Konidela Siva Sankara Vara Prasad, who attained fame in Indian cinema as Chiranjeevi was born on August 22, 1955. The son of a constable, who was transferred on a regular basis, Chiranjeevi spent his childhood with his grandparents. After graduating with a degree in commerce from Sri YN College, Chiranjeevi moved to Chennai and joined the Madras Film Institute in 1976 to pursue a career in acting.
An elaborate career that has seen over 150 films, Chiranjeevi has ties to some of the biggest names in cinema and will next be seen in the 2019 film Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy as Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy.
On the actor's 64th birthday, here's looking at a few interesting facts about him.
Fans know this megastar as Chiranjeevi but the actor's real name is Konidela Siva Sankara Vara Prasad. But his family was an ardent devotee of Anjaneya or Lord Hanuman, so his mother advised him to change his screen name to 'Chiranjeevi', which means 'live forever', which refers to the belief of Lord Hanuman being immortal.
After completing his graduation from the Sri Y N College, Narsapur, Chiranjeevi joined the Madras Film Institute in 1976.
Considered to be one of the most popular actors in the Telugu film industry, Chiranjeevi entered the film industry in 1978 with the film Pranam Khareedu. He was to originally make his acting debut in the film Punadhirallu in 1978 which got delayed and was released a year later in 1979.
Chiranjeevi's film Gharana Mogudu released in 1992 was the first Tollywood film that crossed the record of Rs 10 crore. In the film directed by K Raghavendra Rao, Chiranjeevi shared the screen space with Nagma. Gharana Mogudu won Filmfare Award for Best Film - Telugu and was later remade in Hindi as Laadla starring Anil Kapoor and Sridevi.
Chiranjeevi is the first South Indian actor to be invited to attend Oscar Awards presentation in 1987.
In 1999, Chiranjeevi was almost going to star in a Hollywood film – The Return of the Thief of Baghdad, but the shooting came to a halt for undisclosed reasons.
Chiranjeevi's first nickname was T Nata Kishore and it was given to him by the former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Tanguturi Anjaiah.
Chiranjeevi was one of the highest paid actors of India in early 90s. In 1992, he was paid a whopping Rs 1.25 crore for Aapad Bandhavudu, surpassing Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan who used to charge Rs 1 crore per film during the same period.
Not just actor, Chiranjeevi is also a politician. He started his own political party Praja Rajyam in Andhra Pradesh and in the 2009 general elections he was elected Member of Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly from Tirupati. He merged his party with the Indian National Congress in 2011. He served as the Minister of State with independent charge for the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India from October 27, 2012 to May 15, 2014. He was also a Rajya Sabha MP for Andhra Pradesh from April 3, 2012 to April 2, 2018.
Chiranjeevi was honoured with the Padma Bhushan in the year 2006. He received Honorary Doctorate by Andhra University in the year 2006 and had also won four Nandi Awards and nine Filmfare Awards South for his films.