Mahesh Babu is an Indian actor and producer. He is a renowned media personality in the Telugu film industry. He is a popular philanthropist. He rose to prominence with the superhit Telugu films Murari (2001), Okkadu (2003), Athadu (2005), Pokiri (2006), Khaleja (2010), Dookudu (2011), 1: Nenokkadine (2014), Srimanthudu (2015), and Bharat Ane Nenu (2018). He is the recipient of eight Nandi Awards, five Filmfare South Awards, four South Indian International Movie Awards, three CineMAA Awards, and one IIFA Utsavam Award. He is considered one of the highest-paid Telugu film actors. He is the founder of G. Mahesh Babu Entertainment film production house.
Mahesh Babu was born Mahesh Ghattamaneni on Saturday, 9 August 1975 (age 47 years; as of 2022) in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. His zodiac sign is Leo. He completed his school education at St. Bede’s Anglo-Indian Higher Secondary School, Chennai. Later, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce at Loyola College, Chennai. Mahesh Babu grew up in Madras. He was brought up by his maternal grandmother Durgamma and her family. His elder brother, Ramesh Babu, used to look after his academic activities as their father was mostly out for his films. According to Mahesh Babu, he liked to play cricket daily with his siblings at the VGP Golden beach in Madras.
Mahesh Babu as a child artist in a still from a film during his childhood days
Babu disclosed in another media talk that the Telugu actor Vijay was his college friend. Soon after completing his graduation, he pursued acting training for four months from the Telugu director L. Satyanand in Vishakhapatnam. During his initial period in the film industry, Babu used to memorise the dialogues of the films while dubbing as he was unable to read and write Telugu.
Height (approx.): 6′ 2″
Weight (approx.): 70 kg
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Brown
Body Measurements (approx.): Chest: 40 Inches, Waist: 34 Inches, Biceps: 14 Inches
Parents & Siblings
His father’s name is Krishna Ghattamaneni, and he was a noted Tamil actor. His father died on 15 November 2022 at a city-based private super-speciality hospital in Hyderabad after suffering a cardiac arrest. His mother’s name is Indira Devi, and she passed away on 28 September 2022 at the age of 70 in Hyderabad.
Mahesh Babu with his parents
His elder brother, Ramesh Babu, was a Telugu actor and film producer. Ramesh Babu passed away on 8 January 2022 in Hyderabad.
From left – Krishna Ghattamaneni, Mahesh Babu, and Ramesh Babu
He has three sisters named Padmavathi (elder), Manjula (elder), and Priyadarshini (younger).
Priyadarshini (right), Padmavathi (left), Manjula (centre), and Indira Devi (centre sitting)
Padmavathi, the elder sister of Mahesh Babu is married to Galla Jayadev who is a prominent Indian businessman and a Member of Parliament from the Telugu Desam Party. Manjula, his second elder sister, is an actress, filmmaker, and producer in the Telugu film industry. His younger sister, Priyadarshini, is married to Sudheer Babu, who began working in Telugu films after his marriage. Vijaya Nirmala, the late Telugu actress and filmmaker was Mahesh Babu’s stepmother, and he has a stepbrother named Naresh, who works as an actor in Telugu cinema.
Mahesh Babu with his stepbrother, Naresh Babu
Wife & Children
On 10 February 2005, Mahesh Babu got married to Indian actress Namrata Shirodkar at the Marriott Hotel, Mumbai. Their wedding took place during the shooting of the Telugu film Athadu.
Mahesh Babu on his wedding day
The couple has two children, a daughter named Sitara (born on 20 July 2012) and a son named Gautam Krishna (born on 31 August 2006).
Mahesh Babu with his family
The couple preserved their stem cells in stem cell banking before the delivery of their second child to ensure a better immunity level in the future. Mahesh Babu is three years younger than Namrata.
He was in a four years relationship with Namrata Shirodkar before getting married to her in 2005.
He belongs to the Chowdhary family (of the Kamma caste).
Mahesh Babu lives at Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad, India.
Mahesh Babu’s signature
When Mahesh Babu was four years old, in 1979, he visited the sets of the film Needa along with his elder brother, Ramesh. Needa’s director Dasari Narayana Rao gave Mahesh a chance to act in his film as a child artist.
