Fans are strange people, but occasionally they too demonstrate good taste. Tholi Prema
, for example, didn't just have Pawan Kalyan-fanatics swooning in the aisles. They were joined by college girls, families, and the juries of major film awards.
The story is about a budding cricketer, his best girl and their mutual conflict of interests. The love story takes its time to unfold and did so in a way that brought the campus-romance genre firmly back in style in Tollywood. The music of the film, by Deva, was a huge hit and the movie itself lifted Pawan Kalyan up by the scruff of his neck and stuck him bang in the middle of the Tollywood starscape.
Kirti Reddy also won a Nandi for Tholi Prema, which itself bagged the National Award for Best Regional Film that year. Karunakaran, the director, wasn't very lucky after this his debut film. His last movie
with Pawan Kalyan didn't exactly bring the house down. Something that Tholi Prema did with a resounding thump back in 1998.
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