Mega family patriarch Chiranjeevi is currently on cloud nine, given the response his just-released Telugu film Khaidi No 150 has received from fans: It has earned more on the first day than Baahubali: The Beginning. It now remains to be seen how the historical film Gautamiputra Satakarni [shortened to GSK or GPSK] will affect its collections.
The remake of Vijay-starrer superhit Kaththi happens to be Chiranjeevi's 150th film, and also his return to the big screen after a gap of 10 years. Now, the movie's phenomenal opening has led to speculations on whether the 61-year-old will return to active politics.
Chiranjeevi was last seen on the big screen in the 2007 film Shankar Dada Zindabad, which was a remake of Rajkumar Hirani's hit film Lage Raho Munna Bhai. The film initially showed promise, but did not end up grossing as much as its producers would have expected. He subsequently plunged into politics and started the Praja Rajyam Party (PRP).
The PRP later merged with the Congress, which would go on to use Chiranjeevi's star power for campaigning in the 2014 General Elections as well as the newly-bifurcate Andhra Pradesh and Telangana — two states that spoke Telugu and were filled with fans of the Megastar and other members of his family in the Tollywood film industry.
The Congress did not manage to do too well in those elections, and although it gave Chiranjeevi a Rajya Sabha membership after that, the actor has kept away from active politics. However, given the success Khaidi No 150 is seeing the world over, it could be a good sign of Chiranjeevi's popularity, and he would do good to cash in on it and resurrect his political career.
Riding the wave to political success
Actors have traditionally done well in politics in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. NT Rama Rao was one such example from Tollywood, while more recent examples include Nandamuri Balakrishna aka Balayya — a member of the Andhra Pradesh Assembly whose Telugu historical action film GPSK will hit the screens on Friday. Interestingly, when Kaththi became a hit in Tamil Nadu, Kollywood superstar Vijay was tipped to join politics, but that did not happen.
Another reason why the success of Khaidi No 150 may help forward Chiranjeevi's political career is because of its subject. As with the original Kaththi, this film too deals with the subject of farmer welfare — an issue that has been the topic of many a political debate, and often the decider, over the years.
It may be noted here that the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) led by N Chandrababu Naidu was defeated in the 2004 Andhra Pradesh Assembly elections despite everything he had done to develop Hyderabad into a technological hub, it was blamed on the fact that he and the TDP had not done enough for the farmers.