The who's who of the powerful NTR, Allu-Konidela, Akkineni-Daggubati families and their businesses.

Tollywoods first families The kings and queens who rule the Telugu film industry
Flix Tollywood Sunday, September 03, 2017 - 11:45

It's not only Bollywood where "nepotism rocks". The Telugu film industry, one of the largest in the country that churns out close to 200 films a year is ruled by a few prominent families. 

The Allu-Chiranjeevi family and the Akkineni-Daggubati clans are among the most influential in Tollywood. Not only do these families have actors and directors, they also have immense money power. They own production houses and control distribution, too. 

These families are a formidable force in the industry. And as in the time of kingdoms, they strengthen their bonds further through marriage. 

The Allu-Konidela family

Born in 1922, Dr Allu Rama Lingaiah was a Padma Shri recipient, who starred in over a thousand films, mostly doing comic roles. His performances in films like the cult classic Maya Bazaar, Missyamma, Muthyala Muggu, Sankarabaranam and so on remain memorable to fans of cinema.

Rama Lingaiah had four children - Allu Aravind, Surekha Konidela, Vasantha Lakshmi, and Nava Bharathi. 

While Vasantha and Bharathi chose to stay out of the limelight, Allu Aravind became one of Tollywood's most prominent film producers and distributors. He founded Geetha Arts in 1972, a production company which began with small budget films and grew to produce big blockbusters, including the Aamir Khan starrer Ghajini (Hindi). 


In 1980, Surekha married Konidela Siva Sankara Vara Prasad. For those who don't recognise the name, it belongs to Megastar Chiranjeevi, one of Telugu cinema's biggest superstars. She is the link between the Chiranjeevi and Allu families. 

Allu Aravind and his wife Nirmala have three children - Venkatesh, Arjun and Sirish. 

Allu Venkatesh and Allu Arjun made their acting debut in as child artistes in the 1985 film Vijetha, which starred their uncle Chiranjeevi in the lead role and was produced by their father Allu Aravind. 

While the film was the only one in which Venkatesh acted, Arjun went on to do several more. His younger brother, Allu Sirish, too, acts in south Indian films, his last release being 1971: Beyond Borders with Mohanlal.

Chiranjeevi and Surekha also have three children - Ram Charan, Srija, Susmitha.

Ram Charan made his acting debut in 2007 and is among the highest paid stars in Tollywood. He has acted in many blockbusters, including SS Rajamouli's Magadheera. Ram Charan also established a production house called Konidela Production Company which produced his father Chiranjeevi's 150th film, Khaidi No.150

His sibling Sushmita Konidela is an accomplished stylist and costume designer. She was behind Chiranjeevi's stylish look in Khaidi No.150 and several other films. The youngest sibling, Srija, gave plenty of fodder for gossip mills when she eloped with her college boyfriend Sirish Bharadwaj in 2007. However, the marriage did not last and the couple got divorced. She married Kalyan, an NRI, last year. 

Chiranjeevi's brothers, Pawan Kalyan and Nagendra Babu, are also actors. While Nagendra Babu mainly played supporting roles in films and currently appears in TV serials and shows, Pawan Kalyan commands a massive fan following and his followers consider his style and philosophy - dubbed 'Pawanism' - to be almost like a religion! He entered politics in 2014 by founding the Jana Sena Party. 

Pawan Kalyan has married thrice - to Nandini from 1997 to 2007, to Renu Desai from 2009 to 2012 and to Anna Lezhneva since 2013.

He has two children, Akira Nandan Konidela (born 2004) and Aadhya Konidela (born 2010), both with Renu Desai.

Renu Desai made her directorial debut with the Marathi film Ishq Wala Love, that was later dubbed in Telugu and her son Akira Nandan Konidela played a cameo role in it.

Nagendra Babu, who also owns a production company called Anjana Productions, has two children - Varun Tej Konidela and Niharika Konidela.

While the hero of the recently released Fidaa, Varun Tej, is a relatively well-established actor in Tollywood, his sister, Niharika Konidela, is a television anchor and actor. Niharika also owns the production house Pink Elephant Pictures.

Akkineni-Daggubati family

The Akkineni family came into prominence with the prolific Nageswara Rao (ANR), an actor and producer. He was one of Tollywood's most respected personalities. He was also the recipient of the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke award and was awarded the Padma Vibushan.

In 1975, ANR founded the legendary Annapurna Studios, which was named after his wife. He'd go on to establish the Annapurna International School of Film and Media (AISFM) in 2011, three years before his death. 

ANR had five children -- Akkineni Nagarjuna, Akkineni Venkat Rathnam, Naga Susheela Akkineni, Saroja Akkineni, and Sathyavathi Akkineni

Venkat, who is also a film producer, and Susheela, are directors at Annapurna Studios. Sathyavathi Akkineni would go on to marry film producer Surendra Yarlagadda.

Nagarjuna, ANR's most famous son, became a huge star in the Telugu industry, acting in cult films like Siva. He's mostly known for his biographical films, especially Annamayya.

In 1984, Nagarjuna married Lakshmi Daggubati, whose surname belongs to one of the most powerful families in Tollywood.

The marriage, however, did not last. Nagarjuna and Lakshmi divorced in 1992. Both of them remarried - Nagarjuna to actor Amala and Lakshmi to Sharath Vijay Raghavan, a corporate executive. 

At the head of the Daggubati family was Padma Bushan recipient Ramanaidu, who founded Suresh Productions. The first film to come out under this banner was in 1964.

Ramanaidu was married to Rajeswari and the couple had three children - Lakshmi, Suresh Babu, and Venkatesh.

