Idolised as Megastar, actor Chiranjeevi is among the most admired actors in Tollywood. Born on 22 August 1955 in Narasapur, AP, as Siva Sankara Vara Prasad, he is popularly known by his screen name Chiranjeevi. As an actor, Chiranjeevi established his mettle in the Telugu film industry. However, the actor has also established himself in Tamil, Kannada and Hindi film industries. The megastar is multifaceted as he has proved his skills as a voice artist, dancer, singer and producer.
Chiranjeevi was the person who introduced break dance to the masses in 1980s. He was also popular for his on-screen stunts, which were rare in the industry back then. Known for his versatile acting and humble nature, Chiranjeevi is the recipient of almost all popular awards in South industry, including Nandi and Filmfare. Chiranjeevi was honoured with the Padma Bushan Award in 2006.
In his career spanning over 35 years, the megastar has acted in more than 150 movies.
The actor was supposed to make his acting debut with the film Punadhirallu in 1978; however, his film Pranam Kareedu released first.
Chiranjeevi was born in Mogalthur, West Godavari. His father, Konidela Venkat Rao worked as a constable and his mother, Anjana Devi was a housewife. Chiranjeevi had spent most of his childhood with his grandparents, at his native place. The actor changed his name from Siva Shankar to Chiranjeevi, upon his mother’s suggestion to change it to their family diety Lord Anjaneya.
Chiranjeevi was a very good student and an NCC cadet and also took part in the Republic Day Parade in New Delhi during the '70s. He completed his intermediate at C. S. R. Sarma College in Ongole and graduated with a Bachelors’ in Commerce from Sri Y N College in Narsapur. Post graduation, Chiranjeevi joined the Madras Film Institute to pursue a career in acting.
Chiranjeevi got married to Surekha ,daughter of late actor Allu Ramalingaiah and sister of producer Allu Aravind. The couple have two daughters – Sushmitha and Sreeja and a son – Ram Charan Tej. Ram Charan is a well-established actor and he got married to Upasana Kamineni in 2012.
Chiranjeevi entered the world of films with Punadhirallu in 1978 but his film Pranam Khareedu was released first. He earned the reputation as a bankable actor with the film Mana Voori Pandavulu. Post that, he was also seen in a small role in Tayaramma Bangarayya. He also played the antagonist in films I Love You and Idi Katha Kaadu. In 1979, the actor had eight major films and 14 in 1980. Not just the hero, he also played the anti-hero in films like Rani Kasula Rangamma, Mosagadu, 47 Natkal /47 Rojulu, Ranuva Veeran and Nyayam Kavali.
After playing the male lead in films like Intlo Ramayya Veedhilo Krishnayya, Subhalekha, Idi Pellantara, Tingu Rangadu, Bandhalu Anubandhalu, Sitadevi and Mondi Ghatam, he went on to become a household name.
His 1983 film Khaidi was a huge success at the box office. With the film, Chiranjeevi, became a celebrated star. He continued doing action flicks in 1984, which included Mantri Gari Viyyankudu, Goonda, Challenge, Hero, Sangharshana, Donga, Jwala, Kondaveeti Raja, Adavi Donga, Rakshasudu, Rowdy Alludu, Gang Leader, Yamudiki Mogudu and Donga Mogudu. In 1985, his performance in the film Vijetha earned him his second Filmfare Award. The actor received a Nandi Award for his performance for K. Viswanath’s Swayam Krushi. The film was critically acclaimed and was dubbed into Russian. It was also screened at the Moscow International Film Festival.
He continued delivering huge hits like Pasivadi Pranam, Yamudiki Mogudu and Manchi Donga. In 1988, he was the co-producer for the film Rudraveena which won the “Nargis Dutt Award” as the Best Feature Film on National Integration. The film also won a Nandi Special Jury Award. Chiranjeevi’s Jagadeka Veerudu Atiloka Sundari which co-starred Sridevi, was a socio-fantasy helmed by K. Raghavendra Rao. It was a trend setter.
