Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao (28 May 1923 - 18 January 1996), more commonly known as N.T. Rama Rao or just NTR, was an Indian film actor, director, and producer. His repertoire of films included mythological, social and folk themes. He was awarded the Padma Sree by the Government of India in 1960s, recognizing his contribution to the Telugu cinema.
He was born into a kamma family ("kamma" being the designation of one of the castes) in Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh. He did his bachelors at the Andhra-Christian College of Guntur, Andhra Pradesh.
He made a debut as a police constable with the movie Mana Desam in 1947. He acted in many movies, which appealed especially to the worker classes. He gained more prominence among upper classes too, with the role of Lord Krishna in a mythological movie called Maya Bazar. NTR went on to play a host of other mythological characters.
NTR directed and produced the movie Daana Veera Soora Karna, in addition to portraying three important characters in it.
Despite his success, some consider his later career to have been an anticlimax, claiming that he was more interested in media attention than in artistic creations. This is clearly illustrayted by movies such as Driver Ramudu and Samrat Ashoka.
He established a political party, called Telugu Desam Party, and went on to become the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh within nine months of its establishment. NTR renounced all his wealth before entering politics. However, he amassed a lot of wealth (about INR 10 billion) at the end of his first tenure as chief minister. He resorted to many political tricks such as subsidising rice, power, and so on. In 1987, NT Rama Rao announced a subsidy on rice by distributing it for Rs.2/- (US$ 0.06) a kg., when the market price was Rs.10/-(US$ .3) thus making the state treasury bankrupt. This free-giving propelled a national wide race among politicians. A few years later, the Punjab Chief minster, Prakash Singh Badal, distributed free power to farmers !!
NT Rama Rao lay an extreme empahsis on Telugu idenitity, but ironically he replaced the literary language in Telugu text books with a colloquial one.
NT Rama Rao made the first sincere efforts at the National level in making a coalation party possible, to counter the dynastic Congress rule. It was called National Front. It could win significant number of seats in the 1996 Lok Sabha elections and it formed a coalation government with the congress party. (ironically)
NT Rama Rao married Lakshmi Parvathi at 70+, but not long afterwards succumbed to a heart attack. This has been blamed on a political hijack of his party, power, and political post by his son-in-law, N Chandrababu Naidu.
See also: List of Telugu films