As a megastar ruling Telugu cinema, Chiranjeevi has sold incredible dreams to lakhs of fans. Now at 57, the actor-politician has the job of selling Incredible India as India's tourism minister. His official rank is Minister of State with Independent charge. After 149 films, this will be Chiranjeevi's biggest role so far.
His family including actor-son Ram Charan and daughter-in-law and scion of Apollo group, Upasana, was there to cheer as Chiranjeevi took oath in the name of God, in the presence of India's President. He had hoped to do that soon after he merged his Praja Rajyam Party with the Congress in February, in what was seen as a political understanding, a quid pro quo.
Konidala Siva Sankara Varaprasad before he joined films in 1978 as Chiranjeevi, has acted in Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam films but reigned as superhero in Telugu films. He has been honoured with the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian award. After a 30-year highly successful film career, he started the Praja Rajyam Pary in 2008, banking on the Kapu vote and the plank of social justice.
Less than a year later, the PRP emerged as the third-largest party (after the Congress and the Telugu Desam) in the Andhra Pradesh assembly elections, winning 18 seats in the 294-member Andhra Pradesh Assembly. Its founder won the constituency of Tirupati but lost in Pallakollu, another seat that he contested. Earlier this year, he quit his MLA seat and was nominated to the Rajya Sabha after he merged his PRP with the Congress. That was seen as paving the way for his induction into the Union council of ministers.
Chiranjeevi is married to Surekha, whose father was a famous Telugu character actor Alluri Ramalingaiah. They have two daughters; their son Ram Charan Teja is a popular actor who recently married Upasana Kamineni, granddaughter of Apollo Pratap Reddy.