Daring and dashing director Puri Jagannath has time-and-again proved his passion for films. A look at his filmography, especially his film ‘Neninthe’ are a proof of it. He has a very unique style of filmmaking and his hero characters need a special mention. His stories revolve around bold characters. At the same time, Puri's interviews are a proof that he is as bold as his heros in films. He speaks boldly and openly about things in his mind. He is so passionate about films that the fate of the film at the box office doesn't stop him from making films. It is this nature in him that makes everyone admire him.
Puri Jagannath was born on September 28, 1966 in Pithapuram, East Godavari district. Shortly after his birth, their family moved to their hometown Kottapalle. In Kottapalle, Puri Jagannath's family ran a theater called Puri Talkies. In it, Puri Jagannath used to watch movies every day. Right from his childhood, Puri was more interested in storybooks than his school books. Though he made it till degree, Puri was not able to complete his graduation. Owing to the fact that Puri read a lot of storybooks from his childhood, he was also very good at writing stories. Puri once directed a play in their hometown and impressed everyone there. Seeing this, his father Simhachalam gave him 20 thousand rupees and sent him to Hyderabad. He came to Hyderabad and took a direction course. After the completion of this course, Puri started looking for opportunities as an assistant director. That was the time when actor Murali Mohan approached Puri and gave him a suggestion to befriend assistant directors rather than making an effort to get close to directors. That was how Puri befriended Krishna Vamshi, who was already an assistant director. This friendship helped Puri get a chance to be an assistant director to Ram Gopal Varma.
Puri Jagannath, who was working with Rangopal Varma as an assistant director for a few years, also worked on a story to be made as his own film. He wanted to make a film with Pawan Kalyan and tried to approach his manager for the same. However, it was not fruitful so he went to Shyam K. Naidu, who he knew from the days of 'Doordarshan', and asked him to fix a meeting with Pawan Kalyan. Chhota K. Naidu and Pawan were good friends by then and Shyam approached Chhota with Puri's request. Chhota told Puri that his reputation would be at loss if the story was not good enough. So he asked Puri to narrate the story to him first. Puri narrated the story of the film 'Itlu Sravani Subramanyam', Chhota liked the story and told the gist of the story to Pawan and also persuaded Pawan to meet Puri.
Puri Jagannath then got a call from Pawan Kalyan, and Puri was invited to narrate the story. The meeting was at 4 o'clock in the morning; and Puri was given half an hour's time. Puri went to Pawan's house at the given time and started telling the story. The half an hour turned to an hour and an hour went on to 3 more hours. Pawan, who spent 4 hours listening to Puri, said that he loved the story, but wanted him to change the climax. Puri, who was happy that the story was okayed, said that he would change the climax and come back, and left. Puri tried to work on the climax for almost a week. However, he wasn't satisfied with it. Puri, who met Pawan Kalyan after a week, was asked if he changed the climax. Puri was honest and told Pawan that he tried but he was not satisfied with the change. Pawan agreed to do the film as it is and Puri was extremely happy about it. Everything was going fine and then, Pawan shot a bomb - "Didn't you tell a different story to Chhota?". Puri was shoched but he decided to be honest and accepted that it was a different story but he did it so he wouldn't lose the opportunity.
The movie with Pawan started. Pawan, Amisha Patel, Renu Desai, Prakash Raj were zeroed to play the key roles in this movie. The film is Badri. Pawan's acting, style and fights are all impressive. The dialogue in the scene between Prakash Raj and Pawan where Pawan says ‘nenu Badri .. Badrinath’ is evergreen. The heroines Amisha Patel and Renu Desai were incredible in the movie. This is the first Telugu film for Amisha Patel and it was Renu Desai's debut film as well. Pawan later married Renu Desai. Puri Jagannath has made a name for himself as a director with his debut film. The way Pawan was shown was liked by the fans. After that, Puri was bombarded with opportunities.
Badri was followed by 'Bachi' starring Jagapathi Babu. However, the film turned out to be a flop in Telugu. But it played well in Karnataka. Someone in the family of Kannada superstar Rajkumar saw this movie and told everyone at home that the director shot it well. With that came the chance to direct the film 'Yuvaraja' with Kannada Rajkumar Paddabbai Shivarajkumar. At the same time he is doing 'Itlu Sravani Subramaniam' in Telugu with Ravi Teja. Both Kannada Yuvaraja and Telugu Itlu Sravani Subrahmanyam became super hits.
