Hyderabad, Aug 29 (IANS) TDP founder NTR’s son and actor-politician Nandamuri Harikrishna died in a road accident in Telangana’s Nalgonda district early on Wednesday. He was 61.
Harikrishna, a former Rajya Sabha member and a former Andhra Pradesh Minister, sustained critical head injuries when the car which he was driving overturned near Anneparthi.
The vehicle was flung in the air after hitting a divider and crashed into another vehicle coming from the opposite direction.
Harikrishna, who was not wearing the seat belt, was thrown out of the vehicle and sustained head injuries. He was shifted to Kamineni Hospital at Narketpally, where he succumbed.
Two others accompanying him escaped with minor injuries. They said Harikrishna lost control of the vehicle when it hit a stone.
Two of the five persons in the other car also sustained minor injuries. The person driving the other car said he noticed the vehicle flying in the air and immediately veered it towards the left, thus avoiding the full impact of the collision.
Harikrishna, son of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) founder and former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N.T. Rama Rao, was on his way to Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh to attend a marriage.
He was a member of the TDP politburo and brother-in-law of TDP President and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.
He is survived by two wives Lakshmi and Shalini, two sons Junior NTR and Kalyan Ram, both actors, and daughter Suhasini.
His eldest son Janki Ram was also killed in a road accident in 2014 in the same district. In 2009, Junior NTR had escaped with injuries in a road accident, also in Nalgonda district.
Harikrishna’s death shocked the ruling party in Andhra Pradesh and the Telugu film industry. Chandrababu Naidu, other members of the NTR family, film personalities and TDP leaders rushed to Narketpally.
After the autopsy, Harikrishna’s body was shifted to Hyderabad by road. Naidu, Harikrishna’s brother actor Balakrishna and sons accompanied the body.
The last rites will be performed at his farm house at Moinabad on Hyderabad’s outskirts. Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao said the last rites will be performed with official honours.
Born on September 2, 1956 at Nimmakur in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh, Harikrishna, the fourth son of NTR, began his film career as a child artist in the 1960s.
He debuted in 1967 in “Shri Krishnavataram” featuring his father NTR, who was the most popular actor of his times.
“Talla Pellamma” (1970), “Tatamma Kala” (1974), “Ram Raheem” (1974), “Daana Veera Shura Karna” (1977), “Sri Ramulayya” (1998) and “Seetharama Raju” (1999) were some of his other films.
Harikrishna was the ‘sarathi’ (charioteer) of NTR’s famous Chaitanya Ratham (chariot of awakening) in 1980s. He drove the Ratham, a customised Chevrolet van, for thousands of kilometres.
He had backed Naidu when the latter staged a revolt against NTR in 1995. Following the death of NTR in 1996, he was elected to the Andhra Pradesh Assembly from Hindupur, a constituency represented by his legendary father.
He served as Minister for Transport in Naidu’s cabinet and was also the President of TDP’s youth wing.
In 1999, he quit TDP accusing Naidu of deviating from the ideals of NTR and formed a new party called Anna TDP, which failed to make a mark.
In 2006, he rejoined the TDP and was elected to Rajya Sabha in 2008. Harkrishna resigned from the Rajya Sabha in 2013 in protest against the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.