For some reason best known to Airtel I get daily SMS updates about the South Indian film actor, Chiranjeevi, who you might know by his more popular name, ‘Megastar’. He went into politics a few years back, forming his own party, Praja Rajyam, in Andhra Pradesh and was elected to the State Assembly. I used to get updates about his political career, things like: Praja Rajyam’s launch in Tirupathi was largest gathering in India’s political history with over 30 lakh people attending (a doubtful claim) and His party won 18 MLA seats with 18% vote share until the Praja Rajyam merged with Congress in August.
Clearly, this was not as exciting a move as it sounded, since my updates abruptly changed from breathless messages about his political successes to things like Chiranjeevi’s favourite god is Hanuman and Chiranjeevi is 5 foot 9 inches tall.
Now it’s hard to presume to understand the yearnings and whimsies of someone who you only know through one sentence text messages from their PR agency, but I was getting the sneaking feeling that Megastar was getting disillusioned with political life. Occasionally, I would get tit bits about his promised ‘150th film’, that seemed to hint at a career still unfulfilled, even though 150 films is a lot by any standard (14 of them broke box office records and ran for over 100 days). He’s even starred in a film called ‘Chiranjeevi’.
Then I began getting these….
On March 25th: The remix of Vana vana Velluvaye from Chiru’s 1991 blockbuster, Gang Leader, is one of the highlights of Ram Charan Tejas’s upcoming film Rachcha.
Ram Charan is Chiranjeevi’s son. Rachcha was released by Megaa (yes, two ‘a’s) Super Good Films – I’m really not kidding – in India on April 5th. It broke the record for the best box office opening in the Teluga film industry.
On March 26th: Watching him onscreen was like watching myself all over again in a younger avatar. Charan has done an even better job of dancing in Rachcha.
Hmmm. Do I detect a touch of nostalgia for the buzz and excitement of the film industry after the drudgery and disappointment of national politics? I can imagine Chiranjeevi sitting in his private movie theater, stroking his moustache as his ‘younger avatar’ grinds and bumps to a remix of a song from one of the biggest films of his heyday. Did it, perhaps, take him back to his own blockbuster, Gharana Modugu, the first Teluga film to gross over 100 million rupees that shot him to mega-stardom in 1992?
And this on April 5th. Taking a cue from his contemporary’s book, the superstar Rajinikanth, our megastar is toying with the idea of doing a film in Kochadaiyan style.
Okay, putting aside that I have no idea what ‘Kochaidaiyan style’ is, (though I do like the way they slipped in ‘megastar’ to subtly up-stage the ‘superstar’ status of his ‘contemporary’) I’m really began thinking Chiru’s going to go back into film. I could feel it. He’s had it with politics. He wants to step into his megastar shoes again. He’s been fighting the desire to grab Sonia Gandhi by the hand and do THIS on the floor of the Rajya Sabha.
But then I thought, perhaps I’m reading too much into this?
Today I got the message: Chiranjeevei has reportedly approached Congress head Sonia Gandhi and sought permission to return to acting.
I think he might have heard me — somewhere in that mysterious mobile microwave interzone.
And then, this: Chiru recently obtained permission from his party bosses to act in films yet again.
(though this message I received on May 5th, got me a bit worried he might get carried away: Congress leaders have advised Chiru to choose themes which have a message for the audience in the hope that he might one day emerge as their Messiah.)
Here he is performing his highly popular version of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Come back to the silver screen Chiru! The world should not be deprived of your Megastarness any longer. And whoever says a 150th film is overkill should just shut up.