Puri got another offer in Kannada. Kannada Rajkumar's third son Puneet Rajkumar should be launched as a hero. Puri got the proposal to do Puneet's launch film. Puri, who already had a bounded script at hand, wanted to narrate the same to Puneet. The story was about a constable's son falling in love with the commissioner's daughter. Puri's inspiration for the story was his friend Srinu from Vijayawada, he would always say his name to convey things. For instance, if it was his birthday, he would say 'ivalla Srinu gadi birthday. Meku telusa?' Based on that, Puri designed the lead character of the story. Puri went to Bangalore to tell the story. Puri sat in a room and there were a lot of people in the room. Puri thought that there must have been a function going on. After a while Kannada superstar Rajkumar came and sat near him. Parvatamma, Shivarajkumar, and Puneet were all present in the room. Rajkumar raised his hand and there was pin-drop silence, he then looked at Puri and asked him to start telling the story. Puri was a bit confused and he asked "Who are all these people, sir?" "They are all my family members. Sons and daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are all there. The project that launches our Puneet is a prestige issue for our family. That is why we need their opinion, "he said. Puri got tensed. Such a hunge crowd for a story narration... this must be the first time in history, he thought. It was not like Puri was to narrate the story to a single person, he was now responsible to convince the entire crowd... He started telling the story and there was pin-drop silence for two hours. Once the narration was over, Rajkumar got up and hugged Puri and said, "Very good ... very good ... you should launch our Puneet as a hero." Puri was now relaxed. Puri had prepared to make the film with Ravi Teja. But he had to do the film with Puneet first. The Kannada version of the film was titled 'Appu' with Puneet as the hero. Puri also started working on the Telugu version. Several producers lined up to work with him, owing to the success of the film ‘Itlu Shravan Subramaniam’. However, wanted to produce it himself and started a production banner titled ‘Vaishno Academy’. Politician Chintakayala Ayyanna Patrudu joined hands with Puri and became a partner in this project. ML Kumar Chowdhury oversees the production on his behalf. ‘Appu’ became a super hit in Kannada. Senior actor Rajkumar was very happy with it. He praised Puri and said "You are like my fourth son, I am very proud of you." The Hundred Days function was held in a very grand manner in Bangalore. This was the first Hundred Days function of a Kannada movie that was attended by superstar Rajinikanth. Rajinikanth watched the movie and praised Puri.
The Telugu version of 'Appu' was titled 'Idiot' and it starred Ravi Teja as the lead. The film went on floors. The film had the tagline - 'O Srinugadi Premakatha'. Several people commented on the title of the film saying how could an insult be the title of a film. Ravi Teja liked the name Chantigadu. His name is the same in ‘Sindooram’, so he asked Puri to change the hero's name to Chantigadu. Kannada actress Rakshitha, who worked as the heroine in 'Appu' was roped in for the Telugu version as well. Rakshitha's father Gaurishankar is a famous cinematographer. Rakshitha's mother Mamta Rao was a heroine in Kannada. Owing to her background, Prakash Raj, Kota Srinivasa Rao, Kaikala Satyanarayana, etc played important roles in the film. Chakri was selected as the music director. The shooting of the film began on March 24, 2002. The entire film was shot in Hyderabad. It includes three key fights. Ravi Teja's fight with the Task Force Fight, head fight, and another fight. All three were filmed at the Saradhi studio. The cast went to Bangkok to shoot two songs. This is how Puri got attached to Bangkok. The film 'Idiot' was released in 2002 on Chiranjeevi's birthday. The film opened up to Super-Duper Hit Talk. Ravi Teja's characterization was loved by all. Fans loved how Ravi Teja's character was carefree doing what comes to his mind, without hesitating about someone's opinion... The portrayal of the hero character seemed very new. Puri set a new definition for heroism in his own style, saying that the hero should have a strong mentality, behave straight forward, be different in the way of thinking, and not be cynical. Ravi Teja's body language was another highlight for the film. The budget invested on the film was 2.20 crores and it grossed 20 crores. Released with 45 prints, the film reached one hundred prints. It played hundred days at 36 centers. The dialogue "‘Commissionerlu osthatu untaru, potu untaru, Chantigadu local, "Ye commissioner kuthurlaki mogudlu rara", and "Roju ee timelo ikkadikochi site kodtanani telusu kada, vachi nilabadalani telida?" are a highlight. The music album of the filmm is also a big hit. Songs like 'Chupulto Guchiguchi Champake' were a big hit at that time. 'Idiot’ set a trend, especially the hero's role. Many similar scripts have been made. This is a concept that still does not bore. Senior producer Atuluri Poornachandra Rao has tried to remake it in Hindi with Vivek Oberoi. But it did not workout. In Tamil, Hero Shimbu remade 'Dham' (2003). Rakshita was the heroine in this version too. The film was also remade in Bengali in 2008 as 'Priya Amar Priya'.