Mahesh Babu as a child artist in the film Needa
In 1983, Telugu filmmaker Kodi Ramakrishna advised Mahesh Babu’s father to cast Mahesh in the role of the protagonist’s brother during the making of the film Poratam at Vauhini Studios. He was eight years old at that time, and initially, he hesitated to act in the film; however, he was later persuaded to act by the crew of the film. He then went on to appear as a child artist in many popular Telugu films including Sankharavam (1987), Bazaar Rowdy (1988), Mugguru Kodukulu (1988), and Gudachari 117 (1989). In 1989, he appeared in a double role in the film Koduku Diddina Kapuram.
Mahesh Babu in a still from the film Koduku Diddina Kapuram
Thereafter, in 1990, his performance in two films Bala Chandrudu and Anna Thammudu earned huge acclaim from film critics. Mahesh Babu marked his debut as a lead actor in 1999 in the film Raja Kumarudu alongside Indian actress Priety Zinta. The film was directed by K. Raghavendra Rao. Soon after its release, the film earned a collection of rupees 10.51 crores in Andhra Pradesh and was screened for fifty days in eighty cinema halls and for the next hundred days, it was screened in forty-four cinema halls. After the film became a hit, it earned him the title ‘Prince’ from his fans. Later, the film was dubbed into the Hindi language as Prince No. 1 and in Tamil language as Kaadhal Vennila. In January 2017, this film was again dubbed and released in the Tamil language as Ivan Oru Thunichalkaran.
Mahesh Babu in a still from the film Raja Kumarudu
In 2002, he appeared in two films Yuvaraju and Vamsi, which were both flops. In 2003, he worked in the film Murari, which was directed by Krishna Vamsi. In the same year, he appeared in the film Okkadu alongside Bhumika Chawla. The film was a huge hit, which gained a collection of rupees 23 crores at the box office and became the highest-grossing Telugu film of the year. His film Nijam alongside Rakshita was known for introducing the Dolby EX surround system in Telugu cinema. The film failed to perform at the box office; however, his performance in the film earned him the Nandi Best Actor Award and acclaim from film critics. Vijayalaxmi, an author at Rediff.com, wrote about his performance in the film in one of her articles and said that he was the only reason to watch the second half of the film. She penned,
Mahesh tries his best, but cannot save this routine tale of vendetta. After Okadu, this is another good performance from the young actor. Nijam’s second half is watchable only because of him.”
Mahesh Babu in a still from the film Nijam
In 2004, he appeared in the film Nanni alongside Indian actress Amisha Patel. The film was a flop. Mahesh Babu and Majula, the director of the film Nanni, received a huge setback after the failure of Nanni. In the same year, he was cast in the film Arjun for which he earned the Nandi Special Jury Award for his performance. The film was directed by Gunasekhar and produced by Ramesh. In 2005, he appeared in the film Athadu opposite Telugu actress Trisha Krishnan. The film was a huge hit at the box office and became one of the highest-grossing films of the year, earning rupees 22 crores. The film earned Mahesh Babu another Nandi Best Actor Award for the year.
Mahesh Babu in a still from the film Athadu
In 2006, he appeared in the film Pokiri, which was produced by Jagannadh and Manjula. The film was screened at the 7th IIFA Awards, which were organised in Dubai as it was a huge hit and became the highest-grossing Telugu film of the year. His performance in the film earned him appreciation from film critics. Y. Sunita Chowdary, a writer at The Hindu, titled Mahesh Babu as a star. She wrote,
Mahesh’s understated performance in Pokiri allows him effortlessly to reclaim the title of a star, overshadowing more questionable recent career choices.”
In the same year, Mahesh Babu, along with Trisha, appeared in the film Sainikudu, which flopped at the box office. In 2007, he was cast in his brother, Ramesh’s film Athidhi alongside actress Amrita Rao, who made her Telugu debut with this film. Reportedly, UTV Motion Pictures acquired all the rights for the promotion of the film for rupees 18.5 crores. It was UTV’s first Telugu collaboration. In 2008, Mahesh Babu lent his voice as a voice-over artist to the film Jalsa. Mahesh Babu took a break from films after 2007 for seven months, but the break was extended for two years due to the sudden demise of his grandmother and in-laws during this time. He then worked in the film Khaleja, which was a commercial failure. According to an online media source, Rediff.com, Mahesh Babu was the only reason to watch the film. It cited,
The duo of Mahesh-Trivikram delivers a product that is watchable, entertaining with good humour, couple of well-orchestrated action sequences and songs and with a bit to take home as well. It’s Mahesh’s show all the way, much to the delight of his fans. Mahesh is the soul of the movie, be it his dialogue delivery, his action, his dances or emotions, he is effortless.”
