12.8.08

Chiranjeevi: To be or not to be!



In December when the news was spilled to the media that the megastar is contemplating a foray into politics the entire state went into frenzy. Fans celebrated, their happiness knowing no bounds though it was not clear at that time whether the news was true or not. Ever since he arrived on the silver screen as the reigning hero of Telugu Cinema after NTR, his fans were in the view he would take over the mantle in politics as well. Political Parties were initially dumb struck with this news. As every one knows, the reason for their shock is, when the previous super star of Telugu cinema entered the political scene, he stormed the elections with sweeping victories in almost all the constituencies. Though the conditions in the state at that time and now are so different, the news initially sent shock waves across all the parties. The parties later recovered from the shock and started analysing among themselves what the consequences would be? No one really knows what they are going to be. Newspapers like Andhra Jyothy and television channels like TV9 conducted some polls which showed positive results for Chiranjeevi. The view that Andhra Jyothy was the key media partner in generating necessary buzz for Chiranjeevi was also true. In that case, how true are the results of the polls? In this atmosphere of political uncertainty, some parties went ahead and started attacking Chiranjeevi. Through Mareppa and Karunakara Reddy Congress Party which awarded Chiranjeevi Eye and Blood Bank for its work attacked him over the funds usage in the same. A lady congress MP also questioned how comparable is Chiranjeevi with NTR? She also said that the new party is one more new outfit in the already present hundreds of parties and the congress is too busy with public service to fear over it. However some people opine that the party’s fear is clearly visible in this statement. Karunakar Reddy went a step ahead and performed a ritual with special pandits for success of congress party in coming elections. Mareppa also questioned, how a person who cannot take care of his family can take care of the state, trying to remember everyone his daughter’s elopement few months back. TDP is not so vocal in its attacks. However, it is one which was impacted the most with the news even before the new party was born. Many of the current party members walked out, notable among them Devendar Goud and Kotagiri Vidhyadhara Rao. However Chandrababu Naidu, the strong person he was, maintained his poise and got busy building ties with the battalion of stars in the Nandamuri dynasty.

Amidst all this, how successful will Chiranjeevi be? Will he succeed in the coming elections? If he succeeds, how successful will he be in leading the state? What innovative policies he is going to introduce? What is value addition he is going to bring? These are all million dollar questions no one knows the answers for. Checking history can through light on some of the aspects.

Chiranjeevi, who debuted with Punadi Rallu in 1978, turned a star with the movie Khaidi. The movies he acted at the beginning of his career like Idi Kadha Kaadu, Subhalekha, Abhilasha, Challenge, Manchu Pallaki, etc were ahead of its time in terms of content or technical aspects and they brought him good name and fame. As his stardom increased, the quality of his movies started decreasing and touched rock bottom with Alluda Majaka. At that time, it became one of the few movies to be sent for recensor. Filled with double entenders, yucky songs, voluptuous heroines, it received lot of criticism from many in the industry, notable among them senior actress vanisri who rejected to act as Chiranjeevi’s mother in law in the movie. In order to make the movies understandable and enjoyable even to the least knowledgable person in the society, they became devoid of any quality content. This degradation continued till Rikshavodu before he has taken an exile from movies for a few months. Though he sparked occasionally in movies like Chantabbai, Swayamkrushi, Rudraveena, and Apadbandhavudu, he never tried doing similar kind of movies in later part of his career in view of none of them doing well economically. Infact, he failed in identifying what went wrong in those movies and completely shoved off from them. If we consider Balakrishna, Venkatesh and Nagarjuna as his contemporaries (though Venkatesh and Nagarjuna debuted around 10 years after him) it is Venkatesh and Nagarjuna who has done better films successfully balancing stardom with the quality in their movies. Besides all this, he is one of the highest paid actors in the country. The first one in the country to cross the one crore mark and creating a sensation, he also figured on the cover of “The Week” magazine at that time. Some of his movies like Gang Leader, Gharana Mogudu and Indra have rewritten the box office records. The collections were so huge that it showed the potential of Telugu Cinema to rest of the country. He is one of the best dancers the country has ever seen. The admirers of his dance include Prabhu Deva, Hrithrik Roshan, Govinda, Shobhana, Kamal Hassan and many more. There are atleast 10 or more magazines being published for the past 15 years about the star and his life. After the internet boom, the number of sites about him proliferated.

