Born In: Telangana, Hyderabad, India
Tanikella Bharani is an Indian actor, director, screenwriter, poet, and playwright, best known for working in more than 700 hundred Indian films, mostly in Telugu. Born into an affluent poetic family of Hyderabad, Tanikella began his performing arts career acting in and writing stage productions in the 1970s. He eventually moved to Chennai and began working in films. He made his film debut as an actor and a writer in 1985, with films such as ‘Kanchu Kavacham’ and ‘Ladies Tailor’. He further wrote for cult classic films such as ‘ Shiva’ and formed an actor-director association with director Ram Gopal Varma, appearing in many of his films throughout the 1990s. In the early 2000s, his film acting career flourished and he consistently played character roles or supporting roles in multiple films a year, sometimes even doing 15 films in a single year. Overtime he established himself as a bankable star. He has worked in more than 750 films until now, mainly in Telugu, and occasionally in Bengali, Tamil, Hindi and Malayalam. He has won 3 Nandi Awards for his roles in films such as ‘Samudhram’ and ‘Nuvvu Nenu’, and for his dialogues in the film ‘Mithunam’.
Spouse/Ex-: Durga Bhavani
father: Sethu Ramalingeswara Rao
mother: Laxmi Narasamma
children: Maha Teja Bharani, Soundarya Lahari Bharani
Born Country: India
Notable Alumni: Andhra University
City: Hyderabad, India
education: Andhra University
awards: Nandi Award for Best Villain
Nandi Award for Best Dialogue Writer
Nandi Award for Best Character Actor
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Tanikella Bharani was born on July 14, 1954, Secunderabad, Hyderabad (present day Telangana), to Laxmi Narasamma and Sethu Ramalingeswara Rao. He hails from a family with a long history in art and literature. His uncles and grand-uncles have been affluent poets in the Telugu language.
As he hails from an affluent artistic family, he himself became hugely invested in arts as a kid. He began doing poetry early on, but also developed a keen interest in performing arts overtime.
Growing up in an ardent Brahmin family, he recognizes himself as a staunch Hindu. During his early 20s, he began doing stage plays and eventually completed a diploma in theatre arts.
During the time while he was doing theatres, he became friends with famous Telugu actor Rallapalli, who also acted as his mentor. Under his guidance, Tanikella began writing dialogues and small scenes for theatrical plays. Rallapalli understood his potential and advised him to move to Chennai, to work in Tamil Films.
Tanikella made his acting debut in 1985 with the comedy film titled ‘Ladies Tailor’, which was a Telugu language film. In the same year, he played a small role in a small film titled ‘Kanchu Kavacham’. In the both the films, he also served as a dialogue writer. In the same year, he also received writing credits for films such as ‘Aalapana’ and ‘Pralayam’. The latter was his first Malayalam language film.
In the following few years, he served as a writer on films such as ‘Chettu Kinda Pleader’ and ‘Swarakalpana’. However, it was his work as an actor that made him popular in the South Indian film industry.
In 1989, he had a big breakthrough when he penned the dialogue of the Ram Gopal Varma directed film titled ‘Siva’. He also played a role in the film and as the film became a cult classic, Tanikella’s fame grew.
In the early phase of his film career, he was mainly featured as a writer, in films such as ‘Maharshi’ and ‘Saradhamba’, but starting from the early 1990s, his acting career picked up a pace. In 1988 alone, he received the writing credits for 9 films.
In 1991, he appeared playing a supporting role as Chilipi Donga in the Telugu language comedy film titled ‘Appula Appa Rao’. The film went on becoming a major box office and critical success. The film is hailed to this day as one of the finest comedy drama films of Telugu cinema.
In 1993, he further appeared playing a supporting role in the film titled ‘Money’. The comedy film was a blockbuster on the box office and was also remade in Hindi as ‘Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega’. However, it was later claimed that the film was based on the American film titled ‘Ruthless People’.
In the same year, he appeared in the film titled ‘Gaayam’, a political thriller film directed by Ram Gopal Varma. Tanikella played a lawyer in the film, which was also co-written by Mani Ratnam. The film went on becoming one of the biggest successes of the year.
By the mid-1990s, he had become quite a consistent actor, regularly playing supporting roles. In the year 1994, he appeared in five films back to back. He also kept his collaborations with director Ram Gopal Varma alive, appearing in his film ‘Money Money’. The film turned out to be a box office success.
In 1995, he appeared in the mythological comedy film titled ‘Ghatothkachudu’ and ‘Big Boss’, along with ‘Gharana Bullodu’. All three films went on becoming box office successes.
He spent the remaining decade frequently appearing in films and also serving as a writer on them. For the 1999 film ‘Samudhram’, he won another Nandi Award, for his role as the villain.
In 2000, he began with a hit film titled ‘Chitram’. In the romantic comedy film directed by Teja, he played the role of lead actor’s father. The film was a success both on the box office and the critical scale.
The coming few years were some of the busiest years of his life as he appeared in more than 10 films a year. In 2001 alone, he appeared in 11 films, remarkably so in the Hindi film ‘Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega’, a remake of the hit Telugu film ‘Money’, which also starred Tanikella. Other than that, he appeared in Telugu films such as ‘Ammo Bomma’ and ‘Nuvvu Nenu’. For his role in ‘Nuvvu Nenu’, he won a Nandi Award for the best character role.
In 2002, he appeared in back to back 17 films, which was a monumental achievement. His most remarkable film of the year was ‘Indra’, an action drama film that starred Chiranjeevi in the lead role. The film went on becoming one of the most successful box office hits of Telugu industry. The film was later dubbed in Hindi as ‘Indra: The Tiger’ and has been played on Hindi film television channels consistently.
Further in 2003, he appeared in more than a dozen films, such as ‘Satyam’, ‘Juniors’ and ‘Gangotri’. By then, he had established himself as a remarkable character actor and a bankable supporting actor. He had worked with the best of Telugu directors and actors.
In 2004, he carried on with ample number of films per year, and appeared in films such as ‘Sye’ and ‘Gowri’. While he mostly worked in Telugu films, he occasionally headed south as well, working in Tamil films. In 2004, he appeared playing supporting roles in Tamil films such as ‘Ghilli’ and ‘Gambeeram’.
In 2005, he further appeared in more than a dozen films, appearing playing mostly supporting roles in films such as ‘Bhadra’, ‘Mazhai’, ‘Dhana 51’ and ‘Jagapathi’ etc.
Over the next few years as well, he consistently appeared in multiple films a year and in 2012, he directed the film titled ‘Mithunam’. The film was based on a Telugu novel of the same name and was a box office and critical success.
He eventually began appearing in Bengali films as well, and starred in supporting roles in films such as ‘Rangbaaz’ and ‘Game’.
In 2019, he starred in Prabhas starrer high budget film ‘Saaho’, which was one of the most expensive Indian films till date. In 2020, he further appeared in seven films, despite the pandemic halting the production of many films in India.
In total, he has worked in about 750 Indian films till date.
Tanikella Bharani married Durga Bhavani and has two children with her, a son and a daughter.
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