Mahesh Babu in a still from the film Khaleja
The film performed well overseas, and according to Film Companion, a digital platform, the film was considered one of the “25 Greatest Telugu Films Of The Decade.” In 2011, he worked alongside Samantha Ruth Prabhu in the film Dookudu, a part of which was inspired by the German film Good Bye, Lenin! This film became one of the highest-grossing Telugu films of the year with a total collection of rupees 12.58 crores on the first day of its release. The Los Angeles Times tagged the film as,
Biggest hit you’ve never heard of.”
Mahesh Babu in a still from the film Dookudu
In 2012, he appeared in the film Businessman alongside Kajal Aggarwal. The film became the highest-grossing Telugu film of the year and earned rupees 18.73 crores in India and collected rupees 13.78 crores at the global box office. Soon after the release of the film, Mahesh Babu earned positive acclaim from many film critics for his performance in the film. Y. Sunita Chowdary of ‘The Hindu’ wrote that Mahesh Babu fit in every role practically. She penned,
The film has no frills, no vulgar wastage and the hero is practically in every frame; you hear only his voice, he looks good, sounds good, he also steals the comedian’s job. Mahesh plays it straight.”
Mahesh Babu in a still from the film Businessman
In 2012, Mahesh Babu was considered to be the second highest-paid actor in South India after Rajinikanth. In 2013, he worked in the film Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu alongside Daggubati Venkatesh, Anjali, and Samantha Ruth Prabhu. This film was considered to be the first multistarrer Telugu film to be filmed in the last twenty-five years. It was the highest-grossing Telugu film of the year, and Babu marked a hat-trick of his successful films with this film. In the same year, Mahesh Babu worked as a voice-over artist for the film Baadshah, directed by Vaitla. In 2015, he appeared in the film Srimanthudu alongside Shruti Haasan. This film was co-produced by Mahesh babu under his film production banner G. Mahesh Babu Entertainment Pvt. Ltd., which he founded in the same year. He collaborated in the production of the film to share the profits of the film and did not receive remuneration. Sethumadhavan N., an author in Bangalore Mirror, said in one of his articles that the film Srimanthudu would not be a hit if it did not have Mahesh Babu. Sethumadhavan N. penned,
Srimanthudu wouldn’t have been as effective if it did not have Mahesh Babu who is at his charming best, adding that he “underplays the emotional scenes, making them a treat to watch.”
Mahesh Babu in a still from the film Srimanthudu
After the release of Srimanthudu, its story inspired many actors, bureaucrats, and politicians to adopt backward villages in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh for development. Mahesh Babu adopted his native village, Burripalem for its development. In 2016, he appeared in the film Brahmotsavam alongside Kajal Aggarwal, Samantha Ruth Prabhu, and Pranitha Subhash. The picture was a huge flop. In 2017, he marked his Tamil debut with the film Spyder, which was directed by A. R. Murugadoss. He then appeared in the film Bharat Ane Nenu, a political action drama, alongside Kiara Advani in 2018. In the film, he portrayed Chief Minister and was directed by Koratala Siva.
Mahesh Babu on the poster of the film Bharat Ane Nenu
The film was the second-highest-earning Telugu film of 2018. In 2019, he appeared in the film Maharshi alongside Pooja Hegde. The film was directed by Vamshi Paidipally. The film had a net collection of rupees 175 crores worldwide. The film received the Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment award at the 68th National Film Awards. His film Sarkaru Vaari Paata was released in May 2022 and the film received mixed reviews from film critics. His performance in the film was praised by many critics such as The Hindu, Hindustan Times, India Today, and Pinkvilla. He works as a brand ambassador for more than thirty Indian brands.
