Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao was the most popular Indian Actor, Producer, Editor, Director, and Politician. He is predominately known for his work in Telugu Movie Industry. He is the founder of ‘Telugu Desam Party.’ He has also served as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. Let us find out some more interesting details about N. T. Rama Rao’s life, his family, death, biography and other facts.
N. T. Rama Rao was born on 28 May 1923 (age 72; at the time of death) in Nimmakuru, Madras Presidency, British India (Now in Andhra Pradesh, India). He was educated in a village shed by a teacher named, Valluru Subba Rao; as there was no particular school in his village during those days. In 1933, his family moved to Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh and he was admitted in the Municipal School, Vijayawada. He enrolled for his intermediate studies in SRR & CVR College, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. While in college, NTR played the role of a woman in a stage play titled, Rachamalluni Dautyam, organised during the college anniversary celebrations. NTR cleared his intermediate exams in his third attempt. Gradually, he completed his Bachelor’s of Arts from Andhra-Christian College, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh in 1947. He qualified the Madras Service Commission Exam in the Madras Presidency under British India and was appointed as the sub-registrar at Mangalagiri, Guntur District. However, he quit his job within three weeks to pursue a career in acting.
NTR made his debut in the film industry in 1949, with the Telugu film, Mana Desam; in which he played the role of policeman. He appeared in a lead role in the 1950 movie, Palletoori Pilla, starring Akkineni Nageswara Rao and Anjali Devi. Since then, there has been no looking back for him. Other than acting, NTR is also a producer and director.
Family, Wife & Caste
N. T. Rama Rao was born into a Hindu Rajput Family to Nandamuri Lakshmaih (father) and Venkata Ramamma (mother). His parents were farmers in Nimmakuru, Madras Presidency, British India (Now in Andhra Pradesh, India). NTR was adopted by his paternal uncle, Nandamuri Ramaiah. He had a younger brother, Trivikrama Rao, who was a producer and director in the Telugu film industry (died of heart attack on 3 December 2008).
In May 1942, NTR married his maternal uncle’s daughter, Basavatarakam Nandamuri. The couple had eight sons and four daughters. His sons are Nandamuri Ramakrishna Sr., died in an accident in this year in 1962, Nandamuri Jayakrishna – cinematographer, Nandamuri Saikrishna – theatre owner, died to a prolonged illness in 2004, Nandamuri Harikrishna – Actor, died in an accident in 2018, Nandamuri Mohanakrishna – cinematographer, Nandamuri Balakrishna – Actor, Nandamuri Ramakrishna Jr. – Film Producer, and Nandamuri Jayashankar. His daughters are Daggubati Purandeswari – Politician, Nara Bhuvaneswari, Garapati Lokeswari, and Kantamaneni Uma Maheswari.
In 1985, NTR’s wife, Basavatarakam Nandamuri, died due to cancer. In 1986, in the memory of his late wife, NTR founded the Basavatarakam Indo-American Cancer Hospital in Hyderabad.
In 1993, he remarried a Telugu writer, Lakshmi Parvathi, who was more than 30 years younger to him.
As an actor, NTR starred in more than 300 movies. Although having no formal training in script-writing, NTR composed various screenplays. His direction includes movies like Thodu Dongalu (1954), Seetharama Kalyanam (1960), Varakatnam (1970) among others. He became famous for portraying the roles of Lord Krishna and Lord Rama. Often, he liked playing the role which fought against the exploitations and discriminations of our society. His movies include ‘Devudu Chesina Manushulu,’ ‘Justice Chowdhary,’ ‘Driver Ramudu,’ ‘Bobbili Puli,’ ‘Kondaveeti Simham,’ ‘Sardar Papa Rayudu,’ ‘Adavi Ramudu,’ and ‘Vetagadu.’
In 1942, NTR established Telugu Desam Party which gave a major setback to the Indian National Congress. He became the first non-congress member to be elected as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. He served in the office as the 10th Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and was re-elected three times between 1983 and 1994.
Being the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, NTR ceased the state from corrupt and inappropriate Congress rule. He was the first person to use Rath Yatra during the election campaigns. During the campaign, he gave a slogan, “Telugu Vari Atma Gauravam,” (Telugu people’s self-respect). He also implemented various socialist views in his policies. He was the supporter of women’s rights in inheritance law and advocated for equal rights for women in ancestral property.
