Iconic Evergreen Megastar

Konidela Siva Shankara Vara Prasad, aka ‘Chiranjeevi' ‘Chiru ‘ ‘Megastar ‘ ‘Boss ‘ the list goes on and on.

Lord Hanuman’s incarnation is what I see in him. Strong, Stable, reel-life and real-life energy that will ‘live forever’ immortal !

Mamaya’s candid & inspiring conversation makes him relatable & in sync with the times. Love for films, the importance of mental and physical wellness, his diet & unconditional love for his family (which includes his fans) are his driveforce.

Which film gave you a bigger high - Khaidi 1983 or Khaidi 150?

Khaidi 1983 is one of my most favourite films. Before Khaidi, I had only acted in around 15 films.
Khaidi 1983 gave me a taste of super stardom and a foothold in the Tollywood Film Industry. It gave me the opportunity to showcase all my talents such as dancing, action - fighting & intense emotion which proved successful.
Khaidi 150 was my comeback film after a decade as I was heavily involved in politics before that. The film world changed drastically during this time gap. Honestly, I was sceptical of how the audience would receive my comeback.
To my surprise, Khaidi 150 broke all non Baahubali, and then Ram Charan surpassed it with Rangasthalam.
I can wholeheartedly say that this film displayed that the audience’s love and affection are still intact towards me.
Both the films are my favourite and play a very important role in my life during different time frames.

What changes did you make in your fitness & well-being routine from then to now ?

I strongly believe fitness comes in two forms; mental fitness and physical fitness. Physical fitness and nutrition is a must to stay fit and look good. simultaneously mental fitness is equally important to feel agile.

Sridevi had come to one of my audio launches as a guest & said” I’ve known Chiranjeevi for so long and till date he looks the same - as handsome as ever. She asked me what my secret was?”

I simply said I don’t let tension get to me. I keep my mind as tranquil as possible. my inner peace is my strength and this keeps my physical appearance cool and calm. I do my job and accept whatever the repercussion. good or bad, I leave it to the destiny of god. What’s the point of worrying about something that’s not in your hands? This is my philosophy.
In my free time, I enjoy playing with my grandchildren. To me, playing with children is the greatest stressbuster ever! So, this physical and mental fitness keeps me agile, active and happy. I yearn for it.
Understanding, accepting and enjoying every moment is my mental & physical fitness routine apart from my cardio & weights that I do 5 days a week.

In Sye Raa, you’ve done so much, you’ve galloped on a horse, jumped from the top of a fort, finished a hectic sword fight sequence and many more. You managed everything seamlessly without any injury, aches or pains. How do you do it?

Even though I go through a lot of physical exertion during the shoots, I don’t let the strain come in the way of my passion. When I’m doing an action sequence, I don’t think of my age and doubt myself. I am confident that I can do just about anything; be it sword fighting, jumping on the horse etc. When you watch the movie, you can realise that we didn’t use any dupe shots and I’ve done most shots myself. It’s all in the mindset and how you project yourself. If your mind is strong then nothing can kill your confidence.

Who would you call as your fitness icon and who do you look up to?

I draw inspiration from everyone and any fit person I see. I think its a wonderful feeling to feel fit. In Hollywood, I can say Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. In Bollywood, I still feel Amitabh Bachan is in his prime even today. The energy he resonates is unmatchable. In our state, I would say T. Subbarami Reddy, he’s 76 and still looks great . the famous actor Murali Mohan is also very fit and healthy. I like to observe and adopt whatever I can from them in terms of physical and mental fitness.

What is your favourite food and what is your daily diet like?

To be honest, I don’t follow any diet. I eat whatever I have been eating since my childhood. But now because of age and necessity, I’ve limited my portions. Portion Control is Key . I ensure that I maintain a balanced diet. If I indulge I know how to balance it. With age our muscle mass decreases therefore, I ensure to include protein in my diet. Charan has also suggested protein powders to increase my muscle mass as well. I eat a lot of salads and soups these days.
Some of my favourite foods include fish, dried fish and prawns. My craving towards non-vegetarian food has gone down. I relish vegetarian food, as it is light on my stomach.

Please share the evolution of “Chiru dosa” and “Chiru coffee”? These stories are such an important part of our everyday living.?

The credit goes to Surekha for the coffee. She hails from Chennai & Chennai is known for its delicious filter coffee. Surekha’s day always starts with a good cup of filter coffee. Initially, I didn’t like coffee but now because of her, I’m crazy about Surekha’s coffee. She gets the roasted coffee beans from Nilgiris. Even after shifting to Hyderabad, she still prefers the same coffee powder, and this is why everyone loves the coffee in our house.
The dosa, I can proudly say it's my invention. I was in a small hotel in Chikkmangaluru. I liked this one type of dosa in particular and never tasted anything like it. out of curiosity, I asked the staff for the owner and requested for the recipe, but they refused to share their family recipe. I went back home and brainstormed with Surekha on how we could crack the recipe for the same dosa. With trial and error and reverse engineering, we tried but we didn’t get it. Instead other delicious dosas emerged, better than the Chikkamagaluru dosa. We make it without oil, the dosa is fluffy, soft and very healthy. A lot of cinema stars from Chennai come specially to eat the dosa at home. I’ve had Prabhu Deva, Jayasudha and a lot of stars who love my dosa.
Even the owner of chutneys has eaten dosa at home and asked if they could have the Famous Chiru dosa on their menu. I obliged and am glad to know that Whoever comes to Hyderabad from out of town orders the Chiru dosa relishes it.

