Konidela Siva Sankara Vara Prasad better known by his stage name Chiranjeevi, is an Indian Film Actor, Dancer, Producer, Singer, Voice Artist, Politician, Businessman, Investor and founder of Praja Rajyam Party.
Chiranjeevi was born in Mogalthur, a small village near Narsapur. His father worked as a constable and got transferred on a regular basis. He spent his childhood in his native village with his grand parents. Chiranjeevi did his schooling in Nidadavolu, Gurajala, Bapatla, Ponnuru, Mangalagiri and Mogalturu. He was an NCC cadet. Chiranjeevi had participated in the Republic Day Parade in New Delhi as an NCC cadet in the early 70s. He was interested in acting from a very young age. He did his Intermediate at C. S. R. Sarma College in Ongole. After graduating with a degree 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 take the screen name “Chiranjeevi”, meaning “live forever”, a reference to belief of Hanuman living forever.
He has two daughters, Sushmita and Srija, and a son, Ram Charan Teja who is also an actor in Tollywood. One of Chiranjeevi’s brothers, Nagendra Babu, is a film producer and also has acted in several films. His youngest brother, Pawan Kalyan, is an actor in Tollywood too. Allu Aravind, his brother-in-law, is a film producer. Chiranjeevi is the uncle of Allu Arjun.
He made his acting debut in 1978, with the film ‘Punadhirallu’. However, ‘Pranam Khareedu’ was released earlier at the box office. Known for his break dancing skills, Chiranjeevi starred in 150 feature films in a variety of roles. In 1987, he was starred in ‘Swayam Krushi’, which was dubbed into Russian, and was screened at the Moscow International Film Festival. In the same year, Chiranjeevi was one of the Indian delegates at the 59th Academy Awards. In 1988, he co-produced ‘Rudraveena’, which won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration.
Chiranjeevi’s 1992 film ‘Gharana Mogudu’, directed by K. Raghavendra Rao, is the first Telugu film to gross over ₹ 10 crore at the box office, the film was screened at the 1993 International Film Festival of India in the mainstream section. The film made Chiranjeevi the highest paid actor in India at the time, catapulting him to the cover pages of noted national weekly magazines in India. The entertainment magazines Filmfare and India Today named him “Bigger than Bachchan”, a reference to Bollywood’s Amitabh Bachchan. News magazine The Week hailed him as “The new money machine”.He was paid a remuneration of ₹1.25 crores for the 1992 film ‘Aapadbandhavudu’. In 2002, Chiranjeevi was given the Samman Award for the Highest Income Tax Payer for the assessment year 1999–2000 by the Minister of State for Finance, Government of India.
In a film career spanning thirty five years, he won four state Nandi Awards and ten Filmfare Awards South including the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award – South. In 2006, Chiranjeevi was honored with the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian award, for his contributions to Indian cinema, and was presented with an honorary doctorate from Andhra University. In 2013, he inaugurated the Incredible India Exhibition, a joint participation of the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting at the 66th Cannes Film Festival. He also represented Incredible India at the 14th International Indian Film Academy Awards ceremony held in Macau. In 2013, IBN LIVE named him as one of “The men who changed the face of the Indian Cinema”. Chiranjeevi’s 150th film was announced in May 2015.
Chiranjeevi founded the Chiranjeevi Charitable Foundation, established in 1998, which is involved in humanitarian activities. In 2008, he entered politics by forming the ‘Praja Rajyam Party’. In the 2009 Andhra Pradesh elections, Chiranjeevi contested from his native places, Palakollu and Tirupati. He was defeated by the Congress party candidate in Palakollu and was elected as a member of the State Assembly from the Tirupati constituency. He led the Praja Rajyam Party to emerge as the third largest party during the same election. Later, in February 2011, his Praja Rajyam Party merged into the Indian National Congress. He is a co-owner of Indian Super League side Kerala Blasters.
Chiranjeevi made his debut as Television host with fourth season of Meelo Evaru Koteeswarudu
some of his recent movies are ‘Shankar Dada Zindabad’, ‘Magadheera’, ‘Bruce Lee – The Fighter’, ‘Khaidi No. 150’.