31 October, 2020

Chiranjeevi, Superstar-Turned-Neta

The “bigger than Bachchan” star has had hits in Tamil and even Hindi. His 1991 hit, Aaj ka Goondaraj, was one of the highest grossers across India that year.

Illustration by Sorit
Chiranjeevi, Superstar-Turned-Neta

In 2004, Chiranjeevi’s blockbuster film Shankardada MBBS (a remake of Munnabhai MBBS) had a scene where he gets slapped by a junior actor. Shockwaves spread across the state with theatre-goers furious at the scene. “How can the megastar be insulted like this?” outraged fans wanted to know. Now that’s the kind of adulation Chiranjeevi enjoyed during his illustrious silver screen career. The ambitious young lad from Mogalthuru in West Godavari district brought to Telugu cinema an overwhelming new charisma with his dance and action sequences. In cin­ema-crazy Andhra, his intense performances quickly got him mass appeal across all age groups, elevating him to demi-god status. Some of his superhits include Khaidi, Gang Leader, Rowdy Alludu, Mutha Mestry, Baavagaru Bagunnara etc.

And when Chiru took the plunge into politics in 2008—on the social justice plank, no less—with his Praja Rajyam Party, it seemed a natural corollary to his star appeal. Poll pundits went berserk with predictions that Chiranjeevi would...



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