Director Prashanth Neel recently said that Jr NTR and Mahesh Babu were the first from Tollywood to call him up after watching 'KGF 2'. He hinted that they were the first ones from the Telugu film industry to appreciate him after watching the first part.
It's important for actors to cultivate contacts. That's why medium-range and small actors go out of their way to spot future directors among assistant directors, etc. When a small film becomes a hit, there are usually the ones who try to meet its director. After all, a story that suits a Nikhil Siddhartha can suit a Nithin. The competition is heavy at the medium level.
Top stars tend not to do such things. As it is, they have big egos. They congratulate big directors like Rajamouli, Trivikram and Sukumar and don't show much enthusiasm to congratulate filmmakers who are not considered star makers. But some of them are quick to spot potential big-ticket talents. Jr NTR and Mahesh Babu did so in the case of Prashanth Neel way back in 2018 itself when Neel was not considered a star filmmaker by most of Tollywood. Not so incidentally, Tarak and Mahesh are two of the actors Neel went on to narrate scripts to (he also met with Allu Arjun) during the pandemic. They perhaps expressed a wish to work with him even when 'KGF 1' arrived.
Their alertness serves their own interest. Jr NTR's 31st film is with Neel. Someday, hopefully, Mahesh too is going to team up with Neel.