What role did your parents play in your life?

I feel very lucky and proud of my parents. Because of my father’s support, I was able to start my career in the film industry. He was a member of Praja Natyamandali and wanted to be an actor but didn’t have a chance. With his friend's support, he did a film in 1969 - Jagath Khiladilu and Jagath Janthrilu. I remember I was only in 8th standard, when he used to share the stories from the film sets. I know with conviction that this was when the seed was sown in me to become an actor.
After I completed college, I told my dad that I wanted to join the film industry, he gave me his blessings, but he also asked: “what if it doesn’t work out as planned?” I told him that I would pursue this career for two years and if I didn't succeed, I would come back to pursuing a mundane job. In the 2 years - I joined a film institute and simultaneously audition for films. I was lucky and got films within a year, there was no turning back from there. my parents encouraged & supported me with my career choice.
My mom conceived and gave birth to me when she was 16. I was a toy for her that then evolved into a great friendship. We have nurtured a relationship that would make any mom & child jealous. We are very good friends that are there for each other rather than a mom and son.

Ram Charan’s unbeatable debutant collection till date, 2 industry hits Magadheera and Rangasthalam, India’s youngest producer to bank roll a 100 cr and a 300 cr film - All this has made his fans happy but has he made YOU happy and lived up to your expectations?

I can say that I'm a very proud father of Ram Charan. If anyone asks what I’ve achieved in my life, I will proudly say that I’ve achieved Ram Charan. He is wonderful and I expect him to take my legacy forward. I think he has the capacity to make my legacy reach new heights.
In my career of 152 films, I have never came across the chance to play a character like he did in Magadheera & Rangasthalam . Now, Thanks to him I have the chance with Sye Raa. He is a risk-taker & businessman with a heart that's the reason we started producing under the Konidela Production banner.

Is it tougher to start from scratch and earn your fame or live up to the expectations of a successful family legacy ?

Sincerely I would say the second one is the toughest, much before you enter a field of your choice. Being an heir of a renowned celebrity or businessman the expectations are much more, it is a very tough task to live up to set expectations by near & dear.
When I started my career, there weren’t any expectations that came along. But for Ram Charan, being a son of a Megastar with the family legacy, it gets very tough to live up to people’s expectations.
I could proudly say he has succeeded in making them happy with his first film “Chirutha” and followed by “Magadheera”. Though he was born with a golden or diamond spoon, he was always down to earth and always wanted to prove himself. I respect his humble attitude and his desire to make his family & fans proud.

Coming back to Sye Raa, what should the young generation look to watch in your film?

Sye Raa is especially important for the youth. We are slowly forgetting the cost we paid to enjoy the freedom of our country. The struggle of how millions lost their lives, needs to be emoted with passion. Freedom is being taken for granted and it’s a great time to be reminded of this on our release date the 2nd of October which also co includes with Mahatma Gandhi's 150 th birth year. .. Sye Raa is a recall which reminds people of the past our ancestors struggles which is being taken for granted these days. It is very important for your generation to re familiarise themselves with all the sacrifices made. Sye Raa will be successful if it rekindles patriotism and makes the younger generation respect their freedom. This will really bridge the gap between the younger and older lot

What are some of the qualities in Athama that women today should learn from ; as a mother, daughter in law and as a mother in law?

I feel lucky to have an understanding wife like Surekha. She’s very selfless. She always thinks of supporting the family and this is how she extends her love and affection to us. When I was busy doing 3 shifts a day and missed out on family time, Surekha took care of everyone including my siblings & parents. Tending to their needs and taking care of all the minute aspects to make them feel loved and comfortable. Even my late father, didn’t call her by her name, but called her “Amma”. He really loved and respected her.
My father and mother love Surekha. When it comes to my siblings Surekha much much more than a sister in law. Everybody in the family longs for her suggestions and her inputs. Even my daughters, Sushmitha and Sreeja turn to Surekha for suggestions and guidance . Sh is the nucleus of the family.
I also ensure I listen to her inputs. She critics my films & lets me know whether a scene in my movie is up to the mark or not. She is a very proud mother, not just a wife of a star and born to a legendary personality Allu Ramalingiah garu and a veteran actor. I would call her My Star.

What made you start Chiranjeevi Blood & Eye Bank and what is the new cause you are going to support?

About 20 years ago, there was an immense scarcity of blood in Hyderabad. Lives were being lost due to lack of availability of blood. This made me wonder how I can contribute to society with the help of my fans. I was very determined in working on this cause, I started motivating my fans to donate blood by setting up blood donation drives and camps across the state. After a year, we opened the Chiranjeevi Blood & Eye Bank.
After a decade, we can proudly say that there is no blood scarcity in Andhra and Telangana. A lot of people are coming forward to donate blood. I’m elated to have initiated this cause, which has saved lakhs of lives in our society.
Along with blood donation, we also have plasma donation, platelet donation, for Leukaemia, Thalassemia and more. I’m happy to say I didn’t take any financial aid from anyone to start this cause. Along with the blood bank, we also initiated cornea transplantation, which has helped people regain their vision. I give my fans the entire credit for this. Without them, this wouldn’t have been possible. My fans have re defined the definition of fans. According to me their gesture of kindness in this social cause has been truly heartwarming.
Even on Ram Charan’s or my birthday our global fans celebrate by setting up blood donation camps in countries such as Dubai, Muscat, Malaysia and other parts of the world. I’m proud of my fans, and they are truly my hidden strength!