In 1988, he starred in the blockbuster Aakhari Poratam, scripted by Yandamuri Veerendranath, and directed by K. Raghavendra Rao where he was paired opposite Sridevi and Suhasini. In 1988 he starred in Janaki Ramudu alongside Vijayashanti. This film, directed again by K. Raghavendra Rao, was also a hit. In 1989, he starred in the Maniratnam-directed romantic drama Geetanjali. The film won the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment in 1990. Immediately, he saw another success, Shiva. This film marked the debut of director Ram Gopal Varma. This film is considered a trendsetter in Telugu cinema, and made Nagarjuna a superstar. In 1990, he subsequently made his Bollywood debut with the Hindi remake of the same film titled Shiva. Even the Hindi version saw huge box-office success. He then starred in Jaitra Yatra, for which he received critical acclaim. He followed it up with sub fare like Prema Yuddham and Iddaru Iddare. Nirnayam where he acted again with Amala however was a hit.