Mahesh Babu

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For the Malayalam film actor, see Mahesh (actor).
Mahesh Babu
Born Mahesh Babu Ghattamaneni Krishna
(1975-08-09) 9 August 1975 (age 39)[1]
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Residence Film Nagar, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
Nationality Indian
Other names Superstar, Prince
Alma mater Loyola College, Chennai
Occupation Actor, producer
Years active 1979–1990 (child artist)
1999–present
Spouse(s)
Children Gautham Krishna
Sitara Ghattamaneni
Parent(s) Krishna Ghattamaneni
Indira Devi
Relatives

Mahesh Babu (born Mahesh Babu Ghattamaneni Krishna on 9 August 1975[1]) is an Indian film actor and producer known for his work predominantly in Telugu cinema. He is the owner of G. Mahesh Babu Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. Born to actor Krishna in the Ghattamaneni family. Mahesh Babu faced the camera at the age of four as a child artist in 1979's Needa. His first leading role was in the film Rajakumarudu, which was released in August 1999.[2]

He played a young Kabaddi player in the 2003 blockbuster film Okkadu, one of the biggest Telugu grossers of the time. The film was subsequently remade into various Indian languages. He received international recognition with the 2005 film Athadu, another high grosser in Telugu cinema. The film was dubbed into Polish for a release in Poland as Poszukiwany, becoming the first Telugu film released in Poland, and became a boxoffice hit.[3][4] In 2006 he starred in Pokiri, premiered at the 7th IIFA Awards held in Dubai.[5][6] The blockbuster film was subsequently remade into Tamil, Hindi and Kannada.

In 2011, he starred in Dookudu, which had the largest worldwide opening for a Telugu film. The film was released to seventy-nine screens in the United States.[7][8] In the rest of north, east and west India, it opened up in 21 cities.[9] It became the first Telugu film to reach a gross of more than 1 billion at the time, excluding the dubbed versions. Subsequently, the Los Angeles Times quoted it as "the biggest hit you've never heard of".[10]

In 2014, he starred in the psychological thriller, 1: Nenokkadine which reached $1.225 million in its first weekend, and remained one of the best openings ever for an Indian film in the United States.[11][12] He was then starred in Aagadu, which became the highest opening weekend Indian film in U.S. box office beating Bollywood films like Krrish 3 and Kick.[13][14]

He has won seven state Nandi Awards, four Filmfare Best Telugu Actor Awards, two CineMAA Awards and two South Indian International Movie Awards. In addition to the films, he also endorses several brands in Andhra Pradesh and South India. He was also the national brand ambassador for Thums Up.[15] He was voted as the most desirable man in the Times Most Desirable Men 2013 online polls conducted by the Indiatimes Group.[16] He was ranked 31st on Celebrity 100 list by Forbes India in 2012,[17] and 54th in 2013[18] and was ranked 30th in 2014.[19][20]

In 2015 he started producing films under his production company, G. Mahesh Babu Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.

Early life and family[edit]

Mahesh was born on 9 August 1975 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.[21] He was the fourth of the five children of Telugu actor Krishna and Indira succeeding Ghattamaneni Ramesh Babu, Padmavathi and Manjula Swaroop and preceding Priyadarshini. Mahesh's childhood was spent mostly in Chennai under the care of his maternal grandmother Durgamma and the rest of his family.[22] Since Krishna was busy with his film commitments, Ramesh used to look after Mahesh's academic performance.[21] Mahesh, along with his siblings, used to play cricket regularly at the VGP Golden beach in Chennai. To spend time with him, Krishna used to make sure that his films' shoots would be conducted at the VGP Universal Kingdom during the weekends.[21]

Krishna also made sure that none of his kids would reveal his name during their schooling to ensure a peaceful environment.[21] He was educated at St. Bede's Anglo Indian Higher Secondary School, Chennai where actor Karthi was his schoolmate.[23][24] Mahesh used to be an above average student and weaker in Mathematics. He gained a bachelor's degree in commerce from Loyola College in Chennai.[25] After graduating, he met director L. Satyanand in Vishakhapatnam for further training in acting which went on for three to four months.[25]

Personal life[edit]

