As he embarks on his 150th film, Chiranjeevi says he has no regrets about the brickbats he received, his entry to politics or his daughter's marriage going wrong. Y. Sunita Chowdhary listens in
There can be only one Chiranjeevi. In dance, there have been and are many technically perfect dancers in the Indian film industry but none could bring in the perfect rhythm and grace that Chiranjeevi did. No other actor could whip up the kind of mass hysteria that he does on the eve of his film's release. The announcement of his return to films for his 150th film too sent his fans into a frenzy and now they are in a festive mood as the charming actor has begun to make his presence felt just when the Telugu film industry was feeling his absence. His 150th film titled Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy will revolve around the Indian freedom struggle and would in all probability be his last, as he gears up to take on more important responsibilities as a politician.
Nursing a sore throat that he'd got from tasting teertham from many Ganesh pandals, Chiranjeevi laughs and remarks that it isn't quite correct to use the term ‘back to films'. “There is a difference between saying the girl has `come to her parents home' and the girl has left her hubby and returned to her parents' home.”
In a relaxed mood on Saturday morning, the actor recounts his experiences on his entry in politics. He actually sees a similarity between his debuts in the political and film fields. “Keeping the winning and losing aspects aside, I feel it has been a wonderful start. My first film Praanam Khareedu was a flop but that didn't stop me from becoming successful. So it is in politics. The emotional turbulence I had gone through, the challenges I took up at that age, the debut in a different alien area… yet the journey itself was enjoyable. Now I don't see 18 seats as a number, I see people's affection, faith and the trust they reposed on me, I see responsibility. I may be a veteran in films but I'm still young in politics. Stardom didn't come to me easily and I know it will come in politics too when the time is right. I'm going through a feeling of enthusiasm and struggle in politics just as I did in my first few films.”
Don't people say politics is a drama without make up? Chiranjeevi avers that in every field there is an amount of negativity but he prefers to draw only the positivesfrom his experiences. “I've learnt, evolved through the bitter experiences, trained to live through it. If you wish to see hatred, you'll see only that. I've derived strength through my honesty. There are many people in good positions without vested interests seeking politics as a wonderful platform to serve people. I took up films to make a living, but now I want to live for the people. Politics is not a necessity, it is a boon. If one day people hurled eggs at me, they also showered me with flowers; after rain there is always sunshine.”
Chiranjeevi is looking more handsome than ever, having lost ten kilos in two years. The glow is back on his face and he looks content. He bares his heart, “The smile and contentment you see is because of my daughter. She is back with me; I was agonised to see her marry a wrong person. The fact that she realised the mistake and regretted it makes me happy. Just when I thought everything was going fine, I was jolted out of my complacency. I've seen my life dip in the last few years. The emotional turbulence made me introspect and analyse. I had to wait for the dust to settle but for that I needed patience and a positive attitude. Also one got to be surrounded by positive people, without these people I would have lost the opportunity to move ahead.”
The actor says sternly that it is not in his nature to distance people or nurse grudges;he had forgiven a lot of people. “Those who left me are getting back now… my friends, my staff. The experience has made me emotionally strong, I've learnt to take it easy, I'm not going to let people affect me, they cannot make me cry. You know your strength only when someone hits you. Now I know that I'm strong enough to be in politics.”