Mohan Babu (born Manchu Bhakthavatsalam Naidu) is an Indian film actor, director, and producer, known for his works predominantly in Telugu Cinema . An alumnus of the Madras Film Institute, Mohan Babu has acted in more than five hundred feature films in lead, supporting and a variety of roles. In 1995, He has received Filmfare Best Actor Award, for his work in the multi-starrer Pedarayudu, which also starred Rajnikanth in a pivotal role. In 2007, He has received the CineMAA Award for Best Supporting Actor for his work in Yamadonga. Mohan Babu was awarded an honorary doctorate from University of California, Berkeley for his contribution to the field of cinema and education. He is the co-owner of production companies such as Sree Lakshmi Prasanna Pictures, 24 Frames Factory and Manchu Entertainment. In 2016, He has garnered the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award – South. In 2017, He has received the "Special Appreciation Award" for completing "forty years in cinema" at the 6th South Indian International Movie Awards.
A former Physical Education Instructor, Mohan Babu is a noted educationalist, and operates Sri Vidya Niketan Educational Institutions, and is the founder of Sree Vidyanikethan Educational Trust. In the year 2007, he received Padma Shri for his contribution to the field of Arts and education. He is a former Member of Parliament – Rajya Sabha from Andhra Pradesh after being elected in the year 1995. He was also elected a Deputy into the International Parliament for Safety and Peace, an intergovernmental organization based in Italy. He is referred to in the media as Dialogue King, Collection King, Nataprapoorna, and Natavachaspathi.
In 1980, He was starred in the Tamil film, Guru, alongside Kamal Hassan. In the same year he portrayed a British commanding officer in Sardar Papa Rayudu, alongside N. T. Rama Rao. He received critical reception for his antagonist roles in films like Alluri Seetharama Raju (1974), Swargam Narakam (1975), Gorantha Deepam (1978), Sivaranjani (1978), Padaharella Vayasu (1978), Driver Ramudu (1979), Satyam Shivam (1981), Premabhishekam (1981), Chattaniki Kallu Levu (1981), Patnam Vachina Pativrathalu (1982), Grihalakshmi (1984), Adavi Donga (1985), Khaidi No.786 (1988), Gruhapravesam (1988), Janaki Ramudu (1988), Lankeshwarudu (1989), Kodama Simham (1990), Kondaveeti Donga (1990), Annamayya (1997), and Sri Jagadguru Aadi Sankara (2013).
On the other hand, he was starred in blockbusters like Alludugaru (1990) alongside Shobhana, Assembly Rowdy (1991) alongside Divya Bharti, Allari Mogudu (1992) alongside Ramya Krishna and Meena, Major Chandrakanth (1993) alongside Ramya Krishna and Nagma, Veedevadandi Babu (1997) alongside Shilpa Shetty, Pandavulu Pandavulu Thummeda (2014) alongside Raveena Tandon, and Rowdy (2014) alongside Jaya Sudha.
Mohan Babu was born to Narayanaswamy Naidu and Lakshmamma in the Modhugulapalem village near the banks of the river Swarnamukhi. Mohan Babu grew up with his three younger brothers, Ranganath Chowdary, Ramachandra Chowdary, Krishna and his sister Vijaya. After finishing primary schooling from Yerpedu village, he attended the S.P.J.N.M High School in Tirupati. As a child, Mohan Babu developed an interest with the stage and actively appeared in school plays from the age of 14. His father, a headmaster, was keen on his son pursuing an academic career. It was during this time that Mohan Babu moved to Chennai and acquired a degree in Physical education from the YMCA College of Physical Education.
Mohan Babu began his career as a Physical education instructor at the YAMCA college of physical education for many years. Drawn to arts as a child and convinced that the film industry was the place meant for him, Mohan Babu started traveling to many studios based in Chennai in search of opportunities. Finally, in the year 1969, he received an opportunity to work with director Lakshmi Deepak as an apprentice marking his entry into the film industry. He spent many years behind the camera until his thirst for acting and expression brought him on the screen with 1974 films Kannavari Kalalu and Alluri Seetha Rama Raju as an actor.
During this time, Mohan Babu was introduced to Dasari Narayana Rao who was then a script writer in Tollywood. This would pan out to become the most significant event of his career. Mohan Babu's first major breakthrough as an actor came with the 1975 film Swargam Narakam directed by Dasari Narayana Rao. Dasari cast him as a villain in the movie and went on to achieve great success. It was after this movie that his birth name Bakthavatsalam Naidu changed to Mohan Babu. After appearing in many films as a comedy-villain, he proceeded to star as the leading actor in Khadi Kalidasu, Ketugadu, Gruhapravesham, Assembly Rowdy, Allari mogudu and many more. After receiving success in Telugu Cinema, Mohan Babu as a lover of arts was also drawn to the happenings of Tamil Cinema. After being initiated into the Tamil Film Industry by Sivaji Ganesan, he went on to appear in over 20 Tamil films with a multitude of roles to his credit.
