Pawan Kalyan made his filmy debut in Telugu cinema with his first movie, Akkada Ammayi Ikkada Abbayi. The movie was not a big success but he managed to grab everyone’s eyeballs with the special stunts he performed in the movie. He established his foothold as an actor later with the movies Gokulam lo Sita, Suswagatham. The biggest turning point in his career came in the form of Tholi Prema in which he played a simple youth who struggles in education and love. Youth in AP could identify the Balu character with themselves and it paved way for him for a good following in youth. His following movies Thammudu, Badri and Kushi only increased that following by multiple folds. Also all these movies worked out incredibly well at the box office increasing his potential in the trade too.
Badri under the dashing direction of Puri Jagannadh set a new style statement and the next movie, Kushi in the direction of SJ Suriya is an amalgamation of style and a beautiful love story. It was no looking back for Pawan Kalyan at that time when he had everything at bay – Popularity and money.
2003 was a significant year in the actor’s filmography when everyone thought there is no stopping to his juggernaut; he decided to don the director’s hat with Johnny. The movie had witnessed never before hype in Telugu land. He came up with a sentimental love story with high technical values. But could not gauge his own powerful image and the expectations riding on him and thus it resulted in a terrible disaster.
The actor was visibly shaken with the failure of the movie. He went on making movies – Gudumba Shankar directed by a new comer Veera Shankar, Balu ABCDEFG directed by Karunakaran, Bangaram directed by Tamil director Dharani and Annavaram directed by Bheemineni Srinivasa Rao. He tried different things in these 4 films like comedy, style, sentiment and mass but nothing worked and all of them failed to bring him success at the box office.
The success drought continued till the release of Jalsa in 2008. Trivikram Srinivas, the director of the film was bang on judging the pulse of the fans and audience. Keeping any eye on the expectations, he delivered a breezy entertainer and it resulted in a big success. The movie went on to become the biggest grosser that year. However, things were not all settled as his fans would like. He took a break to films and started complimenting his brother’s newly floated Praja Rajyam Party. He extensively campaigned for the party and even spearheaded the Youth wing, Yuva Rajyam. But the party registered a disastrous result in 2009 General elections. Pawan Kalyan silently quit politics and started working with his films.
In 2010, the much awaited Komaram Puli released but faced the ire of Telangana agitators. The makers had to drop the word ‘Komaram’ from the title to pacify them. The movie was directed by his Kushi director, SJ Suriya and has good expectations riding on it. But the movie disappointed every one in every front and went on to become biggest disaster in his acting career. His next movies also did disappoint – Teenmaar, remake of Bollywood film Love Aaj Kal directed by Jayanth C.Paranji, Panjaa directed by Tamil director Vishnu Vardhan.
When everyone started writing him off, he made a comeback with a bang in 2012 with a sensational hit through Gabbar Singh the Telugu remake of Hindi movie Dabangg. The movie toppled many records and went to become the second biggest grosser in Telugu till date. His dialogues and action power fascinated the audience in the rightly remade movie by Harish Shankar. He later joined hands with his Badri director, Puri Jagannadh for Cameraman Gangatho Rambabu. But unfortunately the movie faced the ire of Telangana agitation due to some controversial scenes which were deemed to have taken potshots on Telangana agitations. The movie screening was stalled in the Nizam region, a strong forte of Pawan Kalyan. Later the makers of the movie had to chop off some scenes from the movie to pacify the agitations. It ended as an average.
He achieved a rare distinction with his next movie, Attarintiki Daredi. A distinction, no one would like to have. 90 minutes footage of the movie was leaked on to internet even before the movie release. It is the first such instance in 82 years of Telugu cinema history. But the movie surprised all the trade analysts with its amazing run and collections. The film finally ended up as the biggest hit ever in Tollywood.