Being a star-kid in cinema isn’t as much a blessing that people believe it to be. They are forced to carry a legendary baggage along with them and subscribe to the legacies set by the previous generation. Only a handful of them scale beyond expectations, set aside comparisons and weave an identity for themselves in the hearts of audiences. Balakrishna, with little doubt, has been one such example.
Celebrating his 55th birthday, we take time to get past his five best films over the four decades that he has been in the film industry.
1. Mangamma Gari Manavadu (1984)
One of the most entertaining films that Balakrishna has ever been a part of, Mangamma Gari Manavada featured an ensemble cast including the likes of the multi-faceted Bhanumati and Suhasini. A remake of the Tamil film Man Vasanai, it is a work that had a 500-day-run in the theatres, extracting the best of the vivacious streaks of Balakrishna whose conversations with his on-screen grandmother and especially the song Danchave Menatta Kuthura, the crowds thoroughly lapped up.
2. Aditya 369 (1991)
It is significantly to the credit of a brave Singeetham Srinivasa Rao to pin together mythology, science-fiction and romance and create a gripping collage that Aditya 369 proved to be an immensely successful experiment for all audiences across all ages. The semi-periodical portions of Balakrishna playing Krishnadevaraya, reminding us of NTR in Tenali Rama Krishna, also takes us back to the early 90’s where there was hardly a day, the AIR went without playing the Jikki-number Janavule Nerajanavule.
3. Bhairava Dweepam (1994)
Yet again a Singeetham-directorial and this time, he dabbled with a genre that NTR was also an expert at, with his successful collaborations with Vitthalacharya in the 60’s with films such as Chikkadu Dorakudu and Aggi Barata. A historical fantasy where Balayya co-starred with Roja, Bhairava Dweepam had everything going in its favor – soul-stirring music, good measure of drama, folk-lore plot and humor. The results showed in the box-office besides critical acclaim with 4 Nandi Awards going in its kitty.
4. Samarasimha Reddy (1999)
A film that set the tone for the action-entertainers arriving this era, Samarasimha Reddy, directed by B Gopal, witnessed an intensity in Balakrishna like never-before. Give a good bit of attention to the emotionally drenching plot by Vijayendra Prasad, the dialogue of Paruchuri Brothers, the earth-defying action-sequences and a perfect commercial mix, the film had enough fire in its tank to ensure a 365-day run in the theaters.
5. Sri Rama Rajyam (2011)
Arriving at a juncture, when the actor was going strong in his action-avatars, Sri Rama Rajyam, a Bapu-Ramana collaboration, proved that Balakrishna had that every bit of versatility, grace and the devotional stride, that NTR in his prime enjoyed, to pull off such a film keeping his starry streaks aside. An excellent musical score yet again by Ilayaraja, an enterprising performance by his Simha-costar Nayanthara, the result proved a testimony that a story well-told will stand the test of time regardless of barriers.