Mahesh dated Bollywood actress and former Femina Miss India Namrata Shirodkar for five years.[26] She was his co-star in the movie Vamsi. They got married on 10 February 2005 in Mumbai.[27] They have two children, son Gautam Krishna (born 31 August 2006) and daughter Sitara (born 20 July 2012).[28][29]

Career[edit]

1979 – 2003[edit]

At the age of four, Mahesh visited the sets of the Telugu film Needa (1979) where its director Dasari Narayana Rao shot a few sequences of his as a part of the narrative in the presence of the former's brother Ramesh. Needa marked his debut as an child actor.[30] During the shoot of Poratam (1983) at Vauhini Studios, its director Kodi Ramakrishna suggested Krishna to cast Mahesh in the role of the protagonist's brother after watching him on the sets. Terrified initially, he accepted to act in the film after being persuaded by the film's crew.[30] He went on to act as a child artist in the films Sankharavam (1987), Bazaar Rowdy (1988), Mugguru Kodukulu (1988) and Gudachari 117 (1989). He played a dual role in the film Koduku Diddina Kapuram (1989). Krishna asked him to stop acting and concentrate on studies after he completed working on the 1990 Telugu films Bala Chandudu and Anna Tammudu.[31]

In 1999, Mahesh made his debut as a lead actor with the film Raja Kumarudu directed by K. Raghavendra Rao and co-starring Priety Zinta. The film was commercially successful and people began referring to him with the prefix Prince.[32] He received the Nandi Award for Best Male Debut.[33] He starred in two films the following year — Yuvaraju and Vamsi. Following their poor performance at the box office, Mahesh starred in Krishna Vamsi‍‍ '​‍s Murari the next year. Mahesh called Murari a crucial film in his career and one of the favourite characters played by him.[34][35] Murari was a commercial success and earned him the Nandi Special Jury Award.[33] His 2002 releases Takkari Donga and Bobby performed poorly at the box office. Mahesh however received his second Nandi Special Jury Award for his performance in the former.[33]

Mahesh had two film releases in 2003, the first one being Gunasekhar‍‍ '​‍s Okkadu co-starring Bhumika Chawla which went on to become the highest grossing Telugu film of the year.[36] He won his first Filmfare award for best Telugu actor for his performance in the film.[37] The other release was Teja‍‍ '​‍s Nijam co-starring Rakshita. The film was noted for introducing Dolby EX surround system in Telugu cinema.[38] Despite being a commercial failure,[39] Mahesh received praise from the critics for his performance in the film with Vijayalaxmi of Rediff.com calling him the only reason to watch the film's second half which she termed a routine tale of vendetta.[40] Mahesh won his first Nandi Best Actor Award for his performance in the film.[41]

2004 – 2010[edit]

Manjula produced his next film Naani directed by S. J. Surya co-starring Amisha Patel. While its simultaneously shot Tamil version New featuring a different cast was commercially successful, Naani flopped at the box office.[34] He received the Nandi Special Jury Award for his performance in his next film Arjun directed by Gunasekhar and produced by Ramesh.[42] The failure of Naani depressed both Mahesh and Manjula who took a small break in Goa before resuming their other commitments.[43] He chose to act in Trivikram Srinivas‍‍ '​‍s Athadu co-starring Trisha Krishnan whose script was approved back in 2002 before the production of Naani and Arjun began.[44] Despite being one of the highest grossing films of the year,[45] the film's producers considered it a cost failure due to the budget being shot beyond estimations.[46] The film benefited Mahesh's career as he won the Nandi Best Actor Award for his performance in the role of a hired assassin.[47]

After taking a four-month break for growing his hair, Mahesh collaborated with Puri Jagannadh in 2006 for the film Pokiri which was jointly produced by the latter and Manjula.[48] Made on a budget of 100 million and shot within six months,[49] Pokiri became the highest grossing Telugu film of all time by the end of its theatrical run.[50] Mahesh received praise for his performance with Y. Sunita Chowdary of The Hindu opining that "Mahesh's understated performance in Pokiri allows him to effortlessly reclaim the title of a star, overshadowing more questionable recent career choices".[48] He won the Filmfare award for best Telugu actor for the second time in his career.[51] The same year, his next film Sainikudu co-starring Trisha was released amid huge expectations and flopped at the box office.[52]

