New Delhi: A fan who committed suicide citing actor Chiranjeevi's indecision about entering politics, may have helped the "distraught" Telugu film star make up his mind, according to a leaked embassy cable made public by WikiLeaks.
The March 5, 2008 cable that was published August 8, 2011 said Chiranjeevi was toying with the idea of floating his own political party at that time.
"With an enormous and dedicated fan base the action hero will immediately be a force to be reckoned with. In a recent meeting with Consulate officers, Chiranjeevi strongly hinted that he would run for public office while refusing to definitively say he would do so," the Chennai consulate cable said.
Chiranjeevi was planning to follow in the footsteps of another Telugu film star - NT Rama Rao - who in 1983 handed the Congress party its first defeat in the state less than a year after entering politics himself.
Chiranjeevi, whose actual name is Konidella Sivasankara Varaprasad, has been a superstar in the Telugu film industry since the early 1980s. One of India's highest paid actors, he has more than 140 films to his credit. He has crossed over to Bollywood films and was awarded the 'Padma Bhushan,' India's third highest civilian honor.
The cable said despite rumors that Chiranjeevi planned to enter politics periodically surfaced for years, their intensity picked up in 2007 and people close to the actor told the media that he was considering whether to take the plunge.
According to the cable, the actor appeared distraught and explained that one of his fans had committed suicide. The fan left a note saying he killed himself because he could no longer stand waiting for his hero to decide
whether to enter politics.
Chiranjeevi said "many people are counting on me." He added that he will decide "very soon."
When asked whether there is sufficient time between now and the 2009 state elections for him to create a political party that would be competitive with the ruling Congress and the opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Chiranjeevi tellingly referred to NTR -- the affectionate nickname of NT Rama Rao the Telugu film star turned politician who founded the TDP in 1982.
Chiranjeevi pointed out that NTR was able to become the first non-Congress Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh less than a year after announcing his decision to form the TDP.
But the cable said political analysts have their doubts about the comparisons between Chiranjeevi and NTR. They say that although Chiranjeevi is extremely popular, he does not have NTR's stature. NTR, they note, played the role of numerous Hindu gods in his films where Chiranjeevi is simply an action star.
The Chiranjeevi-led Praja Rajyam Party recently merged with the Congress in Andhra Pradesh.