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Pushpa: The Rise… to the Top

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Allu Arjun becomes the first Tollywood actor to win the National Award for the Best Actor in 69 years! WOW! tells you why we think it is well-deserved

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The 69th National Film Awards gave a bounty to Tollywood, but what we are celebrating most is mana Allu Arjun, aka Bunny Boy, a mainstream commercial star bagging the Best Actor Award and putting commercial Telugu cinema up there on the national map on October 17. 

Tollywood on the National Stage

Allu Arjun, hailed as the Stylish Superstar, has now also got the stamp of approval from the critics’ committee as well with the national award. The movie managed to make everyone sit up and notice the star. Pushpa: The Rise released on December 17, 2021 in Telugu along with dubbed versions in Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, and Hindi. The film was commercially successful, grossing Rs 360 crore at the box office. It became the highest-grossing Indian film of 2021, and ranks among the biggest box office hit Telugu films of all time. 

Now about the Telugu connection of the ladies who won the National Award as best female actors! Did you know that Kriti Sanon was discovered by Telugu director Sukumar and cast in 1: Nenokkodadine? She went to act in several blockbusters including Mimi for which she won the national award. Tollywood is officially the launchpad for all superstars. That’s confirmed! Interestingly, Alia Bhatt also managed to be under the spotlight when RRR movie won the Oscar for the best song. Alia featured as Sita in RRR and naturally, every talk of the award-winning blockbuster movie by director Rajamouli has a clip of Alia looking cutesy, in the avatar of a Telugu ammayi

Setting the Benchmark

However, the showstopper this year is definitely Arjun and his cult film Pushpa: The Rise which made Telugu movies acquire a pan-India appeal. Interestingly, Arjun plays the flawed character of Pushparaj and not really one of those superhumans that we normally see on the silver screen. Pushpa, a name we will remember for a long time to come, is portrayed as a man who stands and walks awkwardly because of an injury he sustained as a child. His romantic overtures gets rejected by the girl of his dreams — Srivalli. His dance is full of imperfections. Of course, that particular step where his footwear comes off his feet when he tries to traipse became an iconic step. His mannerism of running his hand against his beard and proclaiming “taggedeley” (won’t relent) with fire in his eyes inspired the masses. The rise of a common man to become a red sanders don through his inner strength and overconfidence is a story that one must watch, and then watch again. Interestingly, many top stars rejected the role as they were worried how it would impact their star image. But mana Arjun, always the one to experiment, scooped up the role and owned it like never before.

Genuine all the way

Arjun hails from a filmi family, but he worked his way up with the right choices, hard work and blockbuster movies. His choice of films and his risk-taking ability with characters has inspired a new generation of actors. Actor Shri Tej who worked alongside Arjun in Pushpa as his sibling recounts how warm the actor is, on and off the sets. “Despite spending hours in his gym working out for the character or having to put on itchy beard make-up for his movie, Bunny always has an endearing charm. Be it watching him with his daughter or just advising a co-star, he is a gem of a person. The same charm contributes to his wins,” the actor recounts. Keep charming, keep rocking, Bunny.  

Box

H/L: Tollywood on the award mantle

Best Actor: Allu Arjun, Pushpa

Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment: RRR

Best Actress: Alia Bhatt, Gangubai Kathiawadi and Kriti Sanon, Mimi

Best Male Playback Singer: Kaala Bhairava, RRR

Best Music Direction (Background Music): MM Keeravaani, RRR

Best Music Director (Songs): Devi Sri Prasad, Pushpa

Best Telugu Film: Uppena

Best Choreography: Prem Rakshith, RRR

Best Special Effects: Srinivas Mohan, RRR

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