Tracking Jr NTR’s stardom on his birthday: From a child actor to a global icon

As Jr NTR turns 40 on 20 May, South First puts together a list of some of his best performances over the years.

ByHaricharan Pudipeddi

Published May 20, 2024 | 3:35 PMUpdatedMay 20, 2024 | 3:35 PM

Happy 40th birthday Jr NTR

Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao Jr aka Jr NTR has come a long way in his career since his first on-screen appearance in the 1991 Telugu film Brahmarshi Viswamitra.

Having started his career as a child actor, it could be easily said that life has come full circle for the RRR star as he gears up for his big Bollywood debut with War 2.

As Jr NTR celebrates his 40th birthday on Monday, 20 May, South First tracks his meteoric rise to stardom through his films.

Jr NTR’s upcoming films

The actor has the most exciting lineup in his kitty. He currently awaits the release of Koratala Siva’s Devara, which marks his second collaboration with the director after Janatha Garage (2016).

Tipped to be a revenge-based thriller, Devara features the global icon in the role of a fisherman with a past.

The makers released the “Fear” song in five languages, marking Jr NTR’s 40th birthday. The song was composed by Anirudh Ravinchander.

Also Read: ‘Devara’, an acid test for Jr NTR and makers. Here’s why…

After the debacle of Acharya (2002), director Siva has pinned high hopes on Devara. The Telugu movie is gearing up for a release this October.

Meanwhile, Jr NTR’s next project with Prashanth Neel got an official update on the occasion of his 40th birthday.

Mythri Movie Makers confirmed via a poster that the film will go on the floors in August. Interestingly, the makers have said to have recently approached Karan Johar to get the title Dragon from him.

It is after completing this project Jr NTR, and Prashanth Neel will commence shooting for Salaar 2 with Prabhas.

In his Bollywood debut, Jr NTR will be seen playing an antagonist. It’s considered quite a bold move for a star of his stature to play a negative role in his first Hindi film.

“Jr NTR is locking horns with Hrithik Roshan in War 2. It’s going to be epic. Their battle of wits and their fierce showdown will be an action spectacle to remember on the big screen,” a source was quoted in Variety report.

Further, it adds, “This move by Aditya Chopra enables War 2 to have the widest audience appeal for a Hindi film and it also widens the box office potential of the film. South India should come alive and connect at a more emotional level with the film because of the presence of their beloved superstar.”

Last seen on screen in SS Rajamouli’s magnum opus RRR, Jr NTR’s performance in the film truly was one for the ages.

His performance was not only celebrated by his fans and audiences across India but it even made a strong impact on audiences abroad.

In Japan, audiences celebrated his performance in a big way and even gifted him many handmade memorabilia.

Well, on his 40th birthday, let’s track the rise of Jr NTR through some of his best performances over the years.

Also Read: Prashanth Neel to complete Jr NTR’s film before ‘Salaar 2’

Simhadri (2003)

A poster of the film Simhadri

A poster of the film ‘Simhadri’. (X)

Action-drama Simhadri marked Jr NTR’s second collaboration with filmmaker SS Rajamouli after Student No 1 (2001).

After the back-to-back failures of Allari Ramudu (2002) and Naaga (2003), Rajamouli came to the actor’s rescue with Simhadri, and the film ended up as the biggest blockbuster of that year.

The movie saw the actor play a good-hearted Simhadri with a violent past.

The film was your quintessential masala drama with plenty of action thrown in, but it managed to extract the best out of Jr NTR early in his career.

Yamadonga (2007)

In his third and even more successful collaboration with Rajamouli, Yamadonga, Jr NTR plays a petty thief who gets killed much before his time and he gets to know about it after he reaches Yamlok.

The film is a fantasy action comedy that follows Jr NTR’s character who sets out to take revenge on Yamraj for killing him before his time.

Some portions of the film are so much fun to watch because the actor headlined those scenes.

If not for him, Yamadonga wouldn’t have worked so effectively.

Temper (2015)

Jr NTR in Temper

Jr NTR in ‘Temper’. (X)

In Puri Jagannadh’s Temper, Jr NTR played a foul-mouthed cop with no ethics.

The movie was heavily panned by a section of critics for using rape as an excuse for the hero’s transformation.

However, if you keep the controversy aside, the film saw the Young Tiger deliver one of his career-best performances.

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that no other actor could have done justice to Jr NTR’s character. The film was remade in Hindi as Simmba (2018) with Ranveer Singh.

Nannaku Prematho (2016)

In his maiden collaboration with Sukumar—Nannaku Prematho, Jr NTR delivered one of the most stylish performances of his career.

It was also a very understated performance of a son vying to avenge the death of his father but devoid of all the regular tropes.

Also Read: Jr NTR moves Telangana High Court in property dispute case

Jai Lava Kusa (2017)

A poster of the film Jai Lava Kusa

A poster of the film ‘Jai Lava Kusa’. (X)

In Bobby’s directorial, Jai Lava Kusa, the actor was seen playing triple roles for the first time in his career.

As Jai, a character with grey shades and a stutter, Jr NTR pulled off such an interesting role with ease.

It’s the story of three triplet brothers—modelled after Ram, Lakshman, and Bharath—separated by fate, only to meet much later in life.

It was a joy to watch the actor shine in three roles and he plays them so convincingly and yet differently.

Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava (2018)

The film saw Jr NTR join hands with filmmaker Trivikram for the first time.

It is set against the backdrop of Rayalaseema and revolves around two warring families that have shed blood for two generations.

The story is centred on Jr NTR’s character—Veera Raghava Reddy, who is forced to walk the same violent path as his father.

The movie captured the never-before-spoken sentiment behind factionalism from the point of view of women.

In a role that required him to carry a lot of emotional baggage and anger, Jr NTR delivered a performance worthy of celebration.

He breathes life into a character torn between revenge and peace.

RRR (2022)

Jr NTR in RRR

Jr NTR in ‘RRR’. (X)

It is going to be extremely hard for Jr NTR to supersede his performance from RRR, a fictional story set in the 1920s pre-independent era.

The movie is based on the lives of two real heroes and well-known revolutionaries—Alluri Sitarama Raju and Komaram Bheem.

While Ram Charan played Ram, Jr  NTR was seen as Bheem.

As Bheem, the Young Tiger stunned everyone with a pitch-perfect performance, setting the perfect example of being one of the finest actors in the country.

The film, directed by Rajamouli, went on to gross over ₹1200 crore at the worldwide box office.

Also, RRR’sNaatu Naatu” won The Best Original Song Award at the 95th Academy Awards.

Well, here’s wishing the actor a happy 40!

Also Read: Baahubali: Crown of Blood review: Solid storytelling trumps over animation