Hyderabad: Inside his massive Jubilee Hills home, Chiranjeevi is anxious about his 150th film. He’s often careful during its description. Probably because for the first time in the Megastar’s career, has emerged the word ‘comeback’. And yes, there are tiny jitters, little specks of what could be worry, showing through a face that has adorned movie posters for over four decades.
But Chiru, as he’s known in closed circles, is raring to return.
“It’s their love for me, which gives me that josh. The cheers I get in a room full of people, the claps and those screams. I live for that excitement and I’ll never, ever forget the feeling,” he says, while impeccably dressed for an early morning interview.
Chiranjeevi is also fresh off the political bus and remembers just how quickly his career rose to some of the highest levels in the Union Cabinet.
“You show me one person who went from an MLA to Cabinet minister in under five years. The tourism ministry may not have been the greatest portfolio, but no one can say that ‘Chiranjeevi left without doing anything’. I have left my mark, as promised. Politics has been a roller-coaster, but I’ll never look back and say, ‘Why did I do it?’ In fact, if my son decided to join politics tomorrow, he has my full and unconditional support,” says the actor.
He also remembers a joke he cracked during a high-level political meeting when he was asked his preference — movies or politics?
Chiranjeevi humbly replied, “In the movies, you just act for the scene. In politics, it’s a constant act.”
The big 150th
The idea brightens him up immediately. “I’m coming back to my arena. This is what I do best, and why not? They wanted me to do a movie with a message, but as I spoke with several others, I found that my character in Shankar Dada MBBS was much loved and it was then that I decided to go in for a complete entertainer. Meanwhile, everybody — from the common man to Amitabh Bachchan — wanted me to finish my 150th film. It’s indeed an important milestone,” he adds.
Important it is. Chiranjeevi started so long ago, that he simply remembers Day One as, “being 22 or 23”.
“I entered the industry with no support, no cinema background... nothing. It was literally Day One. But mind you, my journey was not without its share of bumps and it’s not like I gave out just hits. Truth is, I never paid much attention to the flops and I continued, non-stop. I worked, and I worked and I never looked back. Today, I’m here... and that’s all I can remember, from 1975.”
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Forward to year 2014 and Chiranjeevi’s family is currently one of Tollywood’s largest with all his three brothers and son Ram Charan busy in the entertainment business. A point which brings us to the headline-making younger brother, Pawan Kalyan.
There were reports splashed across front pages of a raging turf war between the two, but the elder one, makes no mention of the articles. “One has to welcome anyone who plans to enter politics — it’s after all, in the service of the country. Also, there are several examples of siblings from different political parties. People should now consider the fact that they now have two people to represent their interests,” Chiranjeevi says.
It’s during the talk about Ram Charan that ‘Chiru the dad’ comes through and like any father, he has his set of rules and beliefs.
“Well, he’s no longer a boy. He’s absolutely allowed to make his own decisions and I stay out of the way. But yes, before Charan decides to go ahead with something, there’s always a meeting with me. We all sit down, discuss the pros and cons and it’s only after that meeting, that he goes ahead with his ventures. And this is true with films and even the aviation company he has decided to invest in. Let’s just say that I’m the passive observer, but I’ll be around to watch over him. My son has also truly taken my place in the industry. When Praja Rajyam was launched, I was instantly cut off from cinema. I got busy and didn’t have time to meet my friends from the industry. For four years, I was away and only during the past two, have I ventured out to meet people. But Charan’s making his connections well, he has his parties, with friends like Rana, Sharwanand and many from the younger lot. I’m certainly proud of him and like I said before, if he decides to join politics, he has my blessing.”
His favourite words
So, for now, Chiru is just waiting for his big movie to start. “If I get the chance, I’ll act in more movies, this is my second innings. I have received so much love and my life has been a blessing. ‘Lights, camera, action, cut, okay’ are actually my favourite words and I’m going to give this opportunity my very best, no doubt.”