NTR did not confine to just as an actor who appeared prominently as Lord Krishna or Lord Rama or a director behind the screen. He was a political powerful leader as well. But his multifaceted nature did not stop with this. NTR means a great producer with taste too! Without worrying about the profit-loss equation, he used to choose those stories which would make him satisfied and was successful in making them to films. His production house “N.A.T Arts” began with a film named “Picchi Pullayya” exactly 60 years ago by today. Though the film wasn’t commercially successful, it marked the beginning of a great production house which made some sensible films in Telugu Cinema. Initially the production house was looked after by NTR’s brother Trivikrama Rao which was followed up by his children Harikrishna, Ramakrishna and Mohanakrishna.
When this production house was established, it was just four years since NTR entered in the film industry as an actor. He acted in successful films like Paatala Bhairavi, Pelli Chesi Chudu and Malleshwari by then. He was in full form with enormous success through his films and producers were queuing up for his call sheets. It was at this crucial juncture NTR announced that he is going to establish National Arts production house. Many people were surprised at this decision and some even thought that was it really necessary to establish a production house while he was so successful as an actor then. But NTR’s thought process was different. As he was getting mostly commercial films as an actor, he wanted to make valuable and thought provoking films in his banner. He felt that it was not right to ask other producers to make films according to his taste.
Following the first film Picchi Pullayya from his banner, NTR did not stop there. He made Thodu Dongalu next and changed the production house’s name to National Art Theatres. The film was not so successful but NTR did not back off. He analyzed what went wrong in the making and decided to give what the audience demand for. This led to a film named Jayasimha which was tremendously successful. Next came Panduranga Mahatyam and Seetha Rama Kalyanam. NTR gave hero status to a negatively shaded character Raavana in Seetha Rama Kalyanam. Most of the films such as Gulebakavali Kadha, Sri Krishna Pandaveeyam, Varakatnam, Thalla Pellama, Kodalu Diddhina Kapuram, Sri Krishna Satya, Daana Veera Sooaa Karna , Chanakya Chandraguptha, Akbar-Saleem-Anarkali, Driver Ramudu and so on were highly successful- both content wise as well as commercially.
Some interesting facts about NTR’s production house “N.A.T”:
- Many veteran actresses such as Waheeda Rahman, B. Saroja Devi, Geethanjali, Nagaratnam and K.R.Vijaya began their film careers with this production house.
- Many writers like Samudrala Junior, C. Narayana Reddy, Kondaveeti Venkatakavi, Nagabhairava Koteshwara Rao, Ratanbabu got much needed break by working in this production house.
- The film “Ummadi Kutumbam” which came from this production house was selected for Moscow International Film festival for the year 1968. It was the only Telugu film which was shown in the festival for that year.
- N.A.T is one unique production house which made films in variety of themes such as Social Drama, Folklore, History and Mythology in equal ease. There have been 10 mythological films, and 7 history themed films from this production house.
- Joseph Krishnamurthy, Ravindra Jain and C. Ramachandra were introduced to film industry as Music directors by this production house.