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Home   >   Updates   > Articles > A Hero for all seasons

What makes 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 fantasy."

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.

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