25 years of Venkatesh’s ‘Raja’ — A film that defied conventional, commercial Telugu cinema

'Raja' minted huge money with droves of audiences who watched the film for its sentiment and profound storyline.

ByPrakash Pecheti

Published Mar 19, 2024 | 3:48 PMUpdatedMar 20, 2024 | 2:20 AM

25 years of raja

Typically, Telugu films go by the diktat of commercial troups where you get to see a climax with intense action scenes involving the protagonist thrashing baddies black and blue with dramatic dialogues.

However, at a time when it was hard to imagine a film where the protagonist had no dialogue, the female actor led the story, and there were no commercial elements, Raja defied all the conventions when it was released on 18 March 1999.

It became an all-time blockbuster while challenging the traditional cinematic norms.

25 years later, Raja is still a film many look back upon with fondness and nostalgia!

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Raja, a remake of Tamil film

Raja was a remake of the Tamil film Unnidathil Ennai Koduthen (1998), starring Karthik and Roja and directed by Vikraman.

The original was a resounding success. It ran for a non-stop 250 days and created records in theatres across Tamil Nadu.

Intending to remake it in Telugu, producer RB Choudary bought the rights for the flick and produced it by roping in Muppalaneni Shiva as the director.

Raja ran for 100 days in 71 centres

‘Raja’ ran for 100 days in 71 centres. (X)

Actors Venkatesh Daggubati and the late Soundarya made a hit pair back then.

Venkatesh’s perspective shifted when he opted for a role that aimed to appeal more to family audiences rather than the mass fans. Well, portraying the character of a girl who makes sacrifices to succeed in life resonated deeply with the audience.

Venkatesh’s dedication to his craft in this role has truly entertained people.

Raja minted huge money with droves of audiences who watched the movie for its sentiment and profound storyline.

Venkatesh lived in the character of a thief who transforms into a do-gooder. The character of Soundarya and other talented artistes enhanced the overall story of Raja.

The music composed by SA Rajkumar became a sensation.

Raja celebrated the silver jubilee in four centres and ran for 100 days in 71 centres.

Despite Raja being a Telugu remake of the Tamil original, it stood for the emotion it portrayed on screen.

As Raja turns 25 years old, let us hope the Telugu cinema delivers more such heart-touching ventures in future.

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