list of some of the important characters who will appear in the movie and also the relevance they hold in the current political scenario of Andhra Pradesh.

N Balakrishna as NTR: Balayya, who has a huge fan following in both the Telugu states, will be playing his father NTR in the biopic. Also donning the hat of a producer, Balakrishna has managed to strike an uncanny resemblance to his father’s personality in the trailer of the movie. But physical similarities aside, it remains to be seen how much of NTR’s political and personal life will be shown in the movie.

NTR has courted multiple controversies in both his role as a CM and as one of the early superstars of Tollywood. He had a tumultuous three-time stint as the CM of Andhra and was also instrumental in forming coalition politics at the Centre. Though Balayya and Vidya Balan, as NTR’s wife Basavatarakam, have managed to strike a fine chemistry, it is as yet unknown if the makers have included NTR’s marriage to his second wife Lakshmi Paravathi, a decision that overturned his life and also led to his downfall in politics.

Vidya Balan as Basavatarakam: Vidya Balan looks every inch regal as NTR’s wife Basavatarakam in the movie. The makers, in the trailer, have asserted Basavatarakam’s importance as not just his wife, but also as one of NTR’s closest companions in both his political and personal life.

NTR married Basvatarakam, his uncle’s daughter, when he was just 20 years old. The couple had 8 children and Basavatarakam lost her life to cancer in 1985. Not much information on her life is available in the public domain. Basavatarakam was supposedly a very private person despite the fact that she was married to a ‘demi-god’. In her memory, NTR established the Basavatarakam Indo-American Cancer Hospital in Hyderabad in 1986.

An old picture of NTR and Basvatarakam

Vidya Balan as Basvatarakam

Rana Daggubati as Chandrababu Naidu: While Rana's role has the potential to be one of the most controversial characters in the movie, how far the makers will stick to actual history on screen is anyone's guess. In his role of CBN, Rana will be playing the early life of the politician and his emergence as the leader of Andhra.

Rana’s character assumes more significance because CBN, the son-in-law of NTR, was instrumental in leading the coup that led to the overthrow of NTR from his CM's chair. Naidu’s reason for the coup was that he suspected that NTR was planning to hand over the reins of the party to his second wife Lakshmi Paravathi, and that the party would have disintegrated under her rule. But considering the NTR family’s close allegiance with CBN and also the politician’s current position as the CM of a state, it is highly unlikely that CBN would be painted as a villain and we do not know to what extent the political coup would assume significance in the movie.

Nithya Menen as Savitri: With a biopic that already told us the story of the life of yesteryear actor Savitri, it will be a delight to watch her being represented again on screen. Savitri and NTR were the hit jodi of their times and it is said that the actor used to charge almost the same remuneration as that of NTR and ANR, with the three of them being the most popular actors of the '70s and '80s.

Though it was said that Keerthy Suresh was approached to play the role of Savitri again on screen, Nithya Menen confirmed her role in the movie by posting a picture of a scene adapted from the iconic movie Gundamma Katha.

Sumanth as Akkineni Nageswara Rao: Playing the role of his grandfather, Sumanth will be acting as Akkineni Nageshwara Rao in the biopic.

The role of this legendary actor in the movie assumes significance as ANR and NTR were the two actors who brought the glitter of stardom to Telugu cinema. While NTR grew with a series of mythological movies in Tollywood, ANR was the poster boy for home-grown cinema, mainly taking on roles that reflected the social issues of the time. Though both the actors did 14 movies together and were touted to be the hit combination of the '80s, the kind of cinema that made both of them popular among the Telugu viewers was in complete contrast.

Sumanth as ANR

Rakul Preet as Sridevi: Sridevi’s character in the movie, needless to say, assumes significance as it would be the first time that somebody would be reprising the actor after her sudden demise in February last year. Rakul Preet will be playing Sridevi during her early 20s, acting alongside actors who were almost thrice her age. Though it would be a cameo appearance, the reprisal of Sridevi’s hit songs alongside NTR, especially in movies like Vetagaadu, Bobbili Puli, Justice Chowdhary, will hopefully make the effort worth a watch.

Rakul and Balakrishna enacting the famous rain song

Dr Bharath Reddy as Daggubati Venkateswara Rao: Actor Bharath Reddy will be reprising the role of NTR’s son-in-law Venkateswara Rao, who is a doctor by profession and is an ex-Minister, ex-member of parliament and ex-member of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly. He, in contrast to the family tradition, is a member of the Congress party and is a strong critic of CBN's politics. His wife and NTR’s daughter Daggubati Purandeswari is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Bharath Reddy in the NTR biopic

Characters we hope to see: The character of Lakshmi Parvathi is crucial as NTR’s marriage to this Telugu writer changed the course of TDP’s fate in the state. Interestingly, she is presently a member of YSR Congress Party and is aiming to contest against the TDP. But according to the grapevine, the biopic makers have willfuly ignored her character in the biopic.

We also hope to see the character of Nadendla Bhaskara Rao, who became the CM of Andhra Pradesh while NTR was away in the US for a heart surgery. It was after this that NTR launched the famous Chaitanya Ratham campaign that restored his power in the state. Though a couple of months ago Bhaskara Rao’s family had alleged that their father was being shown in a bad light in the movie, we still do not have any official word on whether the character is even being represented in the biopic.

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