Chiranjeevi was also appreciated for his Bollywood performances in Pratibandh and Aaj Ka Goonda Raj. He received Nandi Award and a Filmfare Award for his role in the film Aapadbandhavudu .
He tasted failure with films like Mechanic Alludu, Big Boss and Rikshavodu. At the same time, he worked in films like Mutha Mestri. After a short hiatus, he was seen in films like Hitler, Master, Choodalani Vundi, Bavagaru Bagunnara? and Sneham Kosam. In 2000, Chiranjeevi appeared in the film Annayya and took a break after that. In 2002, Chiranjeevi featured as the lead in super hit film Indra. His next films included Tagore and Shankar Dada MBBS and Stalin.
Post 2007 film Shankar Dada Zindabad, Chiranjeevi stayed away from films for almost 10 years and pursued politics. However, he did appear in cameos in Magadheera and Bruce Lee. He was the narrator for the film Varudu and Rudhramadevi.
In 2013, Chiranjeevi announced that he was looking for a script for his comeback into cinema and work on his 150th film. He okayed the remake of the Tamil super hit Kaththi. The Telugu version was titled Khaidi No. 150 and was helmed by V. V. Vinayak. After that, he worked in Shankar Dada Zindabad and Sye Raa Narasimha. He will be seen in the upcoming film Acharya.
Megastar debuted on television with the realty show Meelo Evaru Koteesvarudu, the Telugu version of KBC. He hosted the fourth season of the show.
Apart from acting, he also dipped his feet in politics by setting up his own political party – Praja Rajyam Party (PRP). Founded in the year 2008, the party soon merged with Congress in 2012. He also co-owns the football team Kerala Blasters FC. Chiranjeevi is also known for his philanthropic contributions. On 2 October 1998, he set up the Chiranjeevi Charitable Trust (CCT). Under the CCT, he runs Chiranjeevi Eye Bank and Chiranjeevi Blood Bank. CCT has won the "Best Voluntary Blood Bank Award".
Chiranjeevi has won seven best actor awards for Shubhalekha, Vijetha, Aapadbandhavudu, Muta Mesthri, Sneham Kosam, Indra and Shankar Dada MBBS.
In 2010, the Filmfare conferred him with Lifetime Achievement Award – South.
He won the best actor award for Swayam Krushi, Aapathbandhavudu and Indra.
In 2016, he won the Nandi Raghupathi Venkaiah Award.
In 2014, he won SIIMA Award as the International Face of Indian Cinema.
The megastar is reportedly the very first Indian actor to start his personal webpage. Chiru represented South India at the Oscars in the year 1987. He went to Cannes Festival in the year 2013 as the tourism minister. So far in Tollywood, Chiru is the only star who had a single, double and triple role film records .
Chiru is popular for being the only Telugu hero who has had 20 films that have run more than 100 days in the metropolis.
Since 1987, Chiranjeevi delivered at least one hit every year for 10 years that ran for more than 100 days in theatres. Counting the 75 year old history of Telugu cinema, Chiranjeevi is the only actor who has delivered 32 films that had a run of more than 100 days, in theatres in Hyderabad. The mega star won the Southern Filmfare Award as the Best Actor for seven years in a row. His films Pasivadi Pranam and Swayam Krushi were dubbed into Russian language. His film “Kodama Simaham” was the first South Indian film to be remade in English.
Chiranjeevi’s film Gharana Mogudu , directed by K. Raghavendra Rao was the first Telugu movie to gross more than 10 crores at the box office. With the film, Chiranjeevi became the highest paid actor at a time. He earned a remuneration of Rs 1.25 crore for Aapad Bandhavudu in 1992.
In a 2006 poll conducted by CNN-IBN, Chiranjeevi was listed as the most popular star in the Telugu Film Industry. His favourite subject was biology and if not an actor, he dreamt of becoming a biologist. Mahanati Savitri is his favorite actress and Sean Connery is his favorite actor. In his free time, the mega star likes watching Charlie Chaplin movies as he is his favourite comedian.
In 1999, Chiru was signed for a Hollywood film – “The Return of the Thief of Baghdad”. However, the shooting was halted for some undisclosed reasons.