Mohan Babu continued his foray into the film industry by wanting to seize opportunities to experiment with his acting skills. In the year 1982, Mohan Babu established Sree Lakshmi Prasanna Pictures. Named after his daughter Lakshmi Manchu, the movie house released Pratigna. The film was very successful and went on to be showcased in theaters for 100 days. Under Mohan Babu's guidance, the production company went on to deliver major blockbusters including Assembly Rowdy, Rowdygari Pellam, Alludu Garu, Major Chandrakanth, Pedarayudu and Rayalaseema Ramanna Chowdary and many more.
As an ardent admirer of N.T. Rama Rao, in the year 1993, Mohan Babu produced Major Chandrakanth starring N.T. Rama Rao and himself in the lead roles. The movie was directed by K. Raghavendra Rao and went on to become a major blockbuster. The movie also celebrated its silver jubilee and stands as the last movie in N.T. Rama Rao's film career.
Known for his long association with the late N.T. Rama Rao, Mohan Babu ardently campaigned for the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) when it was led by N.T. Rama Rao and consequently joined the party in 1982. While he was making his political presence felt, Mohan Babu received a nomination for Rajya Sabha as a member of parliament representing Andhra Pradesh in the year 1995. During his six-year tenure with the Rajya Sabha, Mohan Babu undertook various projects to develop the Chittoor district including laying roads, providing clean water, developing sanitation and hygiene.
While serving his tenure in the Rajya Sabha, he was also a member of the Committee on Human Resource Development from 1996 to 1997, the committee on Urban and Rural Development and the Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. As part of the Social Forestry programme, he took charge of extensive sapling plantation in scores of villages with the help of villagers and the Vana Samrakshana Samithis. He also initiated programmes on health, nutrition and education on a large scale for the rural populace.
During the Ralayaseema drought, he toured to many villages extensively to address the plight of the agrarian community and offer solutions for disaster management including crop preservation. During these visits, he also worked towards tackling the shortage of drinking water in many villages.
After leaving the TDP, Mohan Babu continued with his career in the film industry. While in the midst of producing a movie titled Sri Ramuliah, he narrowly escaped a bomb blast which killed 23 people and injuring 35 others in Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad.
Mohan Babu is also known to have actively participated in improving the living standards of many underprivileged artists in the South Indian Film Industry. Currently, Mohan Babu does not participate actively in Politics, however there have been many rumors and speculation that he will start his own political party and get back to contributing to the society by fighting corruption.
Mohan Babu established the Sree Vidyanikethan Educational Trust in 1993.
Today, Sree Vidyanikethan runs the Sree Vidyanikethan International School, Sree Vidyanikethan degree College, Sree Vidyanikethan Engineering College, Sree Vidyanikethan College of Pharmacy, Sree Vidyanikethan College of Nursing, The Sree Vidyanikethan College of Management and the Sree Vidyanikethan College for Post Graduation Studies.
Dr. M. Mohan Babu was married to Vidya Devi with whom he has a son Manchu Vishnu and a daughter Manchu Lakshmi Prasanna – both actors in the film industry. After her death, he married her sister, Nirmala Devi, with whom he has a son Manchu Manoj, also an actor.Civilian honors
In the year 2007, he received Padma Shri for his contribution to the field of Arts and education.Filmfare Awards South
Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award – South (2016)
Filmfare Best Actor Award (Telugu) – Peddarayudu (1995)
South Indian International Movie Awards
SIIMA Special Appreciation Award (2017)
CineMAA Award for Best Supporting Actor – Yamadonga (2008)
Natavachaspathi Title by TSR Kalaparishath
The Glory of India International Award
As per a petition filed by BJP Party Leader N. Indrasena Reddy, Mohan Babu was found 'misusing' the Padma Shri title in recently released film 'Denikaina Ready'. The court motioned in favor of the petitioner and on 23 December 2013 announced quoting Article 18 (1) of the Constitution, that the national award did not amount to a "title" and should not be used as a suffix or prefix and in case of non-compliance, the defaulter forfeit the award. However, Mohan Babu has challenged the orders of High Court in the apex court. Subsequently, the Supreme court of India, has ordered Mohan Babu to file an affidavit that he will not misuse the title elsewhere, and ordered for further hearing on 17 April 2014.
Below are the selected filmography of Mohan Babu.