Known for his dancing skills, Balakrishna has received two state Nandi Awards, and the South Indian International Movie Award for best acting. Balakrishna was the guest of honor at the 43rd International Film Festival of India. Balakrishna is the Chairman of Basavatarakam Indo American Cancer Hospital and Research. He is an elected member of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly for Hindupur. In his 100th film, he essayed Gautamiputra Satakarni, 2nd century ruler of the Satavahana Empire in the epic war film Gautamiputra Satakarni. The film was subsequently dubbed into Hindi and Tamil languages.
Balakrishna born in Chennai (then Madras), Tamil Nadu to Telugu actor and son of three-time former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao and his wife Basava Tarakam. As the Telugu film industry was based in Madras at the time, he spent his entire childhood in Madras. During his adolescence, he moved to Hyderabad following the shifting of the Telugu film industry to that city. He earned a bachelor's degree in commerce from Nizam College, Hyderabad, Telangana.
In 1982, at the age of 22, he married Vasundhara Devi, daughter of the owner of SRMT. They have two daughters, Brahmani and Tejaswini, and a son, Taraka Rama Mokshagna Teja. His elder daughter, Brahmani, is an alumnus of Santa Clara University and Stanford University. She has married her cousin, Nara Lokesh, the son of TDP president and present Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh N. Chandrababu Naidu.
In 1974, Balakrishna acted as a child artist in Tatamma Kala which was directed by NTR. Over a period of time he acted in several films, many of them were directed by NTR. Out of which Dana Veera Soora Karna, Sri Madvirata Parvam, Akbar Salim Anarkali and Sri Tirupati Venkateswara Kalyanam became memorable films in his film career. His roles as Abhimanyu in Dana Veera Soora Karna, Sri Madvirata Parvam and Salim in Akbar Salim Anarkali, saint Narada in Sri Tirupati Venkateswara Kalyanam are highly praised. At the age of 16, he acted in a movie titled Annadammula Anubandham, a remake of Dharmendra's Hindi movie Yaadon Ki Baaraat. After watching this movie, other legend of Tollywood Akkineni Nagewara Rao commented that 'Simham kadupuna sihame puttindi'. In this film, Balakrishna appeared in brother role to his real life father NTR. Balakrishna appeared as son to his real life brother Nandamuri Harikrishna in the movie Dana Veera Sura Karna.
In 1984 Balakrishna debuted in a hero role with Sahasame Jeevitham. Even though he acted in several films named as N. T. Rama Rao son, later his hard work, discipline, talent and dedication made him stand in the industry and to win the hearts of audience. He then starred in a drama film Mangammagari Manavadu in 1984 alongside Bhanumathi, Suhasini directed by Kodi Ramakrishna. The film was a blockbuster at the box-office. In the same year, he acted in Kathanayakudu and in biographical film Shrimad Virat Veerabrahmendra Swami Charitra. Both the films did well at the box-office. Again his role as Siddhappa in Shrimad Virat Veerabrahmendra Swami Charitra is critically praised. This movie was directed by his father NTR. He also appeared in K. Viswanath's directorial Janani Janmabhoomi in 1984, which was a critical success. In the year 1985, he acted with Akkineni Nageswara Rao in the film Bharyabhartala Bandham alongside Rajani, which is a moderate success. In the year 1986, he acted in movies like Muddula Krishnaiah, Seetharama Kalyanam, Anasuyamma Gari Alludu and Deshoddharakudu which gradually increased his potential at the box office.
In 1987, Balakrishna acted in a dual role in the film Apoorva Sahodarulu directed by K. Raghavendra Rao, was a box-office success. This year he had six successful films in a row. In the same year, he starred in President Gari Abbai directed by Tatineni Rama Rao and Muvva Gopaludu by Kodi Ramakrishna. Bhargava Ramudu, which is made from a novel, alongside Vijayashanti is a success at the box office. His other films like Inspector Pratap, Bharatamlo Bala Chandrudu, Tiragabadda Telugubidda, Raktabhishekam were also critically and commercially successful at the box office. In 1989, he paired with Vijayashanti in Muddula Mavayya directed by Kodi Ramakrishna. Bhale Donga alongside Vijayashanti and Sharada was also a success at the box office. In 1990, he acted in Nari Nari Naduma Murari directed by A. Kodandarami Reddy alongside Shobana and Nirosha. The film was a box office success. In the same year he appeared in B. Gopal's Lorry Driver opposite Vijayashanti. Talli Tandrulu alongside Vijayashanti was again a success at the box office.
