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Telugu Movie Moghul Chiranjeevi
Not all days are alike. Certain days standout as of great significance. Such are 15th August and 2nd October. We know too well their importance. Of similar importance too, though in a different way, is 22nd August. Ask anyone how it is important and pat comes the answer - Chiranjeevi's birthday, and that is just today. Yet another day of similar importance is 22nd September.
Significance Of September 22nd 1978:
If 22nd August ushered Chiranjeevi into the world, 22nd September 1978 marked the beginning of his rise to stardom. The radiance of the would-be megastar brightened our Telugu screen that day. It was as though the screen had been waiting anxiously for his arrival. Once on the firmament of the screen the star grew brighter and brighter and there has been no stopping of its dominance of the Telugu entertainment world. None knew and few imagined the growth of this debutante into an all dominating figure of the Telugu screen. Only the screen perhaps was aware of it.
Chiranjeevi's first starrer 'Pranam Khareedu' made audience sit up and think about this lively young actor. Those that missed his histrionics in that movie thought as much on seeing his 'Manavoori Pandavulu'. 'Punnami Naagu' showed altogether a new artiste in him with a brilliant spark of talent. 'Chattaniki Kallulevu' brought out still another side of his acting skills. Then followed 'Khaidi' the real turning point in his career. His performance in it revealed his real capabilities and Chiranjeevi was now established as the hero nonpareil. That marked the beginning of a new era in Telugu cinema - the 'Chiranjeevi Era.' No more did buyers and producers enquire about the other details of the movie. All that they cared about was that it was a Chiranjeevi starrer. Many are the producers who are yet to realize their dreams of making just one movie featuring Chiranjeevi in it! No knowing when their dreams will be fulfilled! He took box office collections to new heights, reinterpreted concepts of movie production, and redrew the contours of film business. He became the yardstick of the remuneration paid to the artistes. The Indian English press stunned at the collections that his 'State Rowdy' raked in, was shocked into recognizing the Telugu film industry as of national stature. If the English papers began to wonder where Amitabh stood in comparison with Chiranjeevi, one can understand his contribution to such status for the Telugu cinema.
Chiranjeevi On A New Path:
Those were the days when for want of better actors, ageing heroes and idols had the Telugu cinema writhing in their strangle hold. Chiranjeevi gave succor to the Telugu movie by bringing in a breath of fresh air and novelty by his histrionics. His 'kick' and 'quick' lent the Telugu cinema the resurgence it had been looking for. The youth were regaled by his song sequences and excited by his fight sequences. These left a permanent impression on their minds. The Chiranjeevi mark of entertainment was indelible. It's no easy matter for any artiste to secure a lasting place in the hearts of his or her audiences. But that was the feat Chiranjeevi could accomplish in a very short time. He was acclaimed equally for his dashing young roles as for his character roles.
He empathized with the characters he acted and thus got close to his audience. Without any filmic background, without the patronage of any godfather, without the sympathetic support of any producer ready to bet on him, his daring to compete with the sheer strength of his talent, with established heroes, and get the better of them - this is an ample proof of his histrionic potential. Here was a young actor who by acting only social roles and without donning mythological and folk roles established himself as an actor par excellence. This makes him all the greater. When others snatched off the roles proposed for him, he did not lose heart. When others taunted him for his lack of a 'face,' he did not despair. He let his talent speak for him, as film after film showed him to be the great that he is, in spite of the challenges he had to face.
Indian movie heroes tend to be type cast and Chiranjeevi along with Amitabh Bachchan, Rajnikanth are almost always cast in the image of mass heroes. It's nearly impossible for them to get over this, at least because of their fans, and be acclaimed for other roles than this. It is as difficult to get out of the mass image as it is to secure one in the first instance. Chiranjeevi is thus denied the opportunity of showing his full potential as an actor of range and variety. To prove that he could acquit well even in the out of the ordinary roles, he performed magnificently the not so usual roles in 'Subhalekha', 'Chantabbai', 'Swayam Krushi', 'Aaradhana', 'Rudraveena', and 'Apadbhandavudu'. He did these roles just for his own satisfaction and to prove to himself that he is good even at such roles. Even today he eagerly awaits an opportunity to do such roles though his fans can only imagine him as a State Rowdy, a Jagadekha Veerudu, a Gang Leader, a Gharana Mogudu, etc., which alone can hit the box office. 'Sneham Kosam,' 'Tagore,' 'Indra,' 'Andarivadu,' etc., are movies in which the roles offered him a compromise between the run-of-the-mill image and the talented artiste image.
Life Size Image:
Chiranjeevi is a living proof of how one can definitely come up in life by sheer effort, industry, perseverance, and confidence. Success is another name by which Chiranjeevi is known. Chiranjeevi holds Mother Teresa as divine. And it is her influence that prompted his creating Chiranjeevi Charitable Trust which runs a blood and eye bank and has provided succor to a good many. His movie career and his humanitarian activities have earned him a lasting place in the hearts of the people.
There has been a lot of speculation about Chiranjeevi's political ambitions. Quite natural, as people thought he might think of making good in politics too, on the spring board of his popularity as a movie star. The vast crowds that turn up for Chiranjeevi's meetings have been the envy and terror of many a political leader. They have feared naturally that he might rise to be their political rival. Chiranjeevi himself has been very vague when questioned about his political intentions and ambitions. Chiranjeevi growing from an ordinary actor through a star hero through mega star to Supreme is like a small plant growing into a huge tree with its roots struck deep into the ground. Let us wish and hope that the admirers of Chiranjeevi will celebrate many more years of August 22nd with his doing every role that they wish him to do.