Underrated Telugu/Tollywood Movies That You Must Watch!

Some of my non-Telugu friends keep complaining that Telugu movies are mostly "love stories" and they are ages behind Bollywood/Hollywood. Labeling an entire industry just based on some movies is completely unfair to the good movies. I am tired of explaining it to many people that they are watching the wrong kind of movies and judging the entire industry. So I have decided to make people more familiar to some amazing Telugu movies in blog posts.

This blog post is about those underrated Telugu movies that may have not done well at box office, but later on grew like a slow poison and developed a cult following. As I kept listing down such movies, I realized that most of them have common directors/story writers. So I am going to categorize by the director/story writer mostly.

Underrated Telugu Movies
Underrated Telugu Movies

Chandra Sekhar Yeleti and Gunnam Gangaraju:

They my favorite duo though they haven't done many movies. They have collaborated together for some of the best movies like Aithe, Anukokunda Oka Roju, Little Soldiers and even the best Telugu sitcom Amrutham. Yeleti has done some other movies like Okkadunnadu, Prayanam, Sahasam, Manamantha, while Gangaraju is behind the movies like Katha, Ghazi.


An underworld Mafia don, who plans the hijack of his own plane to cross the border, recruits four guys who are struggling desperately for money to fulfill their own dreams. But these guys have a plan of their own. A movie with no drama and just one song (in 2003!) - this movie was ahead of it's time. I still remember how I was awed after watching it in theater.

Anukokunda Oka Roju:

This is the movie that showed that superstitions and blind faith are just as bad as drugs with a thrilling mystery. The plot revolves around finding what happened on the missing day in a girl's life. The deadpan humor and the music make this movie even more awesome.


A Mafia don in need of a heart transplant has a rare blood group - Bombay blood group. This makes him to be on the lookout for someone with that blood group and when he finally finds a man(protagonist) with same blood group, what follows is a fight for life.


A woman witnesses the murder of a girl. But she is not sure if it's her hallucination and relapse into her mental issues that are caused after she is traumatized by the death of her family in the past.


He is the director who infuses conscience into his movies - be it Gamyam, Vedam, Kanche or Krishnam Vande Jagadguru. All these movies are message oriented but with a strong narrative that can still entertain the audience.


The brilliant song "Yentha varaku" in this movie, penned down by Sirivennela summarizes the entire movie. If you haven't read the book Alchemist, you can get the gist of it in this song! This is the  story of the self discovery of a rich guy who befriends a thief and meets different kinds of people including Naxalites in his journey to find his love.


The plot revolves around five characters - a guy who lives in the slums but wants to become rich, a wannabe rockstar, a prostitute, a Muslim guy who wants to leave the city because of the Hindu-Muslim conflicts and a poor old weaver. The movie follows how each character is affected and transformed by some incidents.


Though the movie progresses at a slow pace, it brilliantly portrays the World War and the internal war in a village. It goes to show how even after crossing the border and even at a large scale, it's the same old pattern of discrimination and greed that leads to war -be it in a small village or in the entire world.

Prasthanam by Deva Katta:

 Like all the characters greyed in Mahabharatha, this story of politics and greed portrays how everyone acts for achieving their own agenda. This movie wouldn't have been what it is without Sai Kumar and Sharvanand.

Honorable Mentions:
Vennela - A fun movie about the life of Indian students in US that introduced Vennela Kishore to Tollywood!

Nandanavanam 120 KMs by Neelakanta:

A thief acting like the owner of Nandanavanam starts experiencing eerie things going on. A thriller bordering on the horror genre, this one maintains the suspense till the end.

Honorable Mentions:
Neelakanta has directed movies like Missamma and Mr.Medhavi that are totally relatable for  a middle class person.

Nenokkadine by Sukumar:

Despite the super star casting and Sukumar's trademark, this movie didn't really achieve much acclaim. A mystery/thriller  about a rockstar ,who is not sure if he is hallucinating or if it's real, sets out to find his identity and his roots.

Anaganaga Oka Roju by RGV:

This movie is along the lines of Kshana kshanam in terms of the chase from the bad guys and the ensuing comedy around it. This was the movie I looked forward to watching on TV as a kid.

Chantabbai by Jandhyala:

A movie about a not-so-Sherlock detective Pandu who calls himself  Pond-James Pond and his investigation to find Chantabbai leaves us laughing even after 32 years!! Jandhyala's dialogues and Sri Lakshmi's hilarious poems are unforgettable.

*I wasn't sure about including this movie as many people love it. But considering that it didn't do well at the box office at the time of it's release, added this one to the list.

Other honorable mentions:

Yuvakudu by Karunakaran:

Karunakaran has directed several successful movies like Tholiprema, Ullasanga Utsahanga, Happy, Vasu, Darling. Yuvakudu is one such fun movie with drama.

Swamy Ra Ra by Sudheer Varma:

A gang of three expert pick pocket-ers get hold of a Gold Vinayaka idol that's worth 100 million. This crime comedy movie reminds of RGV movies and is fun to watch.

Yevade Subramaniam by Nag Ashwin:

The reason this is in honorable mentions and not in the main list is because somehow at the end, as audience, I wasn't moved like I was when I watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Nevertheless, it's still a great movie about living the life, following  your heart and going on a adventure.

Leader by Shekar Kammula:

A politically naive guy with good intentions goes on to become CM to fulfill his father's last wish. For the greater good, he resorts to corruption. But at the end, he realizes that despite the intentions, evil is evil and raises as a true Leader.


PS: Sorry for the poor quality videos :( I tried my best in finding trailers, but for few, I couldn't.


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  1. Thanks for good suggestion. It will help in this quarantine time.


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