In 1991, Balakrishna acted in a science fiction film Aditya 369 directed by Singeetam Srinivasa Rao. And now they are trying to remake it again. This is the only science fiction film in Telugu cinema, during that period of time. He then had two releases in 1992, Dharma Kshetram and Rowdy Inspector directed by B. Gopal. In the year 1993, he had two releases on the same day which are Nippu Ravva alongside Shobana and Vijayashanti directed by A. Kodandarami Reddy and Bangaru Bullodu alongside Raveena Tandon and Ramya Krishna directed by Ravi Raja Pinisetty. His next appearance was a folk role in Bhairava Dweepam in 1994 directed by Singeetam Srinivasa Rao. The film was a critical and commercial success and one of the milestone of his acting career. In Brahmarshi Viswamitra, directed by his father, he played as Satya Harischandra and Dushyanta. Between 1994–1999, he acted in movies like Bobbili Simham, Vamshanikokkadu, Peddannayya and moderate successes like Muddula Mogudu, Maato Pettukoku, Raana and Pavitra Prema. In the year 1999, he acted in B. Gopal's action film Samarasimha Reddy opposite Simran and Anjala Zhaveri.
In 2000, Balakrishna acted in Goppinti Alludu directed by E V V Satyanarayana with Simran. The film performed well at the box office. In 2001, he starred in B. Gopal's directed faction film Narasimha Naidu opposite Simran once again. The film broke several box office records and it completed 100 days in as many as 109 centres in the state and neighbouring states and silver jubilee in a record 17 centres. The film became the highest-grossing Telugu film of all time until the record was broken by Chiranjeevi's Indra, which was also directed by B. Gopal. Balakrishna won his first Nandi Award for Best Actor for his performance. In the same year, he appeared in Bhalevadivi Basu with Shilpa Shetty, Anjala Zhaveri which opened to average reviews. His 2002 and 2003 films include Seema Simham, Chennakeshava Reddy. The former received unfavourable reviews and was a box office flop, but the latter one was critically and financially successful. In 2004, he performed in a remake of the 2003 Tamil film Saamy titled Lakshmi Narasimha with Asin Thottumkal. The film and Balakrishna's performance won critical acclaim and was a financial success. During the period, he also announced plans to act and direct in the remake of Nartanasala, and a launch event was held in Hyderabad during March 2003. Produced by Pusapati Lakshmipati Raju, the film was announced to have an ensemble cast also featuring Soundarya, Srihari, Saikumar, Uday Kiran and Asin in lead roles. However, despite a grand launch, the film was later shelved following the sudden demise of Soundarya.
The years from 2005 to 2009 saw a lull in Balakrishna's career. Action-drama flicks such as Vijayendra Varma, Veerabhadra, Allari Pidugu, Okka Magadu and Maharadhi bombed at the box office. He paired with Sneha and Tabu in the mythological movie Panduranga (2008) directed by K. Raghavendra Rao. He played the dual roles of Krishna and Panduranga. Rediff described his performance as "Balakrishna does justice to both the roles of God and Ranga. He shines in the climax of the movie. It's quite a task to step into NTR's shoes but his son has done pretty well, though one does miss NTR in the role of Krishna!". The film was an average success and his performance won him the Santosham Best Actor Award. In the year 2009, he starred in family drama Mithrudu alongside Priyamani in a slightly different role – that of a dependable friend and confidante to the female lead. The film opened to average reviews.
