Over the past few weeks, the Indian film community has been mourning the death of Sushant Singh Rajput and the topic of nepotism has been under heavy scrutiny. It's well known that nepotism is rampant throughout Bollywood and now people have been questioning Telugu film industry as well when it comes to Nepotism.
Are producers like Dil Raju, Allu Aravind, and Suresh Babu suppressing talent and not allowing them to rise? When you watch interviews with Varun Sandesh and Adivi Sesh, the nepotistic nature of the film industry shows otherwise. But in this article, we will delve into the film families of Tollywood and see if thokkeyadam is actually a thing.
Top 7: Not Pictured- Chiranjeevi
Chiranjeevi- The man doesn't really need an introduction and is the Megastar of Tollywood. He's the son of a police constable and worked his way up without any fil, background. Chances are if you're reading this, then either you or your parents are a die hard fan of him. Being the first Telugu actor who could dance flawlessly and gracefully, Chiru has been entertaining us for almost 40 years and there isn't a role that he can't do. He's proven his versatility so many times and has been so many industry hits to his name. There's no denying his talent, but his success and hard work has paved the way for a lot of nepotism from his family, much to the audiences dismay and annoyance.
Prabhas- The nephew of Rebel Star Krishnam Raju, nothing came easy for Baahubali Prabhas. He delivered a blockbuster with Varsham and is now a Pan Indian, maybe even Pan world superstar with fame and success Baahubali gave him. Prabhas has shown amazing comic timing in roles like Bujjigadu and Ranga from Billa and also possess a screen presence that's simply magnificent. Extremely humble and nice, he's fondly called the Darling of Tollywood and has been encouraged ever since.
Mahesh Babu- The son of Superstar Krishna, Mahesh Babu was a child actor before he eventually debuted in Rajakumarudu. The audience backed him after Okkadu and after Pokiri, the rest is history. Known for his incredible performances and Greek God like looks, Mahesh possesses the largest female and family audience following in Telugu cinema. In the common audience, he's the most liked actor for his performances.
Pawan Kalyan- The youngest brother of Megastar Chiranjeevi, PK is best known for his 4 consecutive hits starting with Tholi Prema and ending with Kushi. He was energetic in the beginning of his career but not so much anymore and seems to have lost interest. He's not exactly the best actor, but mannerisms and charisma have made him last longer than anyone imagined. It also helped that he had a solid fan base beforehand that's extremely loyal to him.
Allu Arjun- The son of producer Allu Aravind and nephew of Chiranjeevi, he was trolled after his debut in Gangotri. So what does he do? He delivers an absolute classic and blockbuster in his next movie Aarya and has been winning hearts ever since. Known for his insane dance moves and relentless energy on screen, Allu Arjun has worked really hard to make a name for himself and emerge a superstar in Telugu cinema, despite coming from a prominent film family.
Ram Charan- The son of Megastar Chiranjeevi, Ram Charan was trolled for a good 10 years until he delivered his best performance to date in Rangasthalam. Burdened by the massive expectations of being the son of the one of the industries biggest stars, Charan is also an example that hard work and grinding will eventually gain you respect from the audience.
Jr. NTR- The grandson of Legendary actor Sr. NTR, Jr. NTR's rise is something one can only dream of. After acting in Aadi and Simhardi, he became a superstar at age 21 and admits he's been struggling with it ever since. Known for versatility in roles, best Telugu diction, and insane dance moves, Tarak was also trolled for his looks, but has worked very hard to make it where he is.
Chiranjeevi- See above
Ram Charan - See above
Pawan Kalyan - See above
Allu Arjun - See above
Sai Dharam Tej- Chiranjeevi's nephew from his sister's side, SDT has some talent in terms of energy and dances, but as an actor is yet to find his identity with heavy PK and Chiru imitation in his first few movies. After delivering 6 consecutive disasters, one wonders how the actor was still getting offers. If anything, it's the Mega tag associated with his name.
Varun Tej- Naga Babu's son, Varun Tej has shown versatility in his script selection with a wide range already and can act. I guess one could say he's a good product of nepotism because he always tries something new when he could easily play it safe.
Allu Sirish- Allu Aravind's younger son and Allu Arjun's brother, the less said about him the better. 0 talent, 0 acting skills, and 0 box office pull. No matter how hard he tries, he can't seem to get a hit.
Kalyan Dhev- Chiru's son in law from his younger daughter, this dude is a joke. Delivered an utter flop in his debut movie and nobody really cares about him anyway.
Niharika- Naga Babu's daughter, her career ended even before it began. 0 talent and was never encouraged.
Allu Aravind- Allu Arjun's dad and Chiru's brother in law, he acted in Chantabbai and is responsible for some of the biggest hits in Tollywood history. However, he often fakes collections which the audience doesn't like.
