Telugu film industry had seen a great array of film actors who played villainous characters, and antagonists. Some of the great actors of various time periods played anti-hero roles. Vemuri Gaggaiah, the first recongised lead actor in Telugu films was the first Telugu anti-hero even before the term was used in Telugu films. He played Yama Dharma Raja in the 1933 film, Savitri. Later many actors played villainous characters between 1940s-1950, and the legendary Chittoor Nagaiah shined in anti-hero roles in the early 1940s.
It was not until Pathala Bhairavi that clear-cut villain roles were defined. S. V. Ranga Rao excelled in the character of Nepala Mantrikudu, and became a role model for many such characters to come. His performance as Keechaka won accolades in foreign international film festivals. Mukkamala played Duryodhana in Mayabazar, and became synonymous both with comic and serious villainy.
Rajanala was hailed as the most glamorous Telugu villain of all time. Nagabhushanam carved a niche for himself with his unique acting and dialogue delivery. Kaikala Satyanarayana became the greatest villain after S. V. Ranga Rao, and Rao Gopal Rao was the quintessential villain in numerous Chiranjeevi films.
Chiranjeevi himself played villain characters in the beginning of his career and played few path-breaking roles. Similarly few of the Top Telugu Heroes rocked in the negative roles. Some of the best Telugu villains like Kota Srinivasa Rao, Rami Reddy and Jeeva shined in Bollywood too. Few actors from other languages acted in Telugu films like Kannada Prabhakar, but it was not until Prakash Raj, the floodgates for villains in Telugu films opened for non-Telugu actors. Bollywood stalwarts like Mukesh Rishi, Pradeep Rawat etc. played terrific villain characters with verve.
The following list shows the Telugu Villains (villainous actors of Telugu films).