In 2010, Balakrishna acted in Boyapati Srinu's film Simha alongside Nayantara and Sneha Ullal. He played dual role as father and son. The film opened to positive reviews, and went on to become the highest-grossing film of the year. A review in Rediff said about his performance "Balakrishna has put in a restrained performance. Though his character is supposed to roar at times, he seems subdued most of the time. But he's given plenty to be pleased about as it is his show all the way." In 2011 he acted in a mythological film Sri Rama Rajyam based on the epic Ramayana. He played triple role in the 2012 action drama Adhinayakudu, making him the first actor to play three different roles as a grandfather, father and grandson on celluloid screen. In 2014, he acted in Boyapati Srinu's film Legend alongside Sonal Chauhan and Jagapati Babu. He played the title role in the biographical and historical film Gautamiputra Satakarni, his 100th film. The film is directed by Krish and is based on the life of 2nd century ruler of the Satavahana Empire, Gautamiputra Satakarni.
The Goa Governor, B V Wanchoo, the Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and Balakrishna were seen along with award winners and other dignitaries at the closing ceremony of the 43rd edition of the IFFI. Balakrishna, in his speech, said that although Telugu film industry finds no place in the film festival by way of representation to its films, 80 percent of the movies that are produced in India are in regional languages, out of which 50 percent are from South India. "Today, film industry is facing competition from radio, and television as also from piracy," he stated. He also maintained that the film festivals have enlarged his vision towards his career.
Balakrishna was involved in a shooting controversy. The incident took place on 3 June 2004 around 8:50 PM at his residence in Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad. The actor has fired shots at the producer B. Suresh and his associate, Satyanarayana Chowdhary. Later both the wounded were admitted into Apollo hospital. The circumstances under which the case was handled led to much controversy as purported by the Human Right Forum (HRF). The HRF has questioned the authenticity of people who handled the case, and the circumstances under which the actor was shielded from police by giving refuge in Care Hospital without any justifiable cause.
The two victims have given statements before the magistrate alleging that actor has fired shots at them during their treatment in the hospital but soon they were retracted and made volte-face of their earlier statements. The actor was arrested later on 6 June at around 3:30 AM and produced before Fifth Metropolitan Magistrate. A show cause notice was also served on Balakrishna's wife Vasundhara Devi as the weapon used was licensed under her name and she could not give sufficient protection to her weapon. Later the actor was granted bail on conditions that he should not leave Hyderabad without Court's permission and to surrender his passport.
Ever since the Telugu Desam Party formation, Balakrishna always campaigned for it in every election but never entered the electoral battle. He went on a vacation to his father-in law Devarapalli Suryam's house. During the vacation, he went on a political campaign for TDP all over East Godavari district and made a victory for TDP. After coming to know about this, NTR said that East Godavari victory is completely Balayya's victory. He contested in the 2014 Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly elections on behalf of TDP and won the Hindupur Assembly Constituency seat with a reasonable majority. Hindupur, in Anantapur district, has been a TDP stronghold since 1983. It was once represented by NTR himself and later for a term by his elder son Nandamuri Harikrishna and Balakrishna will be the third from the family to represent for State Assembly.Nandi Awards
Best Actor – Narasimha Naidu (2001)
Best Actor – Simha (2010)
CineMAA Award for Best Actor - Male – Simha (2010)
Santosham Film Awards
Santosham Best Actor Award – Pandurangadu
Santosham Best Actor Award – Simha
Santosham Best Actor Award – Sri Rama Rajyam
Legendary Actor Award – Legend
TSR National Awards
Best Actor Award for the year 2010 – Male – Simha
Best Actor Award for the year 2011 – Male – Sri Rama Rajyam
Best Actor Award for the year 2014 – Male – Legend
Best Actor – Legend
Award for Best Child Actor - Tatamma Kala
Samman Award - Highest taxpayer in the charge of Commissioner of Income Tax.
Bharata Muni award for Best Actor of the year 2009 – Pandurangadu
Bharata Muni award Best Actor of the year 2010 – Simha
Bharata Muni award Best Actor of the year 2011 – Sri Rama Rajyam
A.P. CINE Goers Association Best Actor Award – Narasimha Naidu Chennakesava Reddy and Pandurangadu.
Akkineni Abhinaya Puraskaram for the year 2007
Best Actor – Telugu - Narasimha Naidu
Best Actor – Telugu - Simha
Best Actor – Telugu - Sri Rama Rajyam