The Journey to mega stardom
Konidela Shiva Shankara Vara Prasad, or Chiranjeevi, born in a small village Magaltooru in Andhra Pradesh on August 22, 1955 is a name to reckon with in the Telugu film industry Although a born actor himself, he also related an interesting filmy incident related to his birth
Konidela Shiva Shankara Vara Prasad, or Chiranjeevi, born in a small village Magaltooru in Andhra Pradesh on August 22, 1955, is a name to reckon with in the Telugu film industry. Although a born actor himself, he also related an interesting filmy incident related to his birth.
He said that his mother during her advanced stage of pregnancy, went to watch ANR’s film ‘Ardhangi’ in her town during that year. While coming back from that film, she developed labour pains and delivered him on her way to the hospital. While felicitating Akkineni Nageshwara Rao on one occasion, he narrated this story and acknowledged that ANR was his ‘Adi guru’ as far as dancing was concerned.
Later, on he became the son-in-law of the comedian and character artiste Allu Ramalingaiah and was referred to as Allu’s son-in-law during the initial days of his film career. After a few years, Allu Ramalingaiah said that he was extremely proud to be called as the father-in-law of Chiranjeevi.
Starting his film career forty years ago in the year 1978 with films like ‘Punadhirallu’ and ‘Pranam Khareedu’ after a two-year-stint at the Madras Film Institute, he carved out a niche for himself as an actor par excellence. His birthday is not a small event and is almost celebrated as a festival in Tollywood with almost all the Telugu TV channels telecasting his old films.
Chiranjeevi did a small role in the film ‘Manavoori Pandavulu’ ( a sociological drama) in which he played one of the five characters, the role of Arjuna, which did not go unnoticed. Participating in one such film functions, he said that while he was attending the 100th-day celebrations of ‘Manavoori Pandavulu’ way back in 1979, nervously, in his heart of hearts, he hoped that some speaker on the dais would say some nice things about his acting style. And he felt relieved when his performance was appreciated. From that level, Chiranjeevi reached a stage as an actor where he has become the centre of attraction if he is present on the dais.
The sheer number of awards that he won is a testimony to his acting skills which he showcased in many of his films. For example, he won Andhra Pradesh’s Raghupathi Venkaiah Award, four Nandi awards, ten Filmfare awards which includes the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award for South and ultimately, the Padma Bhushan Award in 2006 for his outstanding contribution to Indian cinema.
It is not an exaggeration to say that during the last eight decades of the Telugu film industry, very few actors scaled the heights that Chiranjeeevi, that too, without having any godfather. As such, budding actors should try to emulate him. Although he also dabbled in politics and became a Union Minister, he found it unsuitable for him, he returned to acting in 2016, thus starting a second innings in Tollywood.
BY B Srinivas Narayana Rao