In 2006, Chiranjeevi was honoured with the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian award, for his contribution to Indian cinema. The actor’s 150th movie was announced in May 2015.
Early Life and Education of Chiranjeevi
Chiranjeevi was born Konidela Siva Sankara Vara Prasad on August 22, 1955 in Mogalthur, a small village near Narsapur town in Andhra Pradesh. His father worked as a constable. Chiranjeevi did his schooling in Nidadavolu, Gurajala, Bapatla, Ponnuru, Mangalagiri and Mogalturu. He was an NCC cadet and was interested in acting from a very young age. He did his Intermediate at C. S. R. Sarma College in Ongole, and later graduated 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 adopt the screen name "Chiranjeevi", meaning "live forever", a reference to the belief of Hanuman living forever.
Acting Career of Chiranjeevi
Chiranjeevi began his film career with the 1979 Telugu film ‘Punadhirallu’, though his first released film was ‘Pranam Khareedu’. In both the films he was seen in supporting roles and the former had won the Nandi Award for Best Feature Film. He later played the anti-hero in films ‘I Love You’ and K. Balachander’s ‘Idi Katha Kaadu’ that starred Kamal Haasan and was a remake of Tamil film ‘Avargal’, with Chiranjeevi in the character played by Rajinikanth. In 1979, Chiranjeevi had 8 major film releases and 14 in the succeeding year. In 1981, he again appeared as a villain in Tamil film ‘Ranuva Veeran’, opposite Rajinikanth. He was mostly cast in supporting roles and antagonistic characters till the time, until in 1982 when he began acting in lead roles with films such as the box office hit ‘Intlo Ramayya Veedilo Krishnayya’, directed by Kodi Ramakrishna. He later starred in the comedy drama ‘Shubhalekha’, dealing with the social malady of the dowry system. It did immensely well at the box office and also earned him his first Filmfare Award for Best Actor - Telugu.
From 1983, Chiranjeevi continued tasting box office success, starting with the film ‘Khaidi’, with which the actor also attained stardom. In 1984, he did action films like ‘Sangharshana’, ‘Goonda’, ‘Challenge’, ‘Hero’, ‘Donga’, ‘Jwala’ and ‘Gang Leader’. In 1985, he received his second Filmfare Award for Best Actor - Telugu for his work in ‘Vijetha’. He also received his first Nandi Award for Best Actor for ‘Swayamkrushi’, a drama film released in 1987, which was screened at Moscow International Film Festival. The Telugu star continued delivering box office hits and attempted diverse roles that showed his acting calibre. He acted in a dual role in ‘Yamudiki Mogudu’ in 1988. The same year, he turned producer with ‘Rudraveena’, a musical drama that not only won the Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration, but also the Nandi Special Jury Award.
Chiranjeevi acted in K. Raghavendra Rao’s socio-fantasy movie ‘Jagadeka Veerudu Atiloka Sundari’. Other films like ‘Kondaveeti Donga’, ‘Kodamasimham’ and ‘Gang Leader’ were all box office successes and he was referred to as the "boss of Telugu cinema" by critics. He acted in Hindi films too, among which his performance in ‘Pratibandh’ (1990) was praised and gained him a Filmfare nomination. In 1996, he appeared in a guest role in the Kannada film ‘Sipaayi’. The mid 90s saw a career dip for Chiranjeevi, with box office failures like ‘Mechanic Alludu’, ‘S. P. Parasuram’, ‘Big Boss’ and ‘Rikshavodu’. Exceptions such as ‘Mutha Mestri’ again fetched him the Filmfare Award for Best Actor - Telugu. He bounced back with ‘Hitler’ in 1997 that received both critical and commercial acclaim. From then on, he confined himself to acting in few select films. The following years saw the actor featuring in commercially successful movies like ‘Master’, ‘Bavagaru Bagunnara?’ and ‘Sneham Kosam’, for which he was again honoured with the Filmfare for Best Actor. In 1999, Chiranjeevi was to appear in a Hollywood production directed by Dushan Garsi. Titled ‘The Return of the Thief of Baghdad’, it had its filming halted for undisclosed reasons.
Chiranjeevi’s decade of the 2000s started with ‘Annayya’. In 2002, he starred in ‘Indra’, an action film that broke all previous box office records of Tollywood, also bringing him his third Nandi Award for Best Actor and sixth Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Telugu. Post that, he appeared in films with an underlying message and a social cause, like ‘Tagore’ and ‘Shankar Dada M.B.B.S.’ for which he won his seventh and last Filmfare Award for Best Actor.
Filmography of Chiranjeevi
The select range of myriad movies of Chiranjeevi in his illustrious career is highlighted hereunder alongside his roles and respective years of release.
Awards and Honours received by Chiranjeevi
Chiranjeevi, in addition to being honoured with the Filmfare Award for Best Actor - Telugu, 7 times for ‘Subhalekha’, ‘Vijetha’, ‘Aapadbandhavudu’, ‘Muta Mesthri’, ‘Sneham Kosam’, ‘Indra’ and ‘Shankar Dada MBBS’, has been conferred Filmfare Special Award - South for Honorary Legendary acting career in 2006 and Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award - South in 2010. He has won the Nandi Award for Best Actor for ‘Swayamkrushi’, ‘Aapadbandhavudu’ and ‘Indra’. In 2006, he was honoured with the Padma Bhushan from the Government of India and an Honorary doctorate from the Andhra University. He was bestowed the International Face of Indian Cinema in the SIIMA Awards, 2014.
Personal Life and Family of Chiranjeevi
Chiranjeevi has two daughters, Sushmita and Srija, and a son, Ram Charan Teja, also an actor in Tollywood. One of his brothers, Nagendra Babu, is a film producer and has acted in several films. His youngest brother, Pawan Kalyan, is an actor in Tollywood as well. Allu Aravind, his brother-in-law, is a film producer and Allu Arjun, Telugu movie actor is his nephew.
Indian Film Actors
Indian Film Producers
Indian Film Personalities