||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2013)|
|Union Minister of State (Independent charge), Ministry of Tourism|
28 October 2012
|Preceded by||Subodh Kant Sahay|
|Member of Parliament - Rajya Sabha|
|Born||Mogalthur, West Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh, India|
|Residence||Film Nagar, Hyderabad, India
|Occupation||Film actor, Politician|
Chiranjeevi (born Konidala Siva Sankara Vara Prasad) is an Indian film actor, producer, politician and a member of the Indian National Congress. He is the Minister of State with independent charge for the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. Prior to politics, Chiranjeevi had worked primarily in Telugu cinema, including Tamil, Kannada and Hindi films. He made his acting debut in 1978, in the film Punadhirallu. However, Pranam Khareedu was released earlier at the box office.
Owing to his box-office appeal, the popular entertainment magazines Filmfare and India Today quoted him "Bigger than Bachchan", a reference to Bollywood’s Amitabh Bachchan. In 1987, he became the first south Indian actor to be invited to attend the 59th Academy Awards ceremony. News magazine The Week hailed him as "The new money machine". Gharana Mogudu was the first Telugu film to gross over 10 crore at the box office. The film made Chiranjeevi the highest paid actor in India at the time, catapulting him to hit the cover pages of noted national weekly magazines in India. He was paid a remuneration of 1.25 crores for the 1992 film Aapad Bandhavudu. In 2002, Chiranjeevi was given the Samman Award for the Highest Income Tax Payer for the assessment year 1999-2000 by the Minister of State for Finance, Government of India. A poll conducted[when?] in Andhra Pradesh by the English news channel CNN-IBN in 2008 named that Chiranjeevi the most popular star of the Telugu Film Industry. The poll also revealed that Vishnuvardhan, Rajinikanth and Mammootty were the most popular stars of the Kannada, Tamil and Malayalam film industries respectively. In 2013, he inaugurated the Incredible India Exhibition, a joint participation of the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting at the 66th Cannes Film Festival. He also represented Incredible India at the 14th International Indian Film Academy Awards ceremony held in Macau.
In a film career spanning more than thirty years, Chiranjeevi has starred in 149 feature films. In 1987, he starred in Swayam Krushi, which was screened at the Moscow International Film Festival. In 1988, he co-produced Rudraveena, which won the Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration. He has won four state Nandi Awards and ten Filmfare Awards South. Chiranjeevi was honoured with the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian award, for his contributions towards Indian cinema. In 2006, he was presented with an honorary doctorate from Andhra University. In 2013, IBN LIVE named him as one of "The men who changed the face of the Indian Cinema".
Chiranjeevi founded the Chiranjeevi Charitable Foundation, established in 1998, which is involved in humanitarian activities. In 2008, he entered politics by forming the Praja Rajyam Party. In the 2009 Andhra Pradesh elections, Chiranjeevi contested from his native places, Palakollu and Tirupati. He was defeated by the Congress party candidate in Palakollu and was elected as a member of the State Assembly from the Tirupati constituency. He led the Praja Rajyam Party to emerge as the third largest party during the same election. Later, in February 2011, his Praja Rajyam Party merged into the Indian National Congress.
Early life and family
Chiranjeevi was born in Mogalthur, a small village near Narsapur. He was interested in acting from a very young age. He did his Intermediate at C. S. R. Sarma College in Ongole. After graduating with a degree in commerce from Sri Y N College at Narsapur, Chiranjeevi moved to Chennai and joined the Madras Film Institute in 1976 to pursue a career in acting. Since his family worshipped Anjaneya, a Hindu deity, his mother advised him to take the screen name of "Chiranjeevi".
He has two daughters, Sushmita and Sreeja, and a son, Ram Charan Teja. Ram is also an actor in Tollywood. One of Chiranjeevi's brothers, Nagendra Babu, is a film producer and also has acted in several films, and his youngest brother, Pawan Kalyan, is an actor in Tollywood. Allu Aravind, his brother-in-law, is a film producer. Allu Arjun, son of Allu Aravind, is also an actor in Telugu cinema.