In 1984, when Indira Gandhi was assassinated, her son, Rajiv Gandhi, took over the office as the Prime Minister of India. Subsequently, in the 1984 elections, Congress Party won a great victory all over the country except in the state of Andhra Pradesh, where TDP secured the triumph. NTR’s party became the biggest opposition party in the Lok Sabha. Consequently, NTR was re-elected as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. However, he was removed from the office as he was hospitalised to undergo coronary bypass surgery. Governor Ram Lal appointed Nadendla Bhaskara Rao as the Chief Minister. After his discharge, NTR reinitiated campaign along with the other non-Congress parties like Janata Party and BJP to retain his power. In September 1984, he was successful in achieving the power and acquired the office.
In 1989, NTR lost the elections as he was unable to campaign due to a mild stroke. However, he returned to power in 1994 but was later ousted by an internal revolution surpassed by his son-in-law Nara Chandrababu Naidu. Later, Naidu became the President of TDP and also became the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh.
NTR owned two houses in Madras and two houses along with the 2.62-acre plot in Hyderabad, and 20 acres of farmland in Rangareddy district. He owns 1,836 grams of jewellery and silver worth ₹1 lakh. He also had some shares, National Savings Certificates and also Compulsory deposits.
- Certificate of Merit for Best Feature Film in Telugu: Producer — National Art Theater for Thodu Dongalu – 1954
- Certificate of Merit for Best Feature Film in Telugu: Producer — National Art Theater for Seetharama Kalyanam – 1960
- National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu Director- National Art Theater for Varakatnam – 1968
- The Government Of India – Padma Shri – 1968
- Rashtrapati Award – Best Acting for Raju Peda – 1954
- Rashtrapati Award – Best Acting for Lava Kusa – 1963
- Nandi Award – Best Actor for Kodalu Diddina Kapuram – 1970
- Filmfare Award (South) – Best Actor – Telugu for Badi Panthulu – 1972
- Honourary Doctorate from Andhra University – 1978
- In 1995, NTR was ousted from his own party, TDP, due to his decision to make his second wife, Lakshmi Parvathi, the party leader. According to the sources, Parvati took the reins of power, appointing her own loyalists to top positions and plotting to succeed him as Chief Minister. This became the reason for a sudden coup preceded by Chandrababu Naidu along with NTR’s two sons. Almost all the MLAs went against NTR, and he, ultimately, lost his party and public support.
On 18 January 1996, NTR died due to Cardiac Arrest in Hyderabad. As per reports, his second wife, Lakshmi Parvathi, immersed his ashes only after Nara Chandrababu Naidu lost the State Assembly Elections in 2004, that is, eight years after NTR’s death.
- As a sub-registrar, NTR’s salary was ₹190 per month.
- NTR was 20 years old when he married Basavatarakam Nandamuri.
- NTR’s remuneration for his first movie was ₹1000.
- He stood seventh out of 1100 candidates who had appeared for Madras Service Commission Exam.
- At the age of 40, he learnt to dance from a Kuchipudi dancer, ‘Vempati Chinna Satyam,’ for his role in the film Narthanasala in 1963.
- NTR established Ramakrishna Studios in the memory of his son, Late Nandamuri Ramakrishna Sr. in 1962.
- He is well noted for playing the role of Lord Krishna in around 17 films.
- His first mythological movie with the role of Lord Krishna was ‘Maya Bazaar’ in 1957.
- He also played the role of Lord Rama in the movies, ‘Lava Kusha’ and ‘Shri Ramanjaneya Yuddham.’
- He portrayed the role of Ravana in the movies, ‘Bhookailas’ and ‘Seetharama Kalyanam.’
- He performed as Lord Shiva in the movie ‘Dakshayagnam.’
- His second wife, Lakshmi, authored his two biographies namely, “Eduruleni Manishi” and “Telugu Tejam.”
- He won a prize for one of his paintings at a state level competition during 1941-1942.
- NTR gifted a portrayal to Subhash Chandra Bose when the latter happened to visit Vijayawada.
- His production houses include National Art Theater Private Limited in Madras and Ramakrishna Studios in Hyderabad.
- In 1984, NTR campaigned for the state elections for the Tamil Nadu Party, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), as his friend, M. G. Ramachandran (MGR), who was the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu was unwell.
- In an interview, NTR claimed the 1995 coup to be planned treachery and cited his sons and Naidu to be power hungry and untrustworthy.
- In 2019, a Tollywood biopic titled, N.T.R. Kathanayakudu, released. The role of NTR was played by his sixth son, Nandamuri Balakrishna and the role of NTR’s first wife was played by the Bollywood actress, Vidya Balan.