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Politics makes rivals of actor brothers Chiranjeevi and Pawan Kalyan
K Chiranjeevi and his brother K Pawan Kalyan, ‘Mega Star’ and ‘Power Star’ in the Telugu film industry, are no longer on talking terms,the politics of a divided state having caused a rift between them.
Chiranjeevi, the original superstar who launched the Praja Rajyam Party in 2009 but merged it with the Congress in 2011, is angry with younger brother Kalyan, who is the current rage and who plans to launch a new party.
Pawan Kalyan is believed to be set to launch his Jana Sena Friday, a move that has upset Chiranjeevi, who has sworn his loyalty to the Congress. Chiranjeevi, the union tourism minister, was apparently unaware of his brother’s plans until someone in the Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee told him about Pawan Kalyan’s feelers to some political leaders in the coastal districts.
The feud surfaced in public during the preview of the debut film of K Varun Tej, their nephew. He is the son of K Naga Babu, a veteran actor of more than 50 films, and a brother elder to both actors.
“Chiranjeevi wanted a word with Pawan in the presence of their elder brother, who commands the respect of the family. In fact, Chiranjeevi had arrived from New Delhi that morning for this. Pawan Kalyan arrived at the venue before Chiranjeevi, congratulated his nephew and left. On his arrival, Chiranjeevi asked about Pawan and was disappointed to learn he had already left,’’ a source said.
Pawan is known to be a recluse but is mobbed by fans whenever he makes a public appearance. The rush at his first-day first-shows is frequently likened to a stampede, and his films’ music release functions are sold out weeks in advance, even though he has acted in only 19 films since he became an actor 20 years ago.
It is believed that things started going wrong between the brothers three years ago when Chiranjeevi decided to merge his party with the Congress.
“Pawan opposed Chiranjeevi’s decision. He felt that the platform and the values on which the PRP was launched —anti-corruption and social justice — would be betrayed if it merged with Congress. Moreover, he felt that if the PRP could garner 16 to 18 per cent of the vote and 18 assembly seats even in 2009, despite the powerful presence of Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, it was only a matter of time before PRP could emerge stronger,” the source said.
Since the February 2011 merger, Pawan Kalyan, 42, is said to have rarely spoken to Chiranjeevi.
Pawan Kalyan’s political plans have intrigued various sections, the prominent reactions including one from controversial film director Ram Gopal Varma. “Anyone with intelligence, morals, self-respect, and pride would vote for Pawan Kalyan only. I am sure he will turn out to be a great leader,’’ Varma tweeted, leaving many wondering whether he was being sarcastic or genuinely expressing support to the actor.
Pawan Kalyan’s plans come at a time when Chiranjeevi is struggling to keep his former PRP flock and vote base together. “Chiranjeevi is worried that if his brother launches a party, the Kapu community vote, which constitutes 26 to 29 per cent across coastal Andhra, would split,” sources said.
Besides the Congress, the TDP, former CM N Kiran Kumar Reddy’s Jai Samaikya Andhra Party, and the YSR Congress Party too are worried that Pawan Kalyan may end up splitting votes, upsetting everyone’s calculations.
In fact, N Chandrababu Naidu has appealed to him to join the TDP instead of risking launching a new party as he is expected to Friday.