Nandamuri Harikrishna, the fourth son of the former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and the legendary actor N T Rama Rao, was born on September 2, 1956 at Nimmakuru village of Krishna District in Andhra Pradesh. Although he did not scale great heights like his father in films and politics, he nevertheless, made his presence felt in both the fields in his own way.
While in films, his younger brother Balakrishna proved to be more successful, in politics, his brother-in-law N Chandrababu Naidu outwitted him. However, he served as Transport Minister in the undivided Andhra Pradesh, Rajya Sabha Member and also the general secretary of the Telugu Desam Party for some years. Starting his career as a child artiste in the mythological film ‘Srikrishnavataaram’ (1967), he went on to do some more films like ‘Thalla? Pellama?’ (1970), ‘Ram Raheem’ (1975) and ‘Thathamma Kala’ (1974) in which he showed his versatility. In ‘Ram-Raheem,’ he and Balakrishna acted together onscreen and won appreciation from the audience.
Harikrishna hit the headlines when he drove his father’s van, the Chaitanya Ratham throughout the length and breadth of Andhra Pradesh in 1982 when NTR founded the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and stormed to power in the year 1983 within just nine months of establishing the party. In one way, he was also instrumental in TDP’s spectacular victory. After taking a long break and dabbling in politics in the mid-1990s for some years, Harikrishna began his second innings as a character actor with films like ‘Sri Ramulayya’ (1998), ‘Seetharamaraju’ (1999), ‘Lahiri Lahiri Lahiri Lo’ (2002), ‘Tiger Harischandra Prasad’ and ‘Seethayya’ (2003).
Although he received the Nandi Award for the Best Character Actor in ‘Lahiri Lahiri Lahiri Lo,’ he became more popular with his other film as the stubborn and adamant ‘Seethayya’ with the tagline ‘Evari maata vinadu’ which was a blockbuster. Whatever film he did, he was able to make his mark by overshadowing others by his aggressive display of emotions, a trait which he inherited from his father.
It must be said to his credit that he was able to create a special screen space for himself in the late 1990s and also in the early 2000s competing with top stars like Chiranjeevi, Venkatesh, Nagarjuna and Balakrishna on one side and young actors like his son Jr NTR, Tarun, Uday Kiran, Nithiin and others on the other.
BY B Srinivas Narayana Rao