Twenty-five years into filmdom and only 64 films to his credit, hero Venkatesh has a long way to go to make it to the 100-mark. But at the pace he is presently wrapping the projects, would he pull through? Here’s a lowdown…
Veteran hero Venkatesh recently completing his 25-year run in cinema has made one and all pore over his film career. However, the fact that the actor is still far much behind to hit a century has raised many an eyebrow. The silver jubilee year has witnessed the Daggubati scion registering only 64 movies to his credit. Interestingly, ‘King’ Nagarjuna, who is also celebrating 25th anniversary in tinsel town, is ahead of the race with 76 films. The two incidentally were introduced as child artistes – Venkatesh in ANR’s Premnagar (claims his producer-brother Suresh Babu) and Nagarjuna in Aadurti Subba Rao’s Sudigundalu.
K Raghavendra Rao’s Kaliyuga Pandavulu (1986) saw Venkatesh set out on the journey to stardom. The coming years only placed him in the band of matinee idols. Needless to say, it was a roller-coaster ride! The celeb kept regaling the audiences with some electrifying performances as a lover boy, action hero, family man, sentimental person and humorist. The likes of Prema, Bobbili Raja, Chanti, Pavitrabandham, Kalsundam Raa, Nuvvu Naku Nachchav, Ganesh and Lakshmi speak in volumes about the true artiste in him. Such are his expressions that even actor-politician Chiranjeevi confessed to have failed persistently in enacting emotional drama so well like Venky.
Commenting on the same, renowned critic Jeevi says, “Venkatesh has been selective and confined to 2-3 releases a year ever since he forayed into films, while his counterpart Nagarjuna concentrated on quantity as well.” A glance at the career graph of the star would throw light on vital statistics. He has a maximum of five releases in 1987 and 1996, while the years of 2003 (Vasantham), 2006 (Lakshmi) and 2008 (Chintakayala Ravi) saw him in just a project each.
Venky nevertheless ensured to strike a balance between family-oriented and mass flicks over the period. Thus, he gratified the cult viewers as well, thanks to his penchant for portraying distinct roles. As regards market, public is never disappointed for, he is one of the most reliable sources of entertainment in the T-town. Hence, he is fondly called ‘Victory’ Venkatesh.
The humble hero however is desperate for more, evident in his words: “I would like to introduce many more beautiful heroines to the Telugu film industry like Divya Bharati, Tabu, Anjala Javeri, Preeti Zinta, Aarthi Agarwal, Shilpa Shetty and Katrina Kaif, do as many films as possible under K Raghavendra Rao’s direction, become ‘Brahmaputrudu’ in Dasari’s heart, impress the Bollywood audience as ‘Anari’, make my fans say ‘Nuvvu Naaku Nachchav’ and continue as ‘Bodyguard’ forever.”
Even so, the actor would succeed in hitting the bull’s eye provided he goes for character roles, opined Jeevi. The critic, in view of Venkatesh’s working style, believes that the icon might get limited to 10-15 more films in the near future if he prefers playing solo main leads. The reason he puts across is the pace at which Venky is presently completing his ventures. But then, since the Daggubati heir is a game for multi-starrers (did Eenadu with Kamal Hassan and now gave a nod to ‘Dil’ Raju’s production with Mahesh Babu) too, there is scope for him to manage the competition from the Gen-Y. Well, we all need a century Venky!