Chiranjeevi, the mega super star of the
Telugu film Industry aka Tollywood, was born on 22 Aug 1955 in Narsapur, a
small village in West Godavari District in Andhra Pradesh. Born as Konidela
Siva Shankara Vara Prasad, eldest of five siblings to Venkat Rao and Anjana
Devi, Chiru has two sisters and two brothers- Nagendra Babu a film producer,
and youngest brother Pawan Kalyan an actor like himself.
Chiranjeevi completed his graduation from Y.N. College in
Narsapuram and joined Madras Film Institute in Chennai for a Diploma in
Acting. While studying he received a chance to act in the Telugu film 'Punaadi
Rallu' directed by Raj Kumar, but his debut film release was ' Pranam Kareedu'
in 1978. Subsequently, director Bapu signed him for 'Manavoori Pandavulu',
which ran for 100 days and his portrayal of the character Parthu in the movie
gained him some recognition. After this film, he played a lot of minor and
negative characters in films such as 'Punaadi Rallu' (1979), 'Mosagadu'
(1980), '47 Rojulu' (1981) etc. It was his acclaimed role in 'Initilo Ramayya
Vidhilo Krishnayya' (1981) his first diamond jubilee film, and his role in 'Khaidi'
(1983) which cemented his success in the industry. Since then there was no
looking back for him. His swift dance movements and risky hair raising fights
evoked immense response from the spectators. Most of his memorable characters
are that of tough guys. At a later stage in his career, he has also done some
films with social messages like 'Indra' (2002) and 'Tagore' (2003). Throughout
his career he has been through a lot of ups and downs but each time he came
back with extra perseverance.
Chiranjeevi married Surekha, the daughter of veteran actor Sri Allu
Ramalingaiah in 1980, and the couple is blessed with 2 daughters, Susmitha
Vandana and Srija and a son, Ram Charan Teja. Chiru is a great believer of
God, especially Hanuman.
Chiru didn’t limit himself to Telugu movies. He proved
his mettle in Bollywood with the film 'Prathibandh' (1990), a runaway success
with Juhi Chawla, 'Aaj ka Goondaraj' (1992), 'The Gentleman' (1994), a remake
of the original in Tamil and few other flicks which did not make much ripple
at the box office. Many of his films were dubbed to other languages especially
Tamil, in the 80's beginning with 'Aarani Mantalu' and released simultaneously
in both the states.
Chiranjeevi takes an active part in charity and social
service fields. In October 1998, he founded the Chiranjeevi Charitable Trust (CCT),
which comprises of Chiranjeevi Blood and Eye Banks. It is the state's largest
recipient of Blood and Eye Donations. In 2006, he also founded the Chiranjeevi
Charitable Foundation (CCF) which was inaugurated by the then President of
India Dr. Abdul Kalam.
He has won several awards and recognitions for his contribution to the Telugu
Telugu film Industry. He has won over 10 Filmfare awards for his portrayals
and A P Govt Nandi Awards for Swayankrushi (1987) and Apatbandhavudu (1992).
His film 'Rudraveena' directed by K.Balachander, bagged the 'Nargis Dutt'
award in the national arena. In January 2006, he was honored with the Padma
Bhushan, the third highest civilian award in India. In November 2006,
Chiranjeevi was awarded with a honorary doctorate by Andhra University for his
services to the Telugu film industry. His son Ram Charan Tej debuted into
Telugu movies with the film 'Chirutha'.
The veteran with his career spanning over three decades and
over 150 films, is still a name to reckon with, in Telugu films. For his fans
he is 'Chiranjeevi'.. forever alive in their hearts.