According to media sources, Mahesh Bahu donates thirty per cent of his annual income to charity. In August 2013, he became a part of the Men Against Rape and Discrimination (MARD) campaign led by Farhan Akhtar. The theme poem of this campaign was written by Javed Akhtar and read by Mahesh Babu in the Telugu language. He works as a goodwill ambassador of a non-profit organisation named Heal-a-child Foundation, which provides financial support for the medical treatment of terminally ill children since 2013. In October 2014, during Cyclone Hudhud, he contributed rupees 25 lakh to the ‘Chief Minister of the Andhra Pradesh relief fund’ for the redevelopment of destroyed areas. In February 2015, he adopted his native village, Burripalem in Andhra Pradesh to fulfil the basic needs of the society such as clean drinking water, better roads, and proper drainage systems.
Income Tax Raid in 2011
In 2011, he attracted controversy when the Income Tax Department officials conducted a raid at Mahesh Babu’s Jubilee Hills residence in Mumbai after his film Dookudu net collection crossed the 100 crore INR mark. It was rumoured in the media that he was demanding more than 12 crores of remuneration for his next films.
In 2004, during the promotional activities of his film Arjun, he attended a rally organised by his fans at Warangal. Reportedly, he, along with his fans, raided two video shops and assaulted their owners for selling unauthorised CDs of the film. Later, he, along with his five partners, was booked under IPC section 448 (criminal trespass), section 427 (mischief), and section 366 (kidnap) cases. During the case, he earned the support of Telugu film actors Krishna, Chiranjeevi, Nagarjuna, Allu Aravind and D. Suresh Babu who collectively approached Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy. Mahesh Babu rejected all the allegations and said in the police statement that he was registered under a case, which was based on wrong information. He was cleared from the case in July 2006.
In 2022, Mahesh Babu was trolled for endorsing the Pan Bahar Elaichi brand. Later, during a promotional event for his film Major, Mahesh Babu made a controversial statement. He said,
Bollywood cannot afford me.”
In 2013, a case was filed against Mahesh Babu by the State Human Rights Commission for endorsing a whisky ad commercial for Royal Stag.
Awards, Honours, Achievements
- 1999: Mahesh Babu received the Nandi Award for Best Male Debut for the film Raja Kumarudu.
- 2003: He earned the Nandi Special Jury Award for the film Murari and Takkari Donga.
- 2003: He received the Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Telugu for the film Okkadu.
- 2006: He received the Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Telugu for the film Pokiri.
- 2012: The Best Actor Award at the 2012 Nandi Awards ceremony for the film Dookudu and won the Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Telugu at the 59th Filmfare Awards South and 1st South Indian International Movie Awards ceremonies.
- 2012: For the film Businessman, Babu received a nomination for Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Telugu at the 60th Filmfare Awards South and the 2nd South Indian International Movie Awards ceremonies.
- 2013: He won the Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Telugu at the 61st Filmfare Awards South ceremony and the 3rd South Indian International Movie Awards ceremony for the film Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu.
- 2015: He won the Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Telugu at the 63rd Filmfare Awards South for the film Srimanthudu.
- 2019: Babu won his fourth SIIMA Award for Best Actor – Telugu.
- The Times magazine ranked him twelfth on its 50 Most Desirable Men in India list in 2010, fifth in 2011, and second in 2012.
Mahesh Babu owns ten luxury cars including a Range Rover, a Lamborghini, an AUDI A8, a Toyota Land Cruiser V8, a Mercedes-Benz E Class, and a BMW.
- He also goes by the names Naani, Prince, and Navataram Superstar.
- According to Mahesh Babu, he likes reading books, jogging, and playing video games in his leisure time.
- He is popular with the names “Superstar of Tollywood” and “Prince Mahesh Babu.”
- Suriya, Karthi, music director Yuvan Shankar Raja, and Mahesh Babu were all classmates at St. Bedi Anglo-Indian School in Chennai.
- He often appears in many television commercials such as UniverCell Mobile Store, Navratna Oil, Amrutanjan, Provogue, ITC Vivel, Jos Alukkas, Idea Cellular, Santoor Soap, etc. In 2012, he was appointed as the national brand ambassador for Thums Up replacing Akshay Kumar.
Mahesh Babu while advertising Thums Up
- In 2019, he became the second Telugu actor whose wax statue was installed in Madame Tussauds Singapore after Baahubali (portrayed by Prabhas).
Mahesh Babu posing with his wax statue
- Mahesh Babu never accepts remakes of films from other languages. He is the only Tollywood actor to receive six Nandi awards and four Filmfare in his seventeen years of career film industry.
Mahesh Babu while receiving a Nandi Award
- Mahesh Babu was once a chain smoker; however, later, he quit smoking.