It’s a comeback his fans have longed for. A decade after he left films for politics, Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi is set for a return to the screens with Khaidi No. 150. The film, the remake of Tamil blockbuster Kaththi, is special also because it happens to be the 61-year-old actor’s 150th film. Shows across theatres, including in Gulf countries, have been sold out. Fans in Omaha, USA, reportedly, took out a car rally to celebrate the Makar Sankranthi release.
WATCH VIDEO| Chiranjeevi’s Comeback Film Khaidi No 150: Why To Watch The Film
Khaidi No. 150 builds on the screen persona Chiranjeevi has cultivated over years. His mass appeal owes to roles where he has played the rebellious, upright, underdog. His action and dance skills, of course, had their charm, but it is primarily the image of the subaltern hero, who refuses to bow to the rich and the powerful, that endeared him to the masses. These roles, enacted with punchy dialogues and brilliantly choreographed action scenes, echoed the underbelly of Andhra Pradesh’s economic growth story. Khaidi No. 150 is about corporate greed for land and its impact on farmers. No prizes for guessing who Chiranjeevi’s character stands speaks for. This screen persona had influenced Chiranjeevi’s political entry. The Praja Rajyam Party he launched before the 2009 elections promised to change the grammar of politics in Andhra Pradesh. He drew large crowds, but the PRP won just 18 of the 294 seats in the Andhra Pradesh assembly. Those who expected Chiranjeevi to do an encore of NTR, who used his screen image to win office in the 1980s, were disappointed. Andhra politics had changed and Chiranjeevi was no match for crafty politicians like YSR and Chandrababu Naidu. In two years, he merged the PRP with the Congress, which made him a minister at the Centre. His political career had faded away even before it began.
So will Khaidi No. 150 relaunch Chiranjeevi in Andhra politics? Insiders says, he has had enough of politics. It could well be that the star recognises that there is a world of difference between the reel and the real. He seems to prefer the reel world for now.