After 'Idiot', Puri and Ravi Teja combination repeated with the movie 'Amma .. Nanna .. O Tamil Ammayi'. The film was another bumper hit. Ravi Teja's performance as a son who is angry with his father, received critical acclaim. Prakash Raj, who acted as Ravi Teja's father won the Nandi Award for his performance. Also, this movie gave a good super hit to actress Asin in Telugu. Also, Chakri's songs were super-duper hit at the time. The film has a song about mother and it is still one of the best mother sentiment songs.
Puri, who delivered a row of hit films, started to have back-to-back flops. His film Andhrawala with Jr NTR, was a huge disaster. After that, 143 starring his younger brother Sai as the hero and Super were also flops. The film Sivamani with Nagarjuna received the average talk.
But Puri came up with a powerful story next, and this one was capable of compensating for all the flops he had. That movie is 'Pokiri'. Superstar Mahesh Babu and Ileana were roped in to play the leads in the film. The film broke all records in the Telugu film industry till then. The film was released on April 28, 2006. It recently completed 14 years. Puri Jagannath succeded in showing Mahesh Babu in a very new angle in the film. Mahesh Babu's dialogue "evadu kodite dimma tirigi mind block avtundo aade pandugaru" is still cherished by fans. Mahesh Babu's career skyrocketed and he became a superstar. Overall, 'Pokiri' has a special place in Mahesh Babu's career. The film was co-produced by Puri Jagannath's Vaishno Academy Banner and Manjula Garu's Indira Productions. Made on a budget of around Rs 12 crore, the film has grossed around Rs. 40 crore share. Pokiri became the first Telugu film to achieve such a share. The movie 'Pokiri' ran for over 100 days in 200 centers and set an all-time industry record. Mahesh Babu's dialogues, Ileana's glamor, Brahmanandam's comedy and the action sequences played a key role in the success of the film. In this film, Mahesh Babu impressed fans with his acting as a Hyderabadi hooligan. In many theaters, Pokiri went on to play for over a year and has created new records. The film has been remade in Tamil, Hindi, Bengali and Kannada. The film also recorded sensational success in those languages. With the film 'Pokiri', the popularity of Telugu films started in the overseas market for the first time.
Puri's next was 'Deshamuduru' starring Allu Arjun. This film made escalated mass following for Allu Arjun. The film was a critical and commercial success. Released for Sankranthi along with Prabhas' Yogi, the film became one of the biggest hits of 2007. The film was well-received by the audience as it was a pakka mass film. In addition to that, Puri's dialogues, Hansika's beauty, Allu Arjun's dynamic action and Ali's comedy track together led to the huge success of Desamuduru. By then it was the biggest hit in Allu Arjun's career.
Through his next film 'Chiruta', Puri Jagannath launched megastar Chiranjeevi's son Ram Charan Tej. The film went on to become a blockbuster at the box office and it played for over a hundred days. It stars Neha Sharma as the heroine. The music for the film was provided by Mani Sharma. The film being Chiranjeevi's son Ram Charan's debut, there was a lot of craze and the film did reach the expectations. Fans go crazy when someone from the megastar's family enter the industry. Now, imagine the craze that the egastar's son would create. The same happened for Ram Charan. Ram Charan started his career with a success. Owing to the craze, people would have still accepted Ram Charan if the film wasn't a success. However, Ram Charan was very careful not to bring any bad name to his father. All in all, Ram Charan proved his metle with his debut film. Ashwini Dutt produced the film under the banner of Vyjayanti Movies. With a budget of Rs 18 crore, the film has grossed Rs 22.5 crore at the box office. Prakash Raj, Ashish Vidyarthi, Brahmanandam, Dharmavarapu Subrahmanyam and Ali played supporting roles in the film. Seeing the success rate of the film, it was remade in Bengali under the title 'Rangbaj'. It was later dubbed in Hindi with the same title. Along with the story, the songs in were also a big highlight. The songs got a lot of response. Cassettes and CDs of songs sold like hot cakes.
After Chiruta, Puri made a movie 'Bujjigadu' with Rebel star Prabhas. The film was not very impressive. But Prabhas' fans got to see him in a very different role. Collection King Mohan Babu played a pivotal role in the film.
Puri Jagannath's favorite film is 'Neninthe' released in 2008. It stars Ravi Teja and Sia Gautam in the lead roles. Chakri composed the music for the film. The story of the film revolves around the struggles of the people working in, and trying to enter the film industry. Most of the scenes in this movie are from Puri's life. Ravi Teja also got Nandi Award for his performance in Neninthe.
His next film was Ek Niranjan, which had Darling Prabhas as the male lead. Th film was the debut of the then Bollywood most wanted leading lady Kangana Ranaut. She wasn't seen in a Telugu film again. The film did not fare well.
