July 24th, 1998. That was exactly 20 years ago on this day. A film got released in erstwhile Andhra Pradesh only to make movie lovers go crazy about it and its hero. A director who found a picture of a guy on a cinema-magazine has cast him in the lead role in his debut film, without expecting that he will grow as a Powerful man of Telugu cinema.
Today it marks two decades of “Tholi Prema”, a film that won hearts, box office and awards as well. Back then, no one expected that Kalyan Babu will become Pawan Kalyan, and Pawan Kalyan will become “Powerstar”. But it happened. His looks are impressive, his acting style is unique, his mannerisms resemble boy next door. More than anything, his previous three films made him sound like he is the brother of Megastar Chiranjeevi, but this made him a Powerstar for audiences.
Cut to the film, Tholi Prema was written and directed by Karunakaran, a director who is regarded as a master craftsman of love stories. The film has beautiful Keerthi Reddy as the heroine, who has given up her career pretty shortly. Soulful music scored by Deva, simple joys, comedy and the Taj Mahal set in one particular song still give a special feeling about this movie. That said, Tholi Prema won National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu, Nandi Award for Best Screenplay Writer and Nandi Award for Best First Film of a Director.
While Keerthi Reddy who played Anu shouts “Balu” (Pawan) in the climax to confess her love, from that day to date audiences are calling Powerstar to confess their love to this superstar. However, when fans are expecting to have that deja vu moment, Pawan Kalyan slipped into full-time politics, leaving his silver screen character.