Early career: 1978–1981
Chiranjeevi started his film career in Punadhirallu. However, his first released film was Pranam Khareedu. Mana Voori Pandavulu, directed by Bapu, gave Chiranjeevi recognition from the Indian audience. He played a small role in Tayaramma Bangarayya. He also played the anti-hero in films like I Love You and K. Balachander's Idi Katha Kaadu, starring Kamal Haasan. In a remake of the Tamil film Avargal, Chiranjeevi portrayed the character played by Rajinikanth in the original. In 1979, Chiranjeevi had eight major film releases and then 14 films in the following year. He played characters with negative shades in films like Mosagadu, Rani Kasula Rangamma and the Tamil-Telugu bilingual 47 Natkal /47 Rojulu directed by K. Balachander. A. Kodandarami Reddy's Nyayam Kavali (1981) saw him playing an anti-hero once again and his performance was noticed by the critics. Also in 1981, he appeared as a villain in Ranuva Veeran opposite Rajinikanth, which further elevated his status as an anti-hero. Audiences developed a liking for his "ease in dance movements and swashbuckling fights." He was mostly cast in supporting roles and as antagonistic characters during this period.
Leading roles: 1982
Chiranjeevi began to appear in lead roles with films such as Intlo Ramayya Veedilo Krishnayya directed by Kodi Ramakrishna which was a hit at the box office. Later, he starred in Shubhalekha directed by K. Viswanath, which dealt with the social malady of the dowry system. It brought him his first Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Telugu and Viswanath's third Filmfare Award for Best Director – Telugu. He also appeared in movies like Idi Pellantara, Sitadevi, Tingu Rangadu, Bandhalu Anubandhalu and Mondi Ghatam. He acted in multi-star movies like Patnam Vachina Pativrathalu and Billa Ranga. He later acted in Manchu Pallaki, along with Suhasini Maniratnam, which was the debut film for director Vamsy.
Chiranjeevi films of the period include Mantri Gari Viyyankudu, Sangharshana, Goonda, Challenge, Hero, Donga, Jwala, Adavi Donga, Kondaveeti Raja, Rakshasudu, Gang Leader, Rowdy Alludu, Yamudiki Mogudu and Donga Mogudu. In 1985, he received his second Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Telugu for his performance in Vijetha. Chiranjeevi received his first Nandi Award for Best Actor for Swayam Krushi (1987), directed by K. Viswanath.
Chiranjeevi worked in 23 films, most of which were box office hits. He also attempted a variety of roles which showed his acting skills. After Khaidi, he had hits like Pasivadi Pranam (1987) and Yamudiki Mogudu (1988) where he appeared in a dual role, and Manchi Donga (1988). His film, Rudraveena (1988), not only won the Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration, but also the Nandi Special Jury Award. Its composer Ilaiyaraaja and singer S. P. Balasubrahmanyam won National Film Awards for the same film.
Chiranjeevi paired with Sridevi in Jagadeka Veerudu Atiloka Sundari, a socio-fantasy movie from Tollywood. Directed by K. Raghavendra Rao and produced by Ashwini Dutt. Other films like Kondaveeti Donga and Raja Vikramarka were also box-office successes. Gang Leader (1991) was also a hit and critics even called him the "boss of Telugu cinema". Gharana Mogudu became the first ever Telugu movie to gross more than 10 crore.
He acted in Hindi films too. His performances were appreciated in Pratibandh (1990), which gained him a Filmfare nomination. Aaj Ka Goonda Raj, a remake of his Telugu film and The Gentleman, a Tamil remake also proved to be successful. In 1996, he appeared in a guest role in the Kannada film Sipaayi.
The mid-1990s saw a career dip for Chiranjeevi with box-office failures like Mechanic Alludu, S. P. Parasuram, Big Boss and Rikshavodu. There were exceptions, such as Mutha Mestri, which fetched him a fourth Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Telugu. Mugguru Monagallu and Alluda Majaka were moderately successful.
After a brief lull, he came back with Hitler in 1997, which received both critical and commercial acclaim. From then on, Chiranjeevi confined himself to acting in only a few selected films. The following years, he appeared in commercially successful movies like Master, Bavagaru Bagunnara?, and Choodalani Vundi, and for Sneham Kosam, he received his fifth Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Telugu.
