He was her first love. He was the king of Telugu silver screen and she was 16-year-old college girl. Like for many Telugus, N.T. Rama Rao was demigod for her. She penned a poem in 1980 describing him as a star in the sky who remains out of reach for someone standing on earth and longing for it.
But they were destined for each other. Lakshmi Parvathy met NTR for the first time in 1991 with a request to write his biography. Thus began the love story, culminating in their marriage a year later. It resulted in a catacysmic series of events, the reverbrations of which are being felt even today.
NTR, as the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) founder and former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister was popularly known, was 70 and had lost his first wife Basvatarakam to cancer. Lakshmi Parvathi, a college lecturer and author from Narsraopet town of Guntur district, was almost half his age and had separated from her first husband.
NTR was out of power at the time after serving two terms as Chief Minister and a brief flirtation with national politics before returning to the state.
Lakshmi’s life took a dramatic turn in 1994 as NTR led the TDP back to power with a record-breaking majority. She was hailed as ‘Lucky Parvathi’ who helped him regain the glory. However, this did not last long.
In August 1995, NTR’s children from his first wife led by his son-in-law N. Chandrababu Naidu staged a revolt and captured power, citing growing interference in party and administration by Lakshmi Parvathi.
Five months later, NTR died of cardiac arrest and it was all gloom for Lakshmi Parvathi. She vowed revenge on Naidu for snatching her husband but with no support from any quarter she went into political oblivion.
Even after two decades her only wish is to see the political downfall of the man she believes responsible for untimely death of NTR. “I believe his political end is nearing and whenever this happens I will fulfil my vow by immersing the ashes of my husband in the Ganga and the Cauvery,” Parvathi told IANS.
Currently with YSR Congress Party but not active in politics, she is only praying for Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy to humble Naidu in the just-concluded elections. “I have no ambition for power. I never wanted any position,” says Parvathi.
She believes that “Lakshmi’s NTR”, a movie made by well-known filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma has brought her story into focus.
Varma described it as the most intense and dramatic love story ever.
“Yes. There was so much love between me and NTR. He tried to protect me till the end,” recalled Parvathi.
Speaking of how the marriage came out, Lakshmi said: “I used to come every Saturday and Sunday to Hyderabad (for working on the biography). One day he suddenly asked me ‘will you marry me’. I didn’t know what to say because I had separated from my first husband and was living with my parents. I also had a son to look after. I sought one month’s time and then agreed to marry him.”
They married secretly in 1992 and it was in 1993 that NTR publicly announced it at a film event in Tirupati.
Lakshmi believes that while they were enjoying a happily married life, his family members became jealous of her and started the conspiracies. “They did not allow us to live peacefully and the backstabbing by NTR’s own family members shocked and claimed his life. It was a planned murder,” she added.
She laments that she met her ‘god’ very late and got very little time to spend with him.
“All I have today is his memories, his portraits and busts, one of which is in my pooja room. I still worship him,” said the woman who tries to overcome the sorrow through writing.