Nani’s first movie was Ashta Chemma. Based on Oscar Wilde’s book ‘The importance of being Earnest’, the movie went on to be a sleeper hit and earned rave reviews for all the major actors involved with the movie.
His next release was Ride. This movie did nothing to enhance the career of Nani. It was a flop at the box-office and gave no scope at all for Nani to showcase the talent that he was said to have in heaps. The only redeeming factor, if any, for him would be featuring in the remix of the song ‘Danchave mennattha koothura’
Snehituda also released in 2009- the same year as Ride. Nani rose above the mundane proceedings of the movie to deliver a good performance - that elusive characteristic of successful actors. Box-office success still continued to elude him as the movie was not up to the mark.
Bheemli Kabbadi Jattu, was a movie that he had high hopes on. Due to the lack of nativity, as with many Tamil remakes, it couldn't quite connect with the audience. His turn as a villager who wants to achieve something big was appreciated.
Coming close on the heels of Snehituda was Ala Modhalaindhi. A breezy entertainer, this was the movie that helped Nani get noticed in the industry and gain a foothold for himself in the industry. His performance, aided by his dialogue modulation, added to the likeability of the ‘jovial, yet sensitive. Detached, yet caring’ character of the protagonist.
Veppam (in Tamil) and Sega (in Telugu) were his next releases. A bi-lingual, this movie concentrated on the roughness of life on the streets. He attracted the eyeballs with his natural performance. As had been the story many times before, this raw movie had few takers in Telugu and was a flop in Tamil too.
Pilla Jamindar allowed him to play the titular role for the first time in his career. Aided by an author backed script, he held the audiences captive with his performance. This was the first time that he didn’t have to share the success with others. He was solely responsible for it.
Eega is the first blockbuster in his career. Though his role was short in the movie, he was noticed. The movie though, did nothing for his image. The movie gave a fillip to the burgeoning reputation of Rajamouli in the country. A brief role at this stage could’ve played havoc with his career. Good fortune or clever selection, we wouldn’t know, but he came out unscathed from the movie.
Yeto Velipoyindhi Manasu as a follow-up to Eega was pretty good as it allowed him to show his acting chops. His performance in the movie was appreciated by all the reviewers. But it did not work out at the box office. Nani's recent films, Paisa directed by Krishna Vamsi and Aaha Kalyanam (Band Baja Barat remake, the first South Indian project by Yashraj Films also failed to trouble the box office expert.
Even more painful is Samuthirakani's Bilingual film. The tamil version of the movie, Nimirndhu Nil with Jayam Ravi released ahead of the Telugu version, Jenda Pai Kapiraju starring Nani. The film failed to do well at Tamil box office and that pushed the Telugu version in to doldrums and it is struggling to release even after months of Tamil release.