In 1999, Chiranjeevi was to appear in a Hollywood production directed by Dushan Garsi, and produced by Rameshkrishna Murthi. The Telugu version was directed by Suresh Krissna. The movie, which was titled Return of the Thief of Baghdad, had its filming suspended for unknown reasons.
Chiranjeevi's new decade started with Annayya. After a brief gap, Chiranjeevi starred in Indra, released in 2002, which broke all his previous box office records of Tollywood and won him his third Nandi Award for Best Actor and sixth Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Telugu. After that, he appeared in films which had an underlying message and a social cause, like Tagore and Shankar Dada MBBS, for which he won his seventh and latest Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Telugu, and Stalin. He was awarded the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award – South at the 58th Filmfare Awards South in 2011 for his contributions to the film industry.
Political career: 2008–present
In 2008, Chiranjeevi started Praja Rajyam, a political party in the state of Andhra Pradesh. At the launch, he stated that social justice was the main agenda of his party. In the 2009 general elections, the party won 18 seats in the Andhra Pradesh State Assembly. He was elected a Member of the State Assembly from Tirupati.
On 6 February 2011, Chiranjeevi merged the 30-month-old Praja Rajyam Party with the Indian National Congress, after two weeks of back talks with Sonia Gandhi, the president of the Congress, which feared the no confidence motion in the state assembly in the wake of the emergence of Jagan Mohan Reddy's YSR Congress Party and the stronghold of Telangana agitation. After more than one year of merging his party into Congress, he was given the Rajya Sabha seat on 29 March 2012. He took the oath as a Rajya Sabha member on 3 April 2012.
On 2 October 1998, he founded the Chiranjeevi Charitable Trust (CCT), which includes Chiranjeevi Blood and Eye Banks. It is the state's largest recipient of blood and eye donations. The trust has made over 68,000 blood donations and 1,414 eye donations. The Blood Bank of the CCT has helped over 80,000 people and the Eye Bank has helped about 1,000 people in the state of Andhra Pradesh since its opening. Around 350,000 people have pledged their eyes to CCT so far, giving 1600 people eyesight through CCT. CCT has also won the "Best Voluntary Blood Bank Award" by the AP State Government for the past 4 years. On 10 June 2006, the then President of India, Abdul Kalam, inaugurated the Chiranjeevi Charitable Foundation (CCF) at the Jubilee Hills Check Post in Hyderabad.
Chiranjeevi Charitable Trust has crossed the one lakh mark in collecting blood and more than 96,000 people have been helped with blood by this blood bank.
After allegations made against the Blood Bank and Eye Bank, the state government of AP constituted a high-level committee to look into the allegations. The committee worked under the guidance of the project director of AP State AIDA Control Society, comprising experts from finance and technical fields, verified records pertaining to the collection and disposal of blood samples, blood grouping, screening, sterilisation, medical waste disposal, camps conducted, blood expiry, quality control, store room, record room and purchase of equipment.
Awards, honours and recognitions
Veteran director K. Balachander once commented "Chiranjeevi has both Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth in him. Not only can he do action, he can also act." Chiranjeevi received the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian honour in India in the year 2006. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Andhra University in the same year. He is a ten-time winner of Filmfare Awards South and a four time winner of Nandi Awards. Amitabh Bachchan said during the Padma Bhushann felicitation, "Commercially, Telugu cinema is much larger than any other cinema in this country."
- Filmfare Special Award – South - Punnami Naagu (1980)
- Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Telugu - Shubhalekha (1982)
- Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Telugu - Vijetha (1985)
- Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Telugu - Aapad Bandhavudu (1992) 
- Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Telugu - Muta Mesthri (1993)
- Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Telugu - Sneham Kosam (1999) 
- Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Telugu - Indra (2002)
- Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Telugu - Shankar Dada MBBS (2004)
- Filmfare Special Award – South for Honorary Legendary acting career (2006)
- Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award – South (2010)
- Nandi Award for Best Actor - Swayam Krushi (1987)
- Nandi Special Jury Award - Rudraveena (1988)
- Nandi Award for Best Actor - Aapad Bandhavudu (1992)
- Nandi Award for Best Actor - Indra (2002)
- 2006 – Padma Bhushan from the Government of India
- 2006 – Honorary doctorate from the Andhra University
- 2002 –Samman Award from Government of India
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- The glitter, the gloss, the razzmatazz