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Venkatesh Daggubati


Venkatesh Daggubati has worked in the Telugu film industry for over 37 years. He has also done a few Hindi movies. His father, D. Rama Naidu, was a film producer and former Parliament Member; his mother, Rajeshwari, is a housewife. He completed his schooling at Don Bosco, Egmore. He completed his B.Com from Loyola College, Chennai, and his MBA from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, US. He started his film career as a child artist in the movie Prema Nagar (1971) in 1971, in which he played the role of Keshav. It was directed by K.S. Prakash Rao. After his MBA, he returned to India and wanted to pursue a career in film production. However, he became a Telugu actor and starred in his first movie as a lead in Kaliyuga Pandavulu (1986). This movie was directed by K. Raghavendra Rao and was also the debut movie of actress Kushboo. It was a huge success and won the Nandi Special Jury Award. After appearing in five movies in 1987, he was a part of two major hits in 1988, Brahma Puthrudu (1988) as Shakthi, which got him a Filmfare Award for Best Actor - Telugu, and Swarnakamalam (1988) as Chandra Sehkar (the role of a painter), which won the Nandi Special Jury Award. Swarnakamalam was also featured in the 12th IFFI, the Asia Pacific Film Festival in the Indian Panorama section and the Ann Arbor Film Festival. He starred as Pruthvi in Prema (1989), for which he got his first Nandi Award for Best Actor. In 1990, he appeared in a dual role in the movie Aggiramudu (1990) as Aggi Ramudu and Vijay. He also appeared in the action movie Bobbili Raja (1990) along with the late actress Divya Bharti. These films were featured at the Fribourg Festival. He made his Bollywood debut with the movie Anari (1993) opposite Karisma Kapoor. He also starred in another Hindi movie, Taqdeerwala (1995), opposite Raveena Tandon. In 1995, he did another movie, Pokiri Raja (1995), in a double role as Chanti and Balaraju. The film was directed by A. Kodandarami Reddy. He delivered another significant role successfully with Dharma Chakram (1996), for which he was recognised with Nandi Award for Best Actor and Filmfare Award for Best Actor - Telugu. In this movie, he plays the role of an honest lawyer. In 1998, he made another successful movie Ganesh (1998), again winning the Nandi Award for Best Actor and Filmfare Award for Best Actor - Telugu. His role as Ganesh fought with the vices of the Indian healthcare system. His movie Kalisundam Raa (2000), in which he played the role of Raghu, got him another Nandi Award for Best Actor and the Filmfare Special Award - South. In the same year, he appeared in another blockbuster success Jayam Manadera (2000), in a dual role as Mahadeva Naidu and Rudrama Naidu/Abhiram, for which he got the Filmfare Award for Best Actor - Telugu. In 2007, he appeared as Ganesh in Aadavari Matalaku Ardhalu Verule (2007), which got him another Nandi Award for Best Actor. Daggubati has also starred in several multi-starrer movies like Seethamma Vaakitlo Sirimalle Chettu (2013), along with Mahesh Babu. In 2014, he appeared as Rambabu in the crime thriller Drushyam (2014) and reappeared in its sequel Drushyam 2 (2021) in 2021. Drushyam 1 got him the Best Actor (Jury) award at TSR - TV9 National Film Awards in 2015. His hit movie Guru (2017) won him Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor - South. In 2019, he starred in Venky Mama (2019) along with his nephew Naga Chaitanya Akkineni, which grossed more than 72 crores across the globe. Daggubati has voiced the role of Genie in the Telegu Version of the Hollywood movie Aladdin (2019), originally voiced by Will Smith. He appeared as Naga Naidu in the popular web series Rana Naidu (2023) on Netflix, a Hindi-Telugu bilingual series, along with Rana Daggubati and Surveen Chawla.