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10 BEST Films of Akkineni Nageswara Rao

January 24, 2014 14:20 IST

Image: Akkineni Nageswara Rao in Devdas
Radhika Rajamani in Hyderabad

A Nageshwara Rao’s oeuvre spanned many genres and characters. He dominated Telugu cinema for seven decades and has pride of place in the annals of cinema.

He acted in about 250 films, so choosing his 10 best is a difficult task. The films below indicate the variety and versatility of the actor who passed away on January 22, mourned by legions of fans.


Director: Vedantam Raghavaiah

Though it was made in many languages and at different times, ANR's Devdas was the best and most popular, and very successful at the box office too.

This film was a milestone in his career and completely changed his fortunes. As the disappointed lover who takes solace in drinking, his expressions, dialogue delivery, and looks made him an icon in the industry.


Image: Akkineni Nageswara Rao

Director: T Prakasa Rao

Based on Rabindranath Tagore’s The Wreck (Nauka Bhangam),  Charanadasi is probably the first Telugu multi-starrer with stalwarts such as S V Ranga Rao, N T Rama Rao, Savitri, Anjali, and S Janaki besides ANR.

Though it was a flop, Nageswara Rao gave an outstanding performance. There was very little dialogue so he had to express feelings and emotions with his eyes and body language.


Image: Akkineni Nageswara Rao in Vipranarayana

Director: P S Ramakrishna Rao

This is the first time ANR acted as a devotee. For a person who did not believe in God, this required all his acting skills.

He made us believe that he is sincere and religious and had completely surrendered to God. The film won the President's Medal for best regional movie.

With good music and performances, it is a favourite of many people even today.


Image: Movie poster of Batasari

Director: P S Ramakrishna Rao

Batsasari did not win the hearts of viewers but it was much acclaimed by critics. The character ANR played had very few dialogues and was not glamorous, but ANR carried the role wonderfully. Probably no other hero would have accepted the role.


Image: Movie poster of Iddarumitrulu

Director: Adurthi Subba Rao

This was the first time ANR acted in a dual role. The two characters he portrayed had completely different mentalities and mannerisms. One was jovial and fun loving, the other responsible and serious. He played both effortlessly making this movie very entertaining and also a blockbuster.


Image: Movie poster of Moogamanasulu

Director: Adurthi Subba Rao

This was another landmark film in ANR's career. Sweet and meaningful songs, competitive performances by all three protagonists (ANR, Savitri, Jamuna), a good story, excellent direction and cinematography made this movie an all time favourite.

ANR was superb as a man who cannot express his love for the heroine and instead expresses it as adoration.


Image: Movie poster of Budhimanthudu

Director: Bapu

ANR played a dual role in the film which is the story of two brothers who are very different in their attitudes, beliefs and goals. One is jovial, fun-loving and has his vices, but later changes and takes up public service.

The other one is very religious and righteous, but later learns from his brother that to serve mankind is to serve God.

ANR portrayed both these different characters with ease and maturity. The film was a huge success.

Tags: ANR


Image: Akkineni Nageswara Rao

Director: K S Prakash Rao

Another iconic movie for ANR after Devdas. Based on a famous Telugu novel, the hero played by ANR has many shades: a spoilt brat, romantic, imaginative, sacrificing, and finally, a tragedy king.

The different emotions were superbly portrayed by ANR. The film was a huge success and is considered his best after Devdas.

Though the same character was played by two other legends of Indian cinema --Rajesh Khanna and Sivaji Ganesan in Hindi and Tamil respectively -  and both were blockbusters, ANR's performance is supposed to be the best and most unforgettable.


Image: Movie poster of Premabhishekam

Director: Dasari Narayan Rao

ANR played a romantic hero who falls in love, but when he finds out the bitter truth later, he modifies his life and faces reality. One of ANR’s most outstanding performances, this film was yet another contender for ANR’s best.

The film was synonymous with him and the last song of this film was played continuously as ANR was laid to rest.

Seetharamaiah Gari Manavaralu

Image: Akkineni Nageswara Rao

Director: Kranthi Kumar

ANR bore the full weight of this film, and he was 70 years old at the time. There were no romantic songs, spine-thrilling stunts, no glamorous heroine, only the sweet and sour relationship of a 16-year-old grand-daughter and her 60-year-old grandfather.

Very authentic Telugu culture, relationships and village life picturised in a mesmerising way were other plus points of the film.

As the deprived father, loving husband, a man sharp of tongue but with a loving heart, ANR played his part with grace and carried the film on his shoulders.