Allu Ramalingaiah garu- Legendary actor and comedian. Allu Arjun's grandfather and Allu Aravind's father.
Allu Bobby- Allu Arjun and Sirish's brother, he's turning producer with Varun Tej's next movie.
Vaishnav Tej- Sai Dharam Tej's brother. Making his debut in Uppena yet to be released. He's the 11th actor from Mega family to debut.
Pavan Tej Konidela- Nobody knows who this guy is, but he's the 12th actor from Mega family to enter the industry.
ANR garu- Legendary actor and paved the way for Nag and founded Annapurna Pictures.
Akkineni Nagarjuna- ANR's son, Nag was trolled in the beginning of his career but grew as an actor with movies like Siva and Geethanjali. Known more his charm than acting, the audience loves Nag for his good looks and relentless charisma on screen. The actor himself admitted that he's not a great actor, but a net worth of 2000 crores isn't bad either.
Naga Chaitanya- Nag's elder son, Chaitanya has struggled from day 1 and cannot deliver consistent performances. Girls like him due to the Akkineni tag, but other than he's a liability at the box office almost every time.
Akhil - Nag's younger son, Akhil has never caught a break and he has 0 talent with 3 box office disasters to his name. Despite records openings for Akhil, the film and the audience's interest in him fizzled out very quickly.
Sumanth- Nag's nephew, Sumanth's career didn't quite shape out how it should have. With only Saytam, Godavari, and Golconda High School being successful, Sumanth's genuine and soft spoken attitude didn't get him too far in Telugu film industry. At age 45, his days as a hero are very limited.
Sushanth- Nag's nephew, he finally got a break with Chi La Sow in 2018 and was in Ala Vaikuntapuram Lo. Other than that, he doesn't have much talent at all.
Supriya Yarlagadda- Sumanth's sister, she made a comeback in Goodachari and was very impressive.
Amala- Nag's 2nd wife, she was the heroine in Shiva.
Sr. NTR garu - GOAT of Telugu cinema.
Balayya- NTR's son, It's a joke that he still has a career. He's only surviving on caste based fans and ruins the industries reputation with each passing movie.
Jr. NTR- See above
Harikrishna- NTR's son and Jr. NTR's father, may his soul rest in peace. Was energetic in his short lived career.
Kalyam Ram- Harikrishna's elder son, he has 0 talent.
Daggubati Ramanaidu garu - Legendary producer , Venky and Suresh Babu's father and Rana's grandfather. May his soul rest in peace.
Venkatesh- Ramanaidu's younger son, Venky is one of the biggest superstars of Telugu cinema and is liked by one and all. Venkatesh has proven himself with a wide range of roles and movies and has showcased his legendary comic timing is so many movies. His humble attitude and love for cricket has made him one of the most relatable and loved actors in recent times and his following in families is next level.
Suresh Babu- Ramanaidu's elder son, he now runs Suresh Productions but at times has been accused of thetar hogging along with Allu Aravind and Dil Raju.
Rana Daggubati- Suresh Babu's elder son, Rana has proven himself with movies like Leader and of course his incredible performance in Baahubali 2. He always picks something new and wants to take the industry to greater heights. The audience acknowledges it and has rightfully backed him.
Krishna- The original Superstar of Telugu cinema, he needs no introduction. His sons are Mahesh Babu and producer Ramesh Babu, and his daughter Manjula is a producer and director in TFI.
Mahesh Babu- See above.
Sudheer Babu- Mahesh's brother in law from his sister's side, Sudheer Babu might be ripped but he has 0 talent. The fact that he couldn't pull a movie like Sammohanam to hit status says everything about how the audience encourages him.
Naveen Krishna- Mahesh's cousin and actor Naresh's son, Naveen made his debut in 2016 and has been seen since. Another gone case of nepotism.
Ashok Galla- Mahesh's nephew, he's the son of Mahesh's brother in law Jayadev Galla who's a famous politician. He's making his debut in a movie with Niddhi Agerwal as the heroine.
1st row (left to right): Mohan Babu, Vishnu, Manchu Manoj, Manchu Lakshmi
2nd row: EVV Satyanarayana, Allari Naresh, Aryan Rajesh, Ram Pothineni
3rd row: Producer Bellamkonda Suresh, Bellamkonda Sreenivas, Bellamkonda Ganesh, and Producer Sravanthi Ravi Kishore
4th Row: Aadi Saikumar, Saikumar, Producer MS Raju, Sumanth Ashwin
Manchu family- Mohan Babu, Vishnu, Manoj, and Lakshmi. They're trolled more than actually appreciated for their acting with their funny comments. Of the lot, Manoj seems to be the most talented and very genuine person.
