Why: Anudeep KV’s Jathi Ratnalu was just Naveen Polishetty’s second film as the lead in Telugu. It was released in the middle of a pandemic, a few weeks after theatres had been reopened. Despite not featuring big stars, Jathi Ratnalu grossed over 70 crores worldwide, setting box-office records when there were doubts over whether people would return to theatres. Now that Polishetty’s unconventional choices (his debut was the quirky Agent Sai Srinivasa Athreya) have paid off with Jathi Ratnalu’s massive success, he’s one of the most exciting rising stars in Telugu cinema.
Created a pathbreaking web-series that changed the game for Indian shows
Gave us back-to-back impeccable performances in 2021
Started a nation-wide debate by making an indie for an unknown OTT platform
Parlayed massive viral success into a steady career