The veteran star was an assistant director before he donned the grease paint for Swargam Narakam
There are very few names in Telugu cinema who can boast of the versatility of Mohan Babu. From beginning his career as an assistant director to playing negative roles, turning a male lead and tasting success as a producer, the veteran has enjoyed an unparalleled five-decade stint in the industry. The star has turned another page today, as he celebrates his 71st birthday.
Born in Chittoor as Bhaktavatsalam Naidu, he has many labels in the industry - from Nata Prapurna to Collection King and Dialogue King. The Modugupalem native was born on March 19, 1952 and he spent his growing years in Yarpedu, Tirupathi. He was fascinated by stage plays in childhood, during which the seed to his acting ambitions was sown and later moved to Madras for opportunities.
While working as a physical trainee in YMCA in Madras, Mohan Babu sweated it out in pursuit of industry opportunities and finally got a chance to assist director Lakshmi Deepak. He debuted as an actor with Dasari’s Swargam Narakam and went onto be a part of over 573 films. Alludugaru, Assembly Rowdy, Rowdygari Pellam, Brahma, Allari Mogudu, Major Chandrakanth, Peda Rayudu were among the most profitable, acclaimed films in his career.
In the 90s, films like Sri Ramulayya, Adavilo Anna unleashed a different dimension of Mohan Babu as an actor. His tryst with film production took off with Sri Lakshmi Prasanna Pictures in 1983 and produced nearly 72 films. In 1992, he established his chain of schools, institutions - Sri Vidya Niketan, providing education to the needy.
Mohan Babu was awarded the Padmashri in 2007 and a recipient of several honours - Filmfare Awards, Lifetime Achievement Awards, Nata Vachaspati, Navarasa Nataratnam, to name a few. Taking inspiration from legendary Telugu star NTR, the veteran entered politics in 1995 and was a Rajya Sabha MP till 2001 as well.
All his children - Vishnu Manchu, Manchu Manoj and Lakshmi Manchu - have made a mark in the industry. Beyond acting, Vishnu and Lakshmi have produced films, are successful entrepreneurs and have been in the news for their charitable activities as well. Mohan Babu, who was last seen in Son of India, will play the sage Durvasa in Gunasekhar’s upcoming drama Shaakuntalam.