Satyanarayana Family- EVV Satyanarayana, Allari Naresh, and Aryan Rajesh. EVV was known as a comedy director and Naresh is more appreciated for his dramatic roles than comedy roles. Rajesh had a very short lived career as a hero.
Ram Pothineni- A livewire on screen with relentless energy and an underrated dancer Ram is the nephew of ace producer Sravanthi Ravi Kishore who made Nuvvu Naaku Nachav and Ready.
Bellamkonda Sreenivas- 0 talent and 0 hits, son of ace producer Bellamkonda Suresh. His brother Bellamkonda Ganesh is also debuting as a hero soon.
Aadi Saikumar - 0 talent and almost 0 hits again, the son of versatile actor Saikumar and nephew of famous dubbing artist and actor Bommali Ravi Shankar.
Sumanth Ashwin - the son of producer MS Raju who made Varsham and Okkadu, 0 talent once again.
Non - Nepotism Actors
Not Pictured: Vishwak Sen, Nikhil, Siddharth, Sampoornesh Babu
Raviteja- If there's a name synonymous for hard work and dedication, it's Raviteja. Leaving for Chennai at just 22 years old, it took him 12 years to get his big break in Idiot at the age of 34. Known for his flawless comic timing and sincerity in every performance, Raviteja has created a brand of entertainment himself and is loved by one and all
Vijay Deverakonda- Rumored to be a distant relative of KCR, Vijay D had a meteoric rise to fame. Struggling at the age of 24, he got his breakthrough with Pellichoopulu and followed it up with the cult classic Arjun Reddy. Being a part of 3 blockbusters in 2018 further cemented his position as the new age Telugu star and he possesses immense following in the youth and female audiences.
Nani- Known as Natural Star Nani for his natural acting and performances, he made his debut in Astha Chamma and got his breakthrough in 2011 with Ala Modalaindi. Following career fluctuations, he roared back in 2015 with Yevade Subramanyam and delivered an unprecedented 8 straight commercially safe films. He;s also known for his boy next door image which really helps his image and following among family audiences and general public.
Vishwak Sen - A controversial figure as a whole and wanna be Vijay Deverakonda, Vishwak Sen has slowly made a name for himself with movies like Ee Nagaraniki Emaindi and HIT. The youth seem to like his attitude but he proved his talent with a solid performance in HIT. WHether or not TFI decides to really get behind him needs to be seen
Adivi Sesh - The talented actor grew up in USA but speaks flawless Telugu and is known for his excellent work in the thriller genre with that have razor sharp screenplays and terrific twists. With Kshanam, Goodachari, and Evaru, Sesh has proved that whatever film he does is quality. If you think he's gonna be taken down, then watch this interview here
Sharwanand- The talented actor claims if Gamyam failed, he would have stayed in USA and worked a normal job. Thankfully it was a blockbuster and films like Prasthanam and Run Raja Run do justice to his talents. However, he's known to have a good relationship with Ram Charan and Prabhas which might have helped him in the long run.
Nikhil - Movies like Swamy Ra Raa and Karthikeya help his cause, but his real life personality does him no favors. Full of overaction and buildup.
Siddharth- Bommarillu and Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana. Disappeared after that with every Telugu movie becoming a flop.
Varun Sandesh - The first Telugu American to debut in Tollywood, Varun's career lasted literally 1 year as he delivered Happy Days and Kotha Bangaru Lokam within that span. Despite Yemaindi Ee Vela working, 3 out of 25 movies success rate is atrocious. Apparently, he was the first choice for Sukumar's 100% but it eventually went to Chay.
Uday Kiran - The first non background actor to make it big, Uday Kiran's demise was traced back to his marriage with Chiru's elder daughter Sushmita falling apart. Post that incident, Uday never recovered and took his own life in 2015.
Verdict: Is there nepotism in Tollywood? Yes. Does that mean that talent is not encouraged? No. At least not as much as in Bollywood.
The audience always encourages talent in Telugu irrespective of skin color, ethnicity and height which is why actors like Kelly Dorji are appreciated big time in the industry. Unlike Bollywood which only cares about looks.
With actors like Akhil, Bellamkonda Sreenivas and Allu Sirish, it proves that it doesn't matter if you comes from a film family or not. The audience will always encourage talent at the end of the day and most actors from the film families don't have that. Sure almost 90% of notable Telugu actors are from established families but that doesn't mean that they're successful. So many have come and gone due to nepotism, but talent always wins at the end of the day which is why actors like Mahesh Babu, Allu Arjun, and Venkatesh have succeeded despite being from prominent film families. Likewise why Raviteja, Vijay D, and Nani have made it big without any background. If you hustle, success will follow.