The following year saw Mahesh acting in the film Athidhi co-starring Amrita Rao marking her Telugu debut. The film was produced by Mahesh's brother Ramesh.[53] UTV Motion Pictures acquired its distribution rights for an amount of 185 million which became its first Telugu film venture.[54] After Athidi, Mahesh devoted more time to family matters with a new toddler to spend time with, supporting and helping Namrata cope with her father's illness and then his death, followed by Namrata's mother's bout with cancer and her death.[55] In 2008, Mahesh provided voice-over for the film Jalsa directed by Trivikram Srinivas.[56]

After Athidhi‍‍ '​‍s release, Mahesh took a break for seven months from films. Two months later, he signed Khaleja and his break was unintentionally extended for two years due to several delays. During this phase, Mahesh's grandmother and his wife Namrata's parents died. Krishna was worried about Mahesh's career during this phase as the film's shoot was delayed for long.[57] Upon release, Khaleja received mixed reviews from critics and was a commercial failure in India.[58] However, it managed to perform well at the overseas box office.[59]

2011 – Present[edit]

In 2011, Mahesh collaborated with Srinu Vaitla for the film Dookudu which was partially inspired from the 2003 German tragicomedy film Good Bye, Lenin!.[60] Co-starring Samantha Ruth Prabhu, the film received positive reviews upon release and became one of the highest grossing films of the year. The Los Angeles Times called Dookudu as the "biggest hit you've never heard of".[61] For his performance in the film, Mahesh won the best actor award at the 2012 Nandi Awards ceremony.[62] He also won the best Telugu actor award at the 59th Filmfare Awards South and 1st South Indian International Movie Awards ceremonies.[63][64] After the film's gross crossed 1 billion, Income Tax Department officials conducted a raid on the Jubilee Hills residence of Mahesh as he was rumored to get a remuneration of more than 1.2 million for his next projects.[65]

He later played the role of a mafia kingpin with a hidden personal agenda in the film Businessman co-starring Kajal Aggarwal and directed by Puri Jagannadh.[66] Upon release, Mahesh received praise from the critics for his performance in the film with Y. Sunita Chowdary of The Hindu wrote "The film has no frills, no vulgar wastage and the hero is practically in every frame; you hear only his voice, he looks good, sounds good, he also steals the comedian's job. Mahesh plays it straight."[67] Businessman became on of the highest grossing Telugu films of the year.[68] He received a nomination each for best Telugu actor award at the 60th Filmfare Awards South and 2nd South Indian International Movie Awards ceremonies.[69][70] By then, Mahesh was reported to be second highest paid actors in South India after Rajinikanth.[71]

Mahesh receiving the best Telugu actor award at the 61st Filmfare Awards South from actress Tamannaah for his performance in the film Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu (2013).

He then began filming for Srikanth Addala‍‍ '​‍s Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu whose script was approved by him during the pre-production phase of Dookudu.[72] Co-starring Daggubati Venkatesh along with Anjali and Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu became the first Telugu multistarrer film to be produced in the last twenty five years.[73] Release in January 2013, the film became one of the highest grossing Telugu films of the year and marked the completion of Mahesh's hat-trick of successful films.[74] Mahesh won the best Telugu actor award at the 61st Filmfare Awards South ceremony and the 3rd South Indian International Movie Awards ceremony.[75][76] He provided voice-over for Srinu Vaitla's Baadshah the same year.[77]

Mahesh had two releases in 2014, the first one being Sukumar‍‍ '​‍s 1: Nenokkadine, a psychological thriller focusing on a celebrity suffering with hallucinations related to the murder of his parents and the discovery of a special variety of rice. Kriti Sanon played the female lead in this film which marked her acting debut.[78] Made on a budget of around 700 million, 1: Nenokkadine was released amid huge expectations and received mixed reviews from the critics, turning out to be a big disaster by incurring a loss of around 260—270 million.[79] However, Mahesh's performance received praise with critics calling it as one of his best performances.[80][81][82] He also earned a nomination for the best Telugu actor at the 4th South Indian International Movie Awards.[83] The other release Aagadu directed by Srinu Vaitla and co-starring Tamannaah flopped at the box office.[84]

