Are you are familiar with how Superman got his powers from Hanuman and got revenge on three evil cowboys? If so, then you know all about the Telugu language Superman! Everyone else, read on to be amazed! This Telugu cinema borrows from the Western Superman but manages to also follow the revenge films popular at the time.
This is by far not the only Indian take on Superman. It isn’t even the most famous. That honor goes to the 1987 Hindi version of Superman that is generally considered the Indian Superman. That production even lifts scenes directly from the original 1978 film. But that was the FOURTH Indian Superman (This one is generally called Telugu Superman and is the third made) as there were two Superman films in the 1960s, Superman (directed by Mohammed Hussain and starring Jairaj and Nirupa Roy and there is no good information online about this film besides that) and Return of Mr. Superman which started out as another Superman film but got its title and concept altered slightly because the director was friends with the director of Superman. This title is available on VCD and we got a copy! There is also another film Dariya Dil that has a song and dance number where a character wears a Superman costume, but as that is the extent of the superhero antics it is not a true Indian Superman film.
You must learn about the Tollywood film industry – the Telugu film industry, also known as Cinema of Andhra Pradesh, is the Southern Indian film industry. The main language is Telugu, hence the name (There is also a Tollywood nickname for Tamil cinema, but that is a whole different beast.) The Telugu film industry is believed to be the most prolific film producing industry currently (several other regions have also claimed that)
NTR is the man! Rama Nandamuri Taraka Rao is what you get when you combine Elvis, Jackie Chan, James Bond, Cunyet Arkin, and John Wayne. Only ANR (Akkineni Nageswara Rao) even approaches him in popularity. NTR entered film in 1949, and eventually found fame in dozens and dozens of mythological films produced by the southern Indian film industry at that time. It is hard to even look up information about NTR without running into dozens of pictures of him in mythological garb. NTR starred in over 280 films, not counting the ones he wasn’t the main character in. NTR became a director and producer later, and eventually a politician.
Unhappy with the current government of his own state and the corrupt party ruling it, NTR became the founder of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and served as Chief Minister of the state of Andhra Pradesh. India has a parliamentary system like Britain, so keep that in mind when you read the political things that happened. He served on full term, then when he was out of the country for open heart surgery one of his aides caused him to lose power, but the chaos caused no political mandate in the assembly, forcing the Indian government to appoint a new minister, who handed power back to NTR after a month’s time and NTR called for new elections. He served on for a second term, but after suffering a stroke he was unable to run for reelection on a third term and lost out on office for five years, until he was sufficiently recovered and ran again, getting elected minister for a third time in 1994. The TDP party encountered more turmoil in 1995 where it effectively shut NTR out, and NTR reformed a new TDP party but died in 1996 before any new action could take place. The TDP party continues to exist to this day as the most powerful regional party in India. NTR introduced many reform acts for common people, including equal inheritance rights for daughters, as well as price controls on rice for poor families and taking on corrupt officials.
NTR had seven sons and four daughters across two wives, his son Nandamuri Balakrishna is considered another great Telugu actor and his grandson N. T. Rama Rao Jr. is a current young superstar in Telugu cinema, although he is criticized for imitating his grandfather too often.
An NTR-only website could stay in business for years reviewing his films. Recently, scores of classic Telugu cinema has hit DVDs, to the point where the market is flooded and you can find old classics all over the place for cheap. So you have no excuse not to be able to see an NTR film. But please read this review first, so that way you don’t leave us mid-article! This presentation is in Telugu with no subtitles, but we don’t need no stinking subs!