Konidela Siva Sankara Vara Prasad, popularly known by his stage name Chiranjeevi, is an iconic Indian film actor, dancer, producer, singer, voice artist, businessman, investor and a politician. In the early 1980`s, he gained popularity among masses for introducing break dance and performing stunts that were never seen before in Telugu movies at that time. The versatile artist, in his illustrious career spanning over 35 years has won almost all the popular awards including the four Nandi Awards, 10 Filmfare Awards South, and a Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award - South. In 2006, for his outstanding contribution to the Indian cinema, the actor was conferred with the prestigious Padma Bhushan Award, the third highest civilian award in India. Apart from his work in the film industry, the actor is also known for his charitable works; he founded the Chiranjeevi Charitable Foundation in 1998.
Born in Mogalthur, a small village near Narsapur, Andhra Pradesh he is the son of Konidela Venkat Rao who worked as a constable and Anjana Devi. Owing to his father`s work in police, the family moved to different places on a regular basis due to which he did his schooling at different places. While in school he participated in the Republic Day Parade in New Delhi as an NCC cadet in the early 70s and 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. His brothers` Nagendra Babu and Pawan Kalyan are also popular actors in the Telugu film industry and Allu Aravind, a film producer is his brother-in-law.
Chiranjeevi got married to Surekha Konidala in the year 1980. They have two daughters, Sushmita and Srija and a son named Ram Charan Teja who is an actor in Tollywood.
After finishing his study from the Madras Film Institute, Chiranjeevi was cast in the movie Punadhirallu however due to the production delay, he collaborated with director K. Vasu for his 1978 film, Pranam Khareedu
, which marked his acting debut. Following his debut film, the actor appeared in a supporting role in Mana Voori Pandavulu
(1978). Punadhirallu finally released in 1979. In the same year, he went on to appear in Tayaramma Bangarayya, I Love You and K. Balachander`s Idi Katha Kaadu. The year worked out really well for the actor as he had eight major film releases, followed by 14 films in the consecutive years. He portrayed negative roles in films like Mosagadu
(1980), Rani Kasula Rangamma (1981) and the Tamil-Telugu bilingual 47 Natkal /47 Rojulu directed by K. Balachander
(1981). In the same year, he played an anti-hero in A. Kodandarami Reddy`s Nyayam Kavali followed by a villain role in Ranuva Veeran opposite the superstar Rajinikanth
In 1982, Chiranjeevi was seen in a lead role as a civil engineer, Rajasekharam in Intlo Ramayya Veedilo Krishnayya
directed by Kodi Ramakrishna
, which was a hit at the box office. He then starred in K. Viswanath`s Shubhalekha
, which highlighted the evils of the dowry system prevailing in the society. Whilst the film received moderate reviews, Chiranjeevi`s role as Narasimha Murthy, a waiter in a star hotel was much appreciated. His stellar performance earned him his maiden Filmfare Award for Best Actor - Telugu. Post this, he worked in movies like Idi Pellantara
, Sitadevi, and Bandhalu Anubandhalu
all of which released in 1982.
The actor continued his successful run in 1982 with yet another super hit in 1983, which was titled Khaidi. The film noted for sizzling action sequences propelled Chiranjeevi to become a superstar and he achieved national stardom. This followed with Vijaya Bapineedu`s action-drama film Hero (1984), A. Kodandarami Reddy`s drama-action Rakshasudu (1986), and a dual role in the fantasy-comedy Yamudiki Mogudu
(1988) made him one of the most sought after actors in the Telugu industry.
His next venture Rudraveena, which released in March 1998 not only won the Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration, but also the Nandi Special Jury Award. He was then seen in K. Raghavendra Rao
`s socio-fantasy Jagadeka Veerudu Atiloka Sundari as a courageous and spirited young man and followed his brilliant role with an electrifying performance in the blockbuster movie Gang Leader in 1991 that got critics to call him the `Boss of Telugu Cinema.` For his role as the servant and cowherd Madhava in Aapadbandhavudu
(1992), he received his second Nandi Award for Best Actor and third Filmfare Award for Best Actor - Telugu.
In the mid-1990s Chiranjeevi had a few box-office failures like Mechanic Alludu
, Big Boss
, and Rikshavodu
, but still managed to earn his fourth Filmfare Award for Best Actor - Telugu for the film Muta Mesthri. Hitler in 1997 got him both critical and commercial acclaim, followed by commercial successes like Master, Bavagaru Bagunnara? and Choodalani Vundi
The actor started the new decade with Muthyala Subbaiah
co-starring Ravi Teja
, and Sarath Babu
. He followed this up with B. Gopal`s Indra
(2002), which broke all his previous box office records of Tollywood and won him his third Nandi Award for Best Actor and sixth Filmfare Award for Best Actor - Telugu. He then appeared in films that conveyed a social message or were based on a social cause like Tagore
(2003), and Shankar Dada MBBS (2004). The latter won him his seventh Filmfare Award for Best Actor - Telugu.
Following the huge success of Shankar Dada MBBS, the actor starred in a dual role alongside Rimi Sen
, Pradeep Rawat
and Prakash Raj
in the Srinu Vytla directed comedy-drama film Andarivaadu
, which released in June 2005. Over the next few years, the actor appeared in films like Style (2006), Shankar Dada Zindabad
(2007) and Magadheera
(2009) where he did a cameo. Post-2009, the actor took a sabbatical before eventually making his comeback in 2015 with Bruce Lee - The Fighter where he appeared in a guest role. His 2017 release includes Khaidi No. 150
directed by V.V. Vinayak
. The film, which marks his 150th appearance on the big screen also features Shriya Saran
and Kajal Aggarwal
in the lead roles. His 2019 release includes Syeraa Narasimha Reddy.