I first saw him at Charminar in Hyderabad on a moonlit, bluesy night. He was the image of guy-next-door awesomeness, smoking a cigarette atop one of the pillars of the heritage monument (in a set, of course, let’s hope no one gets this wrong in days when everything is misinterpreted), a lovesick girl giggling by his side, and a crescent moon mirroring his adorable smile.
It’s the boyish smile that has made Mahesh Babu not only the superstar of Telugu cinema but also a youth icon of sorts.
Readers from the south would be well aware of this man’s existence (and the intellectual ones are probably wrinkling their noses at this unabashed confession of yet another Prince Mahesh fan). But readers from the rest of India could do with an introduction.
He’s no Rajnikant, but he has his own style and indisputably good looks when compared to much of the Tollywood clan of thickly-moustachioed middle-aged men shaking the ground with their kicks.
Plus he’s veteran actor Krishna’s son, which means he started getting attention and acting cool when he was still in diapers.
Mahesh Babu kicks arse too, but he does so looking like a sunlit daisy, scene after scene after scene. Here’s him being rather impressive as a teenager, and here he is dancing and flying like a superstar at a tender age.
I’m from rest of India, but I was introduced to Mahesh Babu while on a visit to Hyderabad, where I had a plan-less day, and walked into a theatre playing 1: Nenokkadine. While a troubled looking, sultry damsel in distress pleaded to the lead character Gautham to not leave her alone, I felt something I haven’t since school days… a crush!
It obviously helped that I didn’t understand a word of Telugu and could fill in the blanks with my imagination. It had an odd effect on me and I have since been binge-watching all Mahesh Babu films and filling in entire scripts in my head.
I watched one of his films dubbed in Hindi, called Businessman, where Mahesh Babu declares “mein Mumbai ko peshaab karane aaya hun.” That was the last time; I’d rather watch him threaten goons in Telugu. There’s nothing as charming as Babu screaming “Aye!! Yentraaaa?”
I’m not the only one either. Tollywood’s fan following is a universe unto itself, and the female millennials in this gang form a solid group that deserves credit for having popularised the superstar further by not getting enough of him.
Don’t believe me? Click here to see how they swelled into a mob the day Dookudu released in the theatres. There’s a reason why girls wouldn’t think twice before calling him Mahesh Baby. Smile, charm, action!
Image Credit: Click here