Venkatesh is a well-known actor in the Telugu industry and has had a long and successful career of over three decades. He also holds the distinction of winning the most number of Nandi Awards for Best Actor so far.

Suresh Babu is the managing director of Suresh Productions.

The third generation of the Akkineni-Daggubati family also features several prominent names.

Image Courtesy: Facebook/Akkineni Nagarjuna

From the Akkineni family, Nagarjuna's children, Naga Chaitanya (born to Lakshmi Daggubati), and Akhil Akkineni  (born to Amala), are both actors. Naga Chaitanya will soon wed actor Samantha Ruth Prabhu. While Akhil has acted in a handful of films, Naga Chaitanya's career has seen its fair share of ups and downs.

Satyavathi, Nagarjuna's sister, is married to film producer Surendra Yarlagadda. Their son, Sumanth, is an actor, producer and partner at Annapurna Studios. Their daughter Supriya Yarlagadda is an Executive Director with Annapurna Studios. 

 Naga Susheela, another sister of Nagarjuna's, married Anumolu Sathyabushana Rao, the son of producer AV Subba Rao. Their son,  Anumolu Sushanth, is an actor in Tollywood.

From the Daggubati family, Suresh Babu's son, Rana Daggubati has made his own name in the industry, particularly with the Baahubali franchise in which he played the antagonist to critical acclaim.  

Image Courtesy: Facebook/Akkineni Nagarjuna

Movie Businesses

As far as business is concerned, according to the documents submitted to the Registrar of Companies, by the Daggubati-family owned Suresh productions, the amount transferred to the balance sheet as of March 31, 2016, stands at 45.06 crore (consolidated) and Rs 38.86 crore (standalone).

The total consolidated revenue that the company earned in the same period, was 18.84 crore, according to the 32nd annual report of the company.

Though it earned revenue of 57.52 lakh as of March 31, 2016, the Akkineni-owned Annapurana studios reported a loss of 10.94 crore during the financial year.

"Though the net loss after considering interest and depreciation has been Rs 10,09 crore, your Directors are confident of improving the bottom line in the next years. Your Board is also happy to inform you that during the year, the Company has paid and settled all loans from the banks through One Time Settlement (OTS) by infusing additional capital and by borrowing funds from the Directors. This will help the company reduce the interest burden and show better results in the coming years," the Board's report reads.

On the other hand, no details could be furnished for Allu Entertainment Private Limited, as the company was dissolved in 2015, and converted into Limited Liability Partnership (LLP).

Nandamuri Family

Possibly Telugu cinema’s first superstar, NT Rama Rao acted in around 300 films over 33 years, before going on to set up the TDP and then become three-time Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh.

Of all his roles, it was his portrayals of the deities Krishna and Rama in multiple films including in classic hits like Maya Bazaar and Shri Venkateshwara Mahatyam (1960) that created a mass aura around him. While much of his early career was devoted to playing mythological characters, NTR then moved onto playing the role of the heroic common man in films such as Devudu Chesina Manushulu, Driver Ramudu, Sardar Papa Rayudu and so on. In his final film before entering politics, Bobbilli Puli, NTR played an upright officer taking on a corrupt government.

NTR’s younger brother Trivikram Rao was also a notable presence in Tollywood in the NTR years and after. He produced over 20 films, including some starring NTR like Justice Chowdhary. Trivikram was also credited with introducing director Puri Jagannath to the industry.

With his first wife Basava Tarakam, NTR had eight sons and four daughters. Of these, Nandamuri Balakrishna, popularly known as Balayya, became the most successful on-screen, starring in over 100 movies. Some of his famous hits include Narasimha Naidu, Legend, Simha, Bhairava Dweepam, and Muddula Krishnayya. Despite having entered politics as a TDP MLA, Balakrishna continues a successful acting career, with his 100th film Gautamiputra Satakarni drawing both critical and popular acclaim.

NTR’s fourth son, Nandamuri Harikrishna found some success in the film industry as a child artiste in the 1960s and 1970s in films like Shri Krishnavataram and Talla Pellama, and had some film appearances since the 1990s.

NTR’s third son Saikrishna, who owned a theatre in Hyderabad, died in 2004 due to complications from diabetes. Two more sons Jayakrishna and Mohanakrishna are cinematographers, while one son Ramakrishna Jr is a film producer.

One of NTR’s daughters Bhuvaneswari married N Chandrababu Naidu, who would eventually go onto toppling NTR to gain control of the TDP and become Chief Minister himself.

Among the next generation of NTR’s family, Jr NTR, the son of Harikrishna has made the most significant mark on Tollywood. Rated among the top stars of Tollywood, Jr NTR has had a slew of successes such as AadhiSimhadriStudent No 1Janata Garage and Nannaku Prematho.

Harikrishna’s other son Kalyan Ram is an actor and producer. He has starred in films such as Athanokkade, Hare Ram, Pataas, and ISM. Kalyan Ram also owns a production house called NTR Arts and a visual effects company called Advitha Creative Studios.

Harikrishna’s third son Janakiram was a film producer, but passed away in a road accident in 2014.

NTR grandson Tarak Ratna, has been struggling to make his mark in the industry, and is best known for his award-winning negative role in the film Amaravathi.

Chandrababu Naidu’s family too bears a connection with the film industry, through Nara Rohit, Naidu’s nephew. The alumnus of the New York Film Academy is an actor and a producer and has appeared in films like Baanam, Solo, Prathinidhi, Rowdy Fellow, Asura, and Jyo Achyutananda.