Tollywood � The popular name for Telugu Film Industry. In India Cinema, heroes have special prominence and particularly in South India, they are seen as demigods. Fans love their favorite actors so much that see them as next to Gods only.
In Telugu Movies, Heroes are given special importance and almost the entire movie revolves around them. Though I personally don�t like such hero-centric movies, I too got acquainted to watch them.
There is always rivalry (healthy competition though) between top heroes to get to the No.1 position. In the early generations of Tollywood, we won�t find such kind of rivalry because of varied reasons. Chittoor Nagayya and SVR are the famous names heard as the top actors of their generation.
Next is the generation where we can find NTR, ANR, Krishna, Sobhan Babu, Kantha Rao and all. From then onwards, heroes have acquired special charisma. In the next generation, Chiranjeevi has almost ruled the Tollywood box office for 25 years. At present, we can�t mention one name as the top hero.
After Chiranjeevi entered politics and have vacated the place of No.1 position in Tollywood, many youngsters are trying to get to that position. Still its not the best time to give that position to anyone, because everyone in the race have got their own plus and minus points.
Lets us start analyzing: (for convenience, I have classified actors in to two groups)
Yester generation top heroes:
Chiranjeevi -Though he retired from movies officially, there are still chances of making re-entry for his 150th Movie. He has got many industry records to his name. His cinema-life once again proves that even a common man can reach heights by putting hard work. He reached top position in Telugu film industry and has ruled for decades.
Balakrishna � Known for his dedication and commitment towards the characters. He is the son of Legendary Actor NTR and has huge mass following. Even though he gives tens of flops, a single hit from this actor can wipe of all his damaged track records and can set new trends. Performance is his plus point while inability to judge a story is his drawback.
Nagarjuna � Recently turned 52, but still looking young and energetic. He is known for both class and mass movies. He has got many lady fans and has got special charisma as the son of ANR. He can entertain in mass characters, in devotional characters and in romantic characters too. He is also known for his cool nature and clever business deals.
Venkatesh � He is also having good following and is considered as one among four main pillars of Tollywood (till few years back). He is the son of producer Ramanaidu and he is known for taking up variety of characters. He is able to bring family audiences to the theaters and is known for making story-based movies rather hero-centric movies.
Present Generation Heroes:
Mahesh Babu: His career can be seen as pre-Pokiri and post-Pokiri era. Before Pokiri movie, he was just a star hero with two or three genuine hits (Okkadu, Murari and Athadu). After Pokiri becoming blockbuster hit and set industry record, Mahesh Babu topped the race of No.1 position in Tollywood. But after that movie, he suffered from continuous flops, but again proved his stamina with Dookudu. Lack of consistency is a main drawback.
Jr. NTR: He has many blockbusters to his credit. Soon after debuting as hero, he got movies like Student No.1, Aadi, Simhadri, which have proved that he can become No.1 hero in Telugu Film Industry. But later he too suffered from few flop movies, but he could put a break to them with Yama Donga movie. After this movie, he has got hits to his credit, but no massive hits which can secure his place as No.1 hero. He urgently needs few industry record breaking hits (at least one or two) in order to prove that he is still in the race for No.1 position.
Pawan Kalyan: His fan following is amazing. Though he is delivering continuous flops since ten years (excepting the case of Jalsa movie), there is no decline in his fan following. Even his flop movie can give more collections than hit movies of other heroes. Hence, Pawan Kalyan is considered apt for No.1 position by his fans. But to make other sections of audiences also to accept him as No.1, he has to give few blockbuster hits now. Most of his prime time (post Kushi) has got wasted with no recognizable hits (except Jalsa). Pawan doesn�t show much interest towards records and top position races.
Ram Charan Tej: As of now, it is too early to give the tag of No.1 hero of Tollywood to this actor. He is still a new comer with 3 movies. Though the second movie (Magadheera) is an industry hit, he has to go long way and should be able to carry the movie just by his name. Till then, we can�t put him in to pressure by considering him as No.1 now itself. He now needs few hits to prove that he is not single-movie star.
Prabhas: Manly appearance and good performance are main assets for Prabhas. He has got good following in masses and girls too. He has all the chances of becoming No.1 hero in Tollywood, provided he could beat other heroes� movie records. He is on good form now with back to back hits like Darling, Mr. Perfect.
Top Hereos in Telugu Film Industry:
Though the following heroes give good performance and good hits at box offices, they might not get to the No.1 position surpassing the above mentioned heroes. Of course, any of the following mentioned heroes might also become top hero if everything goes fine.
Raviteja: He got good opportunities and hits lately. He doesn�t have any background but with his own efforts he reached good position in Telugu Film Industry.
Allu Arjun: he is having good following in youth. Though he has got few hits to his credit, he is still not considered as a part of top league heroes.
Gopichand, Siddharth, Ram, and others are good actors having few genuine hits; they are still far from the race of No.1 hero.
So, the real competition is between Mahesh and Jr. NTR. If Mahesh can give two or three back to back hits now, even those who hesitated to accept Mahesh as No.1 hero of Tollywood will also accept the same.
UPDATE (as of 2014):
Seems like this is an old post, thats’ why I wanted to update it with latest happenings. The above analysis was good until 2011, but after that things have changed. In 2012, Pawan Kalyan came up with ‘Gabbar Singh’ and shook the industry and fans with huge collections. After that, he came up with ‘cameraman Gangatho Rambabu’ which was just an average at grossing. In 2014, PK came up with ‘Attarinktiki Daredi’ under the direction of Trivikram Srinivas and this movie went on to be biggest hit of Telugu Film Industry all time, even though a part of the movie got pirated and leaked on internet even before its actual release.
In the meantime, Mahesh Babu registers few hits after Dookudu. He came up with Businessman and Seetammavaakitlo Sirimalle Chettu and 1-Nenokkadine. Although Businessman was average hit (but commercially success), SVSC proved to be a hit, but 1-Nenokkadine was commercially failure (but it is critically successful movie, I personally liked this movie very much, because of its high range standards).
Prabhas is now working under the direction of Rajamouli for the film ‘Baahubali’ pairing up with Anuskha. Once this movie releases (expected in 2015 or early 16), he is expected to emerge as number one hero of Telugu film industry (given the track record of heros working with Rajamouli). But we have to wait until the movie gets released.
Although Balakrisha is riding high with the Success of Simha and Legend movies, he is considered as hero of yester generation.
Allu Arjun proved that he is very much fit to become a top Tollywood hero, by giving hits like Julayi and Racegurram. Even though these movies are not highest grossers in the industry, he is able to gain more number of fans through these movies.
So, the real competition for Number One position in Tollywood is between Pawan Kalyan and Mahesh Babu. With the launching of JanaSena Party, Pawan Kalyan is expected to work for four or five more years, before he quit acting to completely enter in politics.