Chiranjeevi, Bholaa Shankar And The Dire State Of The Telugu Star Vehicle

Sagar Tetali

There’s a Moment in Bholaa Shankar

Chiranjeevi’s latest film, when Chiranjeevi smashes a wall with his elbow, angered by a prank played by Tamannaah. It seems to come out of nowhere; the dramatic context is too tepid for this


In Gang Leader(1991)

This moment occurs when Chiranjeevi is being blackmailed by the Superintendent of Police into approving a marriage alliance. The two men have this conversation while walking a narrow path throttled by two brick walls.

The Problem is They Don’t Even Seem To Be Trying

It’s safe to say there’s nothing in Bholaa Shankar to match the craft that went into constructing this masala moment. There is in fact, nothing in any of Chiranjeevi’s films since his “comeback” in Khaidi No: 150 to match this.

Mass Audience Can Also Get Bored

This isn’t to say that Chiranjeevi’s films from the 80s and 90s age entirely well, or that he should be making the kind of films he was making then in 2023. Many of these films have stretches of awful misogyny and poorly-aging comedy. 

Equally Self-Effacing And Malleable

Talk to anyone who grew up in the Telugu states in the 80s and 90s and Chiranjeevi was synonymous with an aspirational “herodom”. For a boy growing up in this era, he represented an irresistible masculinity that could sometimes be toxic.