Chiranjeevi opens fire as ‘Bro’ Pawan Kalyan comes under YSRCP attack over dance spoof

The megastar asked those in government to look after the state's welfare rather than using 'Brahmastra' against a sparrow.

BySNV Sudhir

Published Aug 08, 2023 | 8:32 PMUpdatedAug 08, 2023 | 9:01 PM

Chiranjeevi Konidela

Deviating from his constantly-maintained low political profile, Tollywood megastar Chiranjeevi on Tuesday, 8 August, came out in defence of his brother Pawan Kalyan, the Jana Sena chief.

Kalyan’s latest outing, Bro, rubbed the ruling YSRCP the wrong way with a spoof on Irrigation Minister Ambati Rambabu. Enraged over Bro pulling a fast one, the minister hit back, saying TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu was routing funds collected from NRIs to Jana Sena as remuneration to Kalyan acting in movies.

YSRCP has been projecting Kalyan as a part-time politician. However, Rambabu’s allegation against the Power Star —  as the actor-politician is widely known — triggered a backlash from Jana Sena workers and his fans.

Addressing a small gathering celebrating his Waltair Veerayya‘s 200th day on screens, Chiranjeevi fired at the YSRCP.

“Those in the government should focus on bringing special-category status, laying roads, bringing new projects, providing better employment opportunities, and implementing welfare schemes instead of talking about the remuneration of the actors,” he said.

“It is like using a Brahmastra against a sparrow,” he added.

Related: As Bro fails to hold momentum, political slugfest begins on Twitter

YSRCP hits back at Chiranjeevi

Chiranjeevi’s comment invited criticism from the YSRCP leaders. “Politics is not like movies. If you pinch someone you should be ready to be pinched in return,” former minister Perni Venkata Ramaiah aka Nani said.

“Chiranjeevi is my hero. Has any politician spoken anything about Chiranjeevi, Ram Charan, Jr NTR, Prabhas, or Mahesh Babu? A spoof that was not in the original Tamil movie was introduced in Telugu. He is my favourite hero too. When injustice was meted out to the state during the bifurcation, where was he? In which party was he then,” Nani asked.

The former minister, while holding the cinematography portfolio, had played an important role in bridging the differences between the Telugu film fraternity and the YSRCP government over the capping of movie ticket prices.

Another minister, Kodali Sri Venkateswar Rao, too, found fault with Chiranjeevi. He asked the actor to give such suggestions to the many “dimwits” in the film industry.

Waltair Veerayya review: A routine vendetta saga with all style, no substance

‘Back-channel money flow’

The spoof in Bro had “30 Years” Prithvi’s character Syam Babu dancing like Rambabu. A video of Rambabu dancing during the Sankranthi festivities this year has gone viral on social media.

Calling Bro a scam, Rambabu alleged that Kalyan has been receiving “package money” from Naidu in the form of remuneration from NRI movie producers.

“Naidu is routing money collected from NRIs to Pawan Kalyan as part of the latter’s remuneration package in movies. It’s a big scam and central agencies like ED (Enforcement Directorate) and CBI should probe into it,” he said.

The minister also wondered if Kalyan showed his remuneration in his I-T returns. YSRCP leaders have often ridiculed Kalyan as a “Package star” working to make Naidu the chief minister of the state.

Importance of Chiru

Chiranjeevi, who launched the Praja Rajyam Party in 2008, has been maintaining a low political profile after completing a term in the Rajya Sabha. He has rarely spoken about politics.

In the 2009 general elections, Praja Rajyam won just 18 of the 294 seats in the then united Andhra Pradesh Assembly. Chiranjeevi contested from two seats, Tirupati and Palakollu, winning the former but losing the latter.

Two years later, in 2011, Chiranjeevi merged the Praja Rajyam Party with the Congress at a time when YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSRCP was taking root and the Telangana agitation was gaining strength.

He was nominated to Rajya Sabha in 2012 and served as Union minister of state (independent charge) for tourism till 2014. His Rajya Sabha term ended in 2018.

He has since returned to the movies and acted in several Telugu films, and has been studiously staying away from politics — till Tuesday.

One of the few occasions when he was seen on a political platform in the recent past was when he was invited by the BJP to attend an event with Prime MInister Narendra Modi in Bhimavaram.

The visible bonhomie between Modi and Chiranjeevi added to the excitement of the onlookers. The actor was seated next to the prime minister.

Modi was seen holding Chiranjeevi on his shoulders, cracking jokes and laughing. The megastar, meanwhile, looked humbled and he bowed with folded hands.

Incidentally, though an invite was extended to Jana Sena supremo and Chiranjeevi’s brother Pawan Kalyan, he skipped the Bhimavaram meeting. The Jana Sena is an ally of the BJP in Andhra Pradesh.