A small film. An unexpected success. A couple of ordinary looking boys dominated by a hyper active and already popular girl. A commonly looking (read: boy next door) boy - a non Mahesh Babu (really in that film), and a lanky looking guy started their careers with that Ashta Chemma!
The dice had fallen all right for them. But the first guy - the non-Mahesh Babu - went on for a Ride where he had displayed his mass angle. A few downers later, he played the Kabaddi match of his life and scored the winning points. His character in that film (Bheemili) might have died after match...
While everyone went gaga over Nithya Menen and the unearthing of a potential multi-talented star heroine, it was Young Hero Nani who started the ascendency towards becoming Natural Star Nani. Even the director who was hailed as a new-age filmmaker, didn’t actually make it too big (at least till now) similar to her counterpart Mohan Krishna Indraganti of Ashta Chemma.
Bhale Bhale Magaadu Who Scored 8 Hits In A Row
If we observe with an eagle eye, it was Colours Swathi (Swathi Reddy) who walked out with honours for Ashta Chemma and Nithya Menen who outscored everyone in Ala Modalaindi. Nithya may be an exception with her choosiness, but how come a youngster who’s obviously talented but not the stand out actor/technician of the lot goes on to become a star and the others who won more appreciation than him relatively faded away or didn’t make much big?
Perseverance! Charm! Honesty! And then there is something called simplicity.
Nani is our Nani. Sudeep might have scored all the brownie points. Samantha might have hogged a lot of the screen time. But it was Nani’s simplicity and boy next door charms, coupled with Maa Naani (our Nani) feeling he elicited out of us (Read: audience) in Eega made the film actually tick. If it’s not Nani, nobody would have cared that much for that Eega. Of course, Rajamouli is a genius in casting right actors for right roles.
Starting with Yevade Subrahmanyam, he scored an unprecedented (in the last 30 years) streak of 8 successful films on a trot. Some films might not have been well received by the critics for being a rehash of previous films but Nani never failed as an actor. In the process, his nonchalant ease in acting and bankability as a minimum guarantee hero made him the Natural Star. A born star. The Rockstar.
Krishnarjuna Yuddham For Jersey
There are two aspects in Nani’s acting. The casual and nonchalantly laid back way of histrionics (which we have seen in films like Nenu Local, MCA) and the understated but intense performance (in films like Bheemili Kabaddi Jattu and Ride). Both of these were mutually exclusive of each other on most of his films but Krishnarjuna Yuddham proved he can bring out any avatar as and when necessary. The film failed. But he came out of the failure with flying colours. For he’s a thinking actor.
Most of the times it took years for actors to recover when a success streak is broken. Like Venkatesh and Pawan Kalyan after their respective double hattrick hits. But Nani being Nani quickly regrouped and came up with a gem like Jersey directed by Gowtam Tinnanuri. If it’s not for the unexpected box office onslaught like Kaanchana 3, Jersey would have been a blockbuster. Still it did great. But like our review said, Nani reinvented himself with that film.
The Gang Leader
Nani might not trend like some of his own generation actors. But like he outshined those who outshined in his earlier films, in building his career, he’s the next generation Megastar. And Tollywood’s own Mammooty, in a modern way. He can don any role. Mass, class, and do it with nonchalant ease.
His next film is his silver jubilee project V where he’ll be seen in a negative (grey shades) role. The upcoming movies are Shyam Singa Roy where he joins hands with Taxiwala director Rahul Sankrityan. Sai Pallavi plays the female lead. Tuck Jagadeesh with Shiva Nirvana who gave him a memorable hit like Ninnu Kori. And there are many other interesting and varied projects getting ready.
Films lined up for him are so good that if they all click like expected, there’s no looking back for the next decade and a half. Because he’s Mana Nani. Our Nani. Mana Generation Gang Leader.