Happy Birthday Nagarjuna: Five underrated films as the star turns 60
On Nagarjuna’s 60th birthday, here’s a look at some of his films that deserve far more love and respect than they did at the time of their release.Updated: Aug 29, 2019 12:13 IST
Actor Akkineni Nagarjuna, the Benjamin Button of Telugu cinema, has turned 60. On this occasion, we take a look at five underrated films from his illustrious career that deserved more love than they received when they released.
This maiden collaboration between Nagarjuna and Mani Ratnam paved way to the classic called Geethanjali, a film that never got its due when it released. However, over the years after multiple reruns on television, it has acquired a cult status. A tragic love story, the film was much ahead of its time for Telugu audiences to accept. Geethanjali showcased Nagarjuna in a very different dimension and in a far mature role than ever before. Despite the film’s acceptance at the box-office, it goes down as an underrate gem in Nagarjuna’s career.
This 1997 devotional film, directed by K Raghavendra Rao, featured Nagarjuna in the role of popular Hindu saint Annamacharya, an avid Lord Balaji devotee. The film successfully cemented Nagarjuna’s position as an actor with maximum range. While the film went on to be a box-office hit, it’s still debatable whether Nagarjuna got his due for his performance which is still one of the bests in his career. Also, no other mainstream star would’ve been even open to the idea of starring in such a film but Nagarjuna was an exception.
Widely popular as one of the best collaborations between Ram Gopal Varma and Nagarjuna; Govinda Govinda is a bonafide entertainer that got its due many years later. The film addressed how as a society we’ve been blinded by superstitions and co-starred Sridevi in one of the most memorable characters of her career. Nagarjuna played a small time crook who gets drawn in the bigger scheme of things. The film is still remembered for its wry humour and Paresh Rawal’s terrific performance as an underworld don.
A Telugu adaptation of French drama The Intouchables, Oopiri featured Nagarjuna in the role of a wheelchair-bound millionaire and the story explored his relationship with his caretaker, played by Karthi. Here was another film where Nagarjuna shed his stardom and played a role that most of his counterparts would’ve politely declined. The film went on to do decent business at the box-office but it sure deserved more love and accepted from audiences.
A hijack thriller set in Tirupati; Payanam saw Nagarjuna played a major of National Security Guard. Despite treading a path that Telugu cinema has rarely explored up until that point, the film didn’t rake in big numbers at the box-office and ended as an average grosser at the ticket window. This Radha Mohan directed thriller gave us a break from seeing Nagarjuna play the smooth talker and showcased him in a role that’s not easy to pull off.
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