Chiranjeevi is the first super star in the country to take social service activites to a whole new level. Instead of restricting himself to occasionally giving money to the poor and needy and in the times of calamities, he used his huge fan base to virtually remove shortage of blood from Andhra Pradesh. The mega star (as his fans fondly call him) who was touched by the incident of seeing a person caught in an accident dying due to non availability of a rare blood group, started the Chiranjeevi eye and blood bank, with the money he earns for the endorsements he did for Thums Up and Navratan Oil. In each of movies he started propagating the importance of eye and blood donation. His fans and admirers, who would not mind doing anything for him started turning up in large numbers making shortage of blood a thing of the past. India Today, in its special edition on the mega star reported that around 300 people pledged their eyes to the eye bank. It wins several awards every year, including the best blood bank award from the central government consecutively for the past four years. Impressed by this extra ordinary performance the then president A P J Abdul Kalam visited the blood bank’s head quarters in Hyderabad.


It is a fact that no celebrity is devoid of controversies. There is a section in the media that lives on creating them and surging on them. Chiranjeevi and his immediate family have their share of them. The one that attracted national media attention is the elopement of his daughter with her lover and their subsequent marriage at Arya Samaj. She reportedly said that her family members did not agree to their marriage. And Chiranjeevi who finalised the marriage of his first daughter with upcoming young actor Uday Kiran has suddenly called it off thereby severely affecting the career of the young actor. As rumours spread regarding the reasons popular among them Uday Kiran not belonging to the community of Chiranjeevi and the mega star’s closed group of friends and relatives suggesting him not to go ahead with the marriage, his brother pavan kalyan having a fight with the media in the engagement function and Chiranjeevi considering it a bad omen and one more that Uday Kiran is having a relation ship with a girl, no one really knows the reason behind it. His brother pavan kalyan who is married to a girl nandini but not staying with her now, is now living with Renu Desai (his co-star in the movie Badri) and had a baby without marrying her, without the consent or even before taking divorce from his wife. Few months back his brother declared the opening of an organisation called the Common Man Protection Force to server the people on the roads that have no protection against anything. Months after the announcement, nothing is heard about it. The star surrounds himself with people from his immediate family thereby giving
an impression that the party he is going to setup is going to be a family centric one.

Aiming to be the head of the state in 1984 when NTR became the chief minister is quite different to aiming for the same in 2008. In between we have a period when the country decided to become more capitalistic than being a socialistic country. This decision brought with it an economic boom changing the fortunes of middle class and higher middle class people. Due to the internet boom, people have access to innumerable news resources around the world. They have more knowledge and understanding about the affairs happening around the world and in the country. Andhra Pradesh has seen a chief minister who took the state from being an unknown place to the forefront of international media attention. How does Chiranjeevi fare in comparison to him? How does Chiranjeevi fare in this atmosphere? What is his understanding of the current affairs? Does he know the problems faced by the state? Does he know what are the advantages the state enjoys how to make use of them for the development? Does he have idea about issues like nuclear deal and what is his stand on it? What is his stand on Telengana? Can he lobby with the central government for the advantage of the state? The associations, organisations that are proliferating in the state in support of him are more than convinced that he is the most capable person. They are already declaring that a change is going to come in the form of Chiranjeevi, though they absolutely have no clue about the ideals of the party he is going to set up.


Till now, the Indian voter never voted thinking so much. Most of them never vote at all. The ones that vote do it based on factors that are not at all related to development. If they voted for film stars, it might be because they wanted to see how they would do as a politician. It is the responsibility of the voted to work for their development and welfare. Aiming to be the chief minister of a state that sent three presidents, one prime minister and has the greatest temple in the world is not enough. It is important not to let them down.

Also Read: Blockbuster Debut
Lights, Camera,Action

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