Tholi Prema

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Tholi Prema
Tholi Prema.jpg
Directed byA. Karunakaran
Produced byG. V. G. Raju
Written byChintapalli Ramana (dialogues)
Screenplay byA. Karunakaran
Story byA. Karunakaran
StarringPawan Kalyan
Keerthi Reddy
Music byDeva
CinematographyY. Maheedhar
Chota K. Naidu, ISC
Edited byMarthand K. Venkatesh
SSC Arts
Release date
  • 24 July 1998 (1998-07-24)
Running time
146 minutes

Tholi Prema (English: First Love) is a 1998 Telugu-language romantic drama film written and directed by A. Karunakaran and cinematography by y. Maheedhar and Chota K. Naidu, ISC. It stars Pawan Kalyan and Keerthi Reddy in the lead roles, with music composed by Deva. The film won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu and the Nandi Award for Best Feature Film for that year. The film was later remade in Hindi as Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai, starring Tusshar Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor and in Kannada as Preethsu Thappenilla with V. Ravichandran.

The film emerged as a Cult Classic and turned Pawan Kalyan into an overnight sensation in Telugu States.This led to beginning of dominance of Pawan Kalyan in Telugu Film Industry in the next decade.It also set the benchmark for future love stories in Telugu.


Balu (Pawan Kalyan) is the youngest son in his family and a careless guy. His father always scolds him, but his uncles and mother dote on him and so does his brother. He has a bunch of friends (played by Ali, Venu Madhav and others) and hangs around with them. On one occasion, Balu's father is angry with him; Balu leaves the house to be left alone for a while (on the eve of Diwali). He chances to see Anu (Keerthi Reddy) on the road with some kids and he falls for her. She has returned from the USA to spend time with her grandfather (P. J. Sharma).

Anu is impressed with Balu when he saves a kid's life on the motorway; she tries to get his autograph but fails. Balu leaves for Ooty for his studies and accidentally meets Anu on the way when his taxi breaks down. Anu gives Balu a lift and leaves her driver to help the taxi driver. While on the way, Anu's car slips into a valley due to a rash lorry driver. Balu makes an effort to save Anu and rescues her to safer ground. Trying to save Anu, Balu slips off into a valley. Anu is depressed that Balu sacrificed himself to save her, searches for him and loses hope. Balu is saved by a truck driver and admitted to a hospital. On his return, Anu meets Balu at his house to express her gratitude. Balu thinks of proposing his love, but is warned by his sister Priya (Bujji). Balu develops a friendship with Anu, but never dares to express his love. Priya gets married and leaves. At the same time, Anu gets admission into Harvard University and is about to leave. They remain silent until they reach the airport. His goal is to make her realise how much he loves her. The contradiction in their personalities couldn’t be more stark. Just before Anu leaves, she realizes that she is indeed in love with Balu.She proposes to him and they agree to meet after realizing their goals.



Tholi Prema
Soundtrack album by
LabelLahari Music
Deva chronology
Tholi Prema

The soundtrack was composed by Deva. Four of the film's five songs are based on other songs without acknowledgement: "Yemaindo Yemo Ee Vela" is based on Ricky Martin's "Maria"; "Emi Sodhara" is based on "Pyaar ka Musafir" by Lucky Ali; "Romance Rhythms" is based on "Noonday Sun" by Deep Forest; and "Ee Manase Se Se" is based on "Alabalaba (Woman’a’Sexy)" by Dr. Alban.[1]. There is no female voice in any of the songs in the movie.

1."Ee Manase Se Se"BhuvanachandraS. P. Balasubrahmanyam4:26
2."Yemaindo Yemo Ee Vela"Sirivennela Sitarama SastryS. P. Balasubrahmanyam4:42
3."Emi Sodhara"Sirivennela Sitarama SastryKrishna Raj4:18
4."Gagananiki Udayam"Sirivennela Sitarama SastryS. P. Balasubrahmanyam5:55
5."Romance Rhythms"BhuvanachandraSuresh Peters, P. Unnikrishnan3:09



  • This is Karunakaran's first film as director.
  • Karunakaran saw Pawan Kalyan’s photo on a news magazine at a pan shop in Chennai and decided that he would be the lead actor.
  • Karunakaran is a painting artist in real life. Keerthi Reddy’s picture on the postcards was drawn by him.
  • The film had run for more than 100 days in 21 centres; it ran for more than 200 days in 2 centres.
  • Pawan Kalyan’s bike is shown as a modified version of 2 stroke RX-100; the bike shown after modification is a 4 stroke dirtbike.
  • It was the winner of six Nandi Awards and National Award Best Feature Film (Telugu) and ran for more than 365 days.
  • Pawan Kalyan has cut the cost of expenditure of Taj Mahal setting from his remuneration.



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