Next came the film 'Golimaar', which was a powerful action entertainer produced by Bellamkonda Suresh in a combination of Puri Jagannadh and Gopichand. Released on May 27, 2010, the film portrays Gopi as Gangubhai. The role was quite refreshing. Puri's trademark dialogues exploded like dynamites. Chakri's music, background music, Shyam K. Naidu has been a plus for the film's cinematography. Roja, Nazar, Kelly Dorjee, Shawar Ali etc. impressed the audience through their roles. ‘Golimaar’ is remembered as a special film in Puri style in Gopi’s career.
After Golimar, Puri made 'Nenu Na Rakshasi' with Rana. Rana, who appeared in a class role in the film Leader, appears in the mass character in Nenu Na Rakshasi. The film was released amid huge expectations and did not live up to expectations.
Puri and Mahesh Babu came together in 2012 and delivered another superhit 'Businessman'. The film, which released during Sankranthi, was a super hit. Businessman collected more than the film Pokiri, which also came in the combination of Puri Jagannath and Mahesh Babu. Mahesh Babu's one man show got a major boost with Puri's dialogues. The film grossed nearly Rs 40 crore.
He made films like Devudu Chesina Manushulu, Cameraman Ganga Tho Rambabu, Iddarammayilatoh, and Heart Attack, some of the were flops while the others recieved average acceptance.
After all these films came the movie 'Temper', directed by Puri Jagannath and starring NTR. The film created a huge stir and gave a major boost to NTR's career. Director Puri Jagannath was successful in bringing out a new shade in Tarak's acting. The film unveiled the negative shades of NTR. The film starring Kajal Agarwal as the heroine was a huge success at the box office. Directed by Puri Jagannath after 'Andhrawala', the film remains the best movie in NTR's career. In the movie 'Temper', NTR played a corrupt inspector Daya. Puri, who went to tell the story to NTR, was given a story written by Vakantam Vamsi and was asked to tell how it was. After reading the story Puri said that it was very good and NTR asked you to direct this story. He agreed to do this project. That was the beginning of the film. Puri screened the story written by Vakkantam Vamsi in his own style. Until then NTR was facing back-to-back flops. That is why, NTR had to say no to Nagarjuna's Oopiri (for Seenu's role), as he was confident on Nag's story but wanted to do a solo hit. After that, NTR received a solid hit with Temper. That credit goes to Puri.
Puri got a series of flops after Temper. Just in time when people thought that Puri's magic ended, he delivered a superhit with 'Ismart Shankar'. The film grossed nearly Rs 45 crore at the box office. The characterisation of Ram is very new in this movie. Nidhi Agarwal and Nabha Natash are the special attraction of this movie.
Currently, Puri is working with rowdy boy Vijay Devarakonda for the film Liger. Puri is producing the film upder his own Vaishno Academy banner along with actress Charmi. The film will be released in Telugu as well as other languages. This is Vijay's first Pan India movie and stars Bollywood beauty Ananya Pandey. There has been a tremendous response to the recently released posters and it remains to be seen how the film will turn out.
Along with direction, Puri also wore the hat of a producer and made films like Pokiri. He established the banner Puri Talkies and made the film Heart Attack. Puri Jagannath directed and co-produced Pokiri, a film titled Heart Attack under the banner of Puri Talkies. Along with Telugu films, he also directed Hindi superstar Big B Amitabh Bachchan in the film Buddha Hoga Tera Bap. It is of great honor that this movie is now in the Oscar library.
During this Covid Lockdown, Puri Jagannath started doing a new podcast. This daring and dashing director is creating a sensation with his trending podcast audios right now, by touching every aspect of the society and giving an explanation in its own style. That is why when he speaks, people listen and understand the passionate philosophy behind his voice. All of his podcasts have a lot of useful elements for life. Because of his popularity, Puri Jagannath created a new record in Sportify Music App with his podcasts. Puri was one of the top podcasters of the year 2020. Nearly 60,000 people have listened to Puri Jagannath's podcasts, according to a list released by Sportify.
Puri Jagannath fell in love with Lavanya Garu and married her on September 6, 1996. They have two children are Akash Puri and Pavitra Jagannath. We have seen them in many Puri movies as the childhood characters of the hero and heroine respectively. His son Akash Puri has also done films like Andhra Pori and Mehbooba as the hero. Puri Jagannath has been elected as the MLA from Petla Uma Shankara Ganesh Viceroy party. His younger brother Sairam Shankar has also tried his hand at acting.
In 2003, Purirecieved the prestigious Nandi Award for Amma Nanna O Tamil Ammayi for the Best Writer. In 2009, Puri Jagannath won the Nandi Award for Neninthe.