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Friday, January 4, 2008

An analytic review of Chiru’s illustrious film career

The media, both print and television, is agog with the news that the Telugu mega star Chiranjeevi is entering politics. For nearly a week, major newspapers speculated his entry with front-page stories. Political parties apprehensively welcomed him and some even to their fold. Frenzied fans carried rallies and staged meetings in different cities of Andhra Pradesh. It was then that Chiranjeevi came out of his cocoon and sent press releases thanking his fans and well- wishers but advising them not to conduct any such rallies or meetings till he announces his decision. There again he left a note of speculation, will he or won’t he?

Chiranjeevi is known for analysing the pros and cons before taking a decision . He is aware of his image and the expectations. “When a star attains a certain position, a lot is expected of him. If the story is good, it will catch the eye. The images then become secondary. If the script is not up to the mark, the film will flop no matter how well I act,” opined the actor at an earlier interaction.

A very warm-hearted and sensitive person, he is respected and loved by his colleagues, both seniors and juniors. A self-made actor, his key to success is - determination, dedication and total devotion to his profession. In spite of being the most sought-after commercial hero, Chiranjeevi, being a film institute product, has the inner urge to do offbeat roles too. And the inspiring force is none other than Kamal Haasan. He once said, “When I saw Kamal Haasan’s performance in Swatimuthyam (directed by K. Vishwanath), I was so moved that the next day I felt ridiculous to utter the same old routine dialogues for one of my commercial blockbusters. When I couldn’t deliver the dialogue, the director advised me to take some rest. Suhasini, my co-star guessed the reason and told me, “You have already proved yourself as an actor. People have promoted you now to superstar status from an actor. Tell me how many superstars are around? Instead of enjoying the mass appeal, why do you worry about something you have already proved?” K. Vishwanath too expressed similar views and told me that every actor who can dance and fight cannot attain superstardom. “If you feel the monotony, see that some scenes are there to bring out your versatility besides the commercial ingredients that entertain your fans,’ he advised me. Then I overcame that fixation.” Chiranjeevi had his share of offbeat ventures too directed by Bharathi Raja (Aradhana), K. Vishwanath (Swayamkrushi and Aapadban-dhavudu) and K. Balachander (Rudraveena). He bagged two AP State best actor awards besides the National award for Rudraveena. He is the one actor whose films are enjoyed by the entire family of audience. And his admirers range from six to 80!

It is this charisma on which political parties are vying to cash in. And the race to bring him into their fold started way back in the early ‘nineties. Chiranjeevi had said in an interview in 1994. “There is a report in The Pioneer recently that I am joining politics. And some Telugu and Tamil newspapers rang me up to find the truth. I told them to check whether it is me or some other Chiranjeevi. (By joining politics) I may have a better opportunity to serve the people. I want to give back to people the affection they have showered on me by serving them or as per my father’s wish by launching a welfare trust. But today politics has become a source of making money, with cheap gimmicks. I don’t think anyone up there is doing any real service to the people. So it is not for me right now. Keeping aside politics for the time being, I would like to start a charitable trust. But right now my concentration is on my current film,” he said. That was in 1994. Indeed he started a trust and launched a blood- and eye banks. The blood-bank won the A P State award for the fifth consecutive time this year. And his popularity too is increasing day by day despite his recent starrers proving a cropper at the box office. In the same interview talking about his future goal he said, “To serve people. And which way, well, I leave it to posterity.”

Long ago, an astrologer had predicted that his horoscope was akin to N.T. Rama Rao’s and Chiranjeevi too has all the chances of heading a State. Predictions apart, it has to be seen whether Chiranjeevi will plunge into politics or not. For his arrival is sure to topple the apple cart for the leading contenders.

An industry veteran opines that Chiranjeevi may not after all enter politics as like Rajnikant, he may prefer to keep his superstar status intact for he may not be sure of that status in politics. Meanwhile the actor is planning his 150th film based on the life and times of a freedom fighter, Vuyyalawada Narasimha Reddy.

Who knows like Dasari Narayana Rao’s Bobbilipuli for NTR, this film may be the launch pad for Chiranjeevi to take to politics. All said and done, the final answer lies with Chiranjeevi.

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