Megastar Chiranjeevi’s new film, Khaidi No 150, hits the screens this week, ahead of Makar Sankranti – when big films are released. Needless to say, the expectations from the star are sky high. Chiranjeevi’s fans are waiting anxiously for its release because Khaidi No 150 marks a cinematic return of sorts for the much-loved actor, who was last seen onscreen in Shankar Dada Zindabad (2007). The buzz around the film is palpably high because it is also a remake of superhit Tamil film Kaththi (2014), which starred Vijay.
Ahead of Khaidi No 150’s release, here is a look at some of his biggest hits and lesser-known roles from films like Yamakinkarudu, Khaidi, 47 Rojulu, Subhaleka and Swayamkrushi that project the actor’s worth.
Mana Voori Pandavulu (1978)
Veteran filmmaker Bapu directed the 1978 Telugu drama Mana Voori Pandavulu, which happened to be Chiranjeevi’s second film. Playing one of the five leads alongside renowned stars such as Krishnam Raju and Murali Mohan, Chiranjeevi excelled in a very raw portrayal of a young man in a story inspired by the Mahabharata. Despite its revolutionary theme, the film was made in a manner that didn’t echo its Leftist intentions.
47 Rojulu (1981)
Based on a novel by celebrated writer Shivashankari, this 1981 Telugu drama by K Balachander marked Chiranjeevi’s Tamil debut as the film was simultaneously shot in the language as 47 Natkal. While the film may not have set the ticket-counter trilling, it was lauded for its auteur’s courage to explore a sensitive topic such as bigamy in mainstream cinema, and Chiranjeevi’s convincing portrayal of a conniving and torture-inducing husband.
A big hit in the megastar’s career, Yamakinkarudu was adapted from Mel Gibson’s Mad Max (1979). This cop-versus-gangster-cum-family-drama had Chiranjeevi and Sarath Babu playing best buddies who join the police force and manage to put dreaded criminal Jackal behind bars. Avowing revenge, Jackal kills Sarath Babu’s character. The rest of the film is about how Chiranjeevi’s character gets justice for his friend and put the criminal in his place.
This 1982 Telugu family drama marked Chiranjeevi’s first collaboration with veteran filmmaker K Viswanath. Inspired by playwright Gurazada Apparao’s Kanyasulkam, Subhaleka was a brave take on the social malady of the dowry system. Chiranjeevi’s sincere portrayal of a waiter with tongue-in-cheek humour earned him his first Filmfare award for best actor.
This was the first of his films to have ‘Khaidi’ in its name. Loosely based on the 1982 work First Blood, the film – set in rural India – talks of class divide and how love triumphs over enmity. Chiranjeevi channels his rebel-with-a-golden-heart self with elan.
In his second collaboration with K Viswanath in 1987 Telugu drama Swayamkrushi, Chiranjeevi – in his Nandi Award-winning performance – played a cobbler. His inspiring rags-to-riches tale turned the spotlight on issues like child abuse and the dignity of labour. It was the first film in the language to be screened at the Moscow International Film Festival.
Yamudiki Mogudu (1988)
This Telugu action fantasy film is a remake of Tamil hit Athisaya Piravi, starring Rajinikanth. The film’s plot revolves around a local goon, otherwise a good-hearted guy, who helps people in the neighbourhood. With films such as this, Chiranjeevi established himself as a multi-faceted star over the years.
A story about a young man who strives for a better society and, in the process, locks horns with his father over contrasting ideologies. This three National Award-winning 1988 film by K Balachander also touched upon caste divide while focussing on the responsibility every individual has towards society. It was lauded as an important film on national integration, and was later remade in Tamil as Unnal Mudiyum Thambi with Kamal Haasan.
Khaidi No. 786 (1988)
Yet another remake of a Tamil hit, Khaidi No. 786 rode on the ‘Khaidi’ tag yet again to bring further fame to the star. A typical family-cum-love story, the plot revolves around a music teacher who gets entangled in a marriage with a headstrong but much-in-love girl (played by Bhanupriya) and must, in some manner, bring some semblance of order into his now-turbulent life.
The film marked Chiranjeevi’s third collaboration with K Viswanath. His role as a cowherd in this 1992 Telugu drama earned him his second Filmfare award. Apadbandhavudu, which explored the caste and economic divide, dwelt on the relationship between a master and his servant. The film also marked writer-director Jandhyala’s only screen appearance.
(With HT inputs)
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