Mahesh collaborated with Koratala Siva for the family drama film Srimanthudu co-starring Shruti Haasan. He co-produced the film under his newly formed banner G. Mahesh Babu Entertainment Pvt. Ltd marking his first film production venture.[85] The film is scheduled for a worldwide release on 7 August 2015.[86] He is also busy filming for Srikanth Addala's Telugu - Tamil bilingual film Brahmotsavam co-starring Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Kajal Aggarwal and Pranitha Subhash which marks Mahesh's first direct Tamil film.[87]

In the media[edit]

Mahesh Babu is considered as one of the most popular actors in Telugu cinema.[88] He was listed 5th in the Times 50 Most Desirable Men in India for the year 2011, becoming the only South Indian to have been so.[89][90] He climbed to the 2nd position of the same list the following year, beating the likes of Hrithik Roshan, Salman Khan and Shahrukh Khan.[16] He was ranked 31st on Celebrity 100 list by Forbes India in 2012,[17] and 54th in 2013[18] and was ranked 30th in 2014.[19][20] Based on recorded earnings between September 2011 and October 2012, Forbes listed Mahesh 15th among India's highest earning celebrities.[91] With earnings of over 422.5 million (US$6.7 million), he was the highest earning South Indian celebrity in 2012.[citation needed] Mahesh Babu has a Net worth of 1500 crore (US$240 million).[citation needed] Mahesh Babu Earnings stood at 51 crore (US$8.1 million).[citation needed]

Brand endorsements[edit]

In 2007, Mahesh Babu signed a five-year endorsement deal with the cola company, Thums Up to replace Chiranjeevi as its brand ambassador in Andhra Pradesh.[92] He endorses brands such as Navratna Oil, Royal Stag, Amrutanjan,[93] Provogue[94] in Andhra Pradesh and Univercell,[95] Idea Cellular, Jos Alukkas,Rainbow Hospitals, TVS, Vivel,[96] Mahindra Tractors,[97] Santoor Soap and South India Shopping Mall[98] in South India. In 2012, he replaced Akshay Kumar as the national brand ambassador for Thums Up.[99] Mahesh had signed for another endorsement TVS Motor Company in 2013.[100] He was topped in the list of Times 50 Most Desirable Men in India for the year 2013.[101] He is the new brand ambassador for Paragon footwear and Tata Sky-Telugu.[citation needed]

Filmography[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Category Film Result
1999 Nandi Awards Nandi Award for Best Male Debut Raja Kumarudu Won
2001 Nandi Awards Nandi Special Jury Award Murari Won
2002 Nandi Awards Nandi Special Jury Award Takkari Donga Won
2003 Filmfare Awards South Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Telugu Okkadu Won
CineMAA Awards CineMAA Award for Best Actor – Male Won
Santosham Film Awards Santosham Best Young Performers Award Won
AP Cinegoer's Association Awards Best Actor[102] Won
Nandi Awards Nandi Award for Best Actor Nijam Won
2004 Nandi Awards Nandi Special Jury Award Arjun Won
2005 Nandi Awards Nandi Award for Best Actor Athadu Won
Vamsee Film Awards Best Actor – N T R Swarna Kankanam[103] Won
2006 Filmfare Awards South Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Telugu Pokiri Won
CineMAA Awards CineMAA Award for Best Actor – Male Won
Santosham Film Awards Santosham Best Actor Award Won
Vamsee Film Awards Best Actor – N T R Swarna Kankanam[103] Won
2007 CineMAA Awards CineMAA Award for Best Actor – Male Athidi Nominated
Santosham Film Awards Santosham Best Actor Award Nominated
2008 Vamsee Film Awards Best Actor – N T R Swarna Kankanam[103] Won
2011 Nandi Awards Nandi Award for Best Actor Dookudu Won
Filmfare Awards South Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Telugu[104] Won
CineMAA Awards CineMAA Award for Best Actor – Male Won
The Hyderabad Times Film Awards Best Actor – Male[105][106] Won
South Indian International Movie Awards Best Actor[107] Won
2012 Filmfare Awards South Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Telugu[108] Businessman Nominated
Santosham Film Awards Best Actor[109] Won
South Indian International Movie Awards Best Actor Nominated
2013 Filmfare Awards South Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Telugu Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu Won
South Indian International Movie Awards Best Actor Won

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