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Happy Birthday Chiranjeevi:The actor’s political journey and its effect on his films

Happy Birthday Chiranjeevi: The actor began his career in films in 1978 and entered politics in 2008.

regional movies Updated: Aug 22, 2018 12:56 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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The birthday of Chiranjeevi, fondly called Megastar by his fans, is nothing less than a festival in the Telugu speaking states. The actor who debuted with director K Vasu’s Pranam Khareedu in 1978 won the hearts of audience with his acting chops and his dance skills. Chiranjeevi’s first film as a hero, Punadhirallu, won the Nandi Award in Best Feature Film and Best Actor categories. From that film till his upcoming offering, Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy, the actor has remained popular with his fans. In fact, he was the south star who joined politics a decade before his contemporaries in Tamil Nadu, Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, decided to take the plunge.

In 2008, Chiranjeevi started his political party Praja Rajyam (People’s Rule) in Andhra Pradesh and his political aim was quite similar to Kamal who began his party Makkal Needhi Maiam in 2018 - social justice. While his senior in Telugu film industry, Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao, went o to become a mass leader, Chiranjeevi didn’t have the same luck in politics and merged his party with the Congress eventually.

A still from Shankar Dada Zindabad.

Before his political sojourn, Chiranjeevi last acted in Shankar Dada Zindabad, which was the remake of Hindi film Lage Raho Munnabhai. Chiranjeevi had decided to stay away from acting to concentrate on his political career and was appointed as a union minister after the merger with Congress in 2012. This also happened to be the same year that the actor-politician was appointed as a Rajya Sabha Member.

The split of Andhra Pradesh in June 2014 led to the end of Chiranjeevi’s political career. He happened to be one of the few Congress supporters who remained with the party and campaigned for them in 2014, but he did not contest the elections himself. The actor supposedly did not campaign wholeheartedly and this led to reports that he may quit active politics.

In 2017, the industry watched as the actor’s comeback film Khaidi No 1 released. This was Chiranjeevi’s first film as the lead actor after a decade and yet the film broke multiple box office records. Khaidi No 150 was produced by Chiranjeevi’s son Ram Charan and directed by VV Vinayak. The film is a remake of AR Murugadoss-Vijay’s Kaththi. With a worldwide gross collection of Rs 164 crore and first-day collection of Rs 41.75 crore, Chiranjeevi’s success remained untouched by his stint in politics.

Now, the actor’s upcoming film Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy’s teaser has only increased the excitement among fans with its stunning visuals. The film is a biopic of Telugu freedom fighter Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy, who spearheaded a fight against British rule in the state. The film’s stunning cast includes Nayanthara, Vijay Sethupathi and Amitabh Bachchan. Chiranjeevi’s tenure as the Rajya Sabha member ended in April 2018 and the actor has stayed away from politics since.

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First Published: Aug 22, 2018 12:56 IST