Chiranjeevi click is his humanity... his crusade to
popularize blood donation and corneal transplant.
He is the uncrowned king of the Telugu
film world. Chiranjeevi has been in the industry for three
decades now, and is still able to command his own despite
the invasion of many talented youngsters. What makes him
click... a darling of the masses and the classes alike...
is his humanity. These days he is taking great interest in
promoting blood donation and corneal transplant.
The blood donation camps in every nook
and corner of Andhra Pradesh, and the huge number of eye
transplants are "my real achievements. I want to give back
to people what they have given me in the form of
admiration. If my movies are crowd pullers, I owe it less
to my talent and more to the public whose faith in my
prowess has not waned with time," says Chiranjeevi. That
he is an actor par excellence is by now an established
fact. He can get into the skin of any role assigned to
him; films such as Rudraveena, Apathbandhavudu,
Swayamkrushi, and the recent Indra,
Tagore, Shankardada MBBS and Stalin
are just a few instances of his sterling performance.
"These have all flopped at the box
office," he says with an honest laugh. "Somehow people
don't want to see me in emotionally challenging roles.
I've been told so even by women old enough to be my
mother. They want me as an action hero and I feel I should
give them what they want. Oh yes, to satisfy my
conscience, I may take up some utterly realistic roles.
But I love doing these action films. My boyhood was spent
thrilling over James Bond movies. So you know how I can
bring in that element of originality even to utter
He is a keen industry watcher too, and
his family is into film production. "The buying capacity
of today's audience has grown vastly. Affordability is
directly proportionate to development in this industry. In
the mid-1980s, Rs 1 crore spent on the production of one
of my films was considered a luxury. Today, we can afford
to spend Rs 20 crore without batting an eyelid," he says.
Asked if the trend of promoting a film
with blow-by-blow description of the cost of garish sets,
foreign locales, picturization of dance sequences, etc was
not a little loud, he says, "I do agree that earlier we
counted on our performance to carry the film. Today,
people want garish, unrealistic sets and songs. So while
giving them what they want, should we blame the producers
if, as part of marketing in this highly competitive field,
they take to this new gimmick of selling their product?
Let every man have his due," he says.
Siva Shankara Vara Prasad, as he was
known prior to his film career, was a commerce graduate
who joined the Chennai Film Institute in the 1970s. His
memory is razor sharp. "My first film was released on
September 22, 1978. The going so far has been great. But I
will feel really great only when my desire to see 1,700
cornea transplants is realized. My idea to motivate my
fans into constructive activity and reach out to the less
privileged is paying off. And that is life's fulfillment.
No I'll never rest, it has to go on," he signs off.