Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao (28 May 1923 – 18 January 1996), popularly known as NTR, was an Indian actor, producer, director, editor and politician who served as Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh for seven years over three terms. NTR received three National Film Awards for co-producing Thodu Dongalu (1954) and Seetharama Kalyanam (1960) under National Art Theater, Madras, and directing Varakatnam (1970), NTR has received the erstwhile Rashtrapati Awards for his performance(s) in the films Raju Peda (1954), and Lava Kusa (1963). He garnered the Nandi Award for Best Actor for Kodalu Diddina Kapuram in 1970, and the Inaugural Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Telugu in 1972 for Badi Panthulu.
NTR made his debut as an actor in a Telugu social film, Mana Desam, directed by L. V. Prasad in 1949. He gained popularity in the 1950s when he became well known for his portrayals of Hindu deities, especially Krishna and Rama, roles which have made him a "messiah of the masses". He later became known for portraying antagonistic characters and Robin Hood-esque hero characters in films. In total he starred in 300 films, and has become one of the most prominent figures in the history of Telugu cinema. He was voted 'Greatest Indian Actor of All Time' in a CNN-IBN national poll conducted in 2013 on the occasion of the Centenary of Indian Cinema.
He starred in such films as Patala Bhairavi (1951), which premiered at the first India International Film Festival, held in Mumbai on 24 January 1952, Malliswari (1951), premiered at Asia Pacific Film Festival, the enduring classics Mayabazar (1957), and Nartanasala (1963), featured at Afro Asian film festival in Jakarta. All the four films were included in CNN-IBN's list of hundred greatest Indian films of all time.
He co-produced, Ummadi Kutumbam nominated by Film Federation of India as one of its entries to the 1968 Moscow Film Festival. Besides Telugu, he has also acted in a few Tamil films. Widely recognised for his portrayal of mythological characters, NTR was one of the leading method actors of Indian cinema, He was referred to in the media as Viswa Vikhyatha Nata Sarvabhouma. He was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 1968, recognizing his contribution to Indian cinema.
After his career in films, NTR entered politics. He founded the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in 1982 and served three tumultuous terms as Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh between 1983 and 1995. He was known as an advocate of Andhra Pradesh's distinct cultural identity, distinguishing it from the erstwhile Madras State with which it was often associated. At the national level, he was instrumental in the formation of the National Front, a coalition of non-Congress parties which governed India from 1989 until 1990.
He is also known as N.T.R., NTR, NT Ramarao, Nandamuri Tarakaramarao, Nandamoori Tarakaramarao, N T Ramarao, Nandamori Tarakarama Rao, N T.Ramarao and Rama Rao.
NTR died of a heart attack on 18 January 1996 at his residence in Hyderabad, aged 72. He was cremated and his ashes were immersed at Srirangapatna by his second wife eight years later, in 2004.