Chiranjeevi got his first nickname as “Nata Kishore” which was given to him by Tanguturi Anjaiah, former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh.
Chiranjeevi will sport a bald look for his upcoming movie “Acharya”. The film is set to release in 2021.
The actor played a number of memorable roles in his career but there are some portrayals that changed his life forever. Here are some roles that defined him as an actor and brought him closer to the audience . Swayamkrushi marked the second outing of Chiru and the legendary director K Viswanath. Their first film together was the film Shubhalekha. Chiranjeevi played the role of a cobbler who goes from rags-to-riches. For his performance, Chiranjeevi earned Best Actor Nandi Award. The movie was dubbed in Russian and was featured at International Film Festival of India, Moscow International Film Festival and also the Asia Pacific Film Festival.
In the 1991 film Gang Leader, Chiranjeevi essayed the role of a reckless youngster who pledges to take revenge for his brother’s death. The movie went on to become a cult classic, and it is often credited to be one of the biggest hits of the megastar’s career. It also broke several previous records at box office and it was pronounced as a blockbuster.
The film Aapadbandhavudu is remembered as a memorable gem in the actor’s career. The film is definitely one of the most loved movies in Chiru's filmography. For the film, Chiranjeevi joined hands with filmmaker K Viswanath after the superhit films Shubhalekha and Swayamkrushi. Aapadbandhavudu is a film that talks about the sensitive topics like caste and economy gap in society. Chiru’s mellow performance, particularly in the hospital parts of the movie, was appreciated a lot. Aapadbandhavudu also won a lot of critical acclaim for Chiru and he won Best Actor Nandi Award for the film. He also won Filmfare South Award for Best Actor.
The film Jagadeka Veerudu Athiloka Sundari remains to be one of the the most influential Telugu film till date. The film is also seen as a reference point. It was a visual treat of the decade. Directed by K. Raghavendra Rao,Jagadeka Veerudu Athiloka Sundari was served with a wonderful combination of Chiranjeevi and Sridevi. With heroics and ample glamour brought by the leads, the film also had Amrish Puri’s impactful acting. This movie that turned out to be an unexpected crowd puller, had broken all the box office records set up by previous movies and became a major blockbuster and had more than a 100-day run in theatres.
When talking about Chiru’s filmography, the list stays incomplete without referring to the film Khaidi. The film served as Chiranjeevi’s first blockbuster in the industry. Chiranjeevi essayed the role of a loving son who starts a journey to take vengeance for his father’s death.
Based on a novel written by Shivashankarwas directed by K Balachander in the year 1981. The Telugu drama was the Tamil debut of the actor as the movie was simultaneously shot in both Telugu and Tamil . It was titled as 47 Natkal in Tamil. While the movie may not have been a huge money grosser, it was praised for its courage to explore bigamy in the mainstream cinema. In the film, Chiranjeevi essayed a torture-inducing, conniving husband and his performance was appreciated a lot.
Subhaleka the family drama was the first film, when Chiranjeevi collaborated with veteran film director K Viswanath. The film was inspired by Gurazada Apparao's novel Kanyasulkam. The movie Subhaleka was a fresh take on the topic of the dowry system, a major social malady. The film had Chiranjeevi play the role of a waiter who carries a tongue-in-cheek humour. His amazing performance earned him his first ever Filmfare award for best actor.
Rudraveena the 1988 film explores the story about a young man striving for a better society. Through the process, the youth locks horns with his father due to contrasting ideologies. The movie won National Awards and it was helmed by K Balachander. The film touched upon the caste divide and the responsibility of individuals towards the society. It was appreciated as a very important film on the national integration and was also remade in Tamil with the title Unnal Mudiyum Thambi and starred Kamal Haasan.
Shankar Dada MBBS , was a remake of Sanjay Dutt’s movie Munnabhai MBBS. In the movie, Chiranjeevi played the role of a local goon in Hyderabad, and pretended to be a doctor in front of his father. Chiranjeevi’s underrated yet perfect comic timing won hearts.