NEW DELHI, India - After spending nearly two years in political hibernation, Actor-turned politician Chiranjeevi with 148 films under his belt returns with a bang in the megastar's biggest role yet as a Tourism minister.
57-year-old Chiranjeevi, who has his task cut out to sell 'Incredible India' after entertaining millions of fans, also carries the hopes of Congress which strongly believes that the Telugu superstar is a force to reckon with in the crucial state of Andhra Pradesh.
He was inducted as Minister of State with Independent charge of Tourism in the reshuffle of the Union Council of Ministers today.
The actor, who entertained millions of young men, women, children and old alike through his inimitable style whose mantra only he knows, left his lucrative career to test his fortunes in politics at the age of 53 in 2008.
His journey in politics was not a bed of roses but was filled with thorns which the actor, who had not tasted failure at the box office for years together, could not swallow it like he relished success.
In less than a year after launching his party, his outfit contested state elections only to win less than 20 seats with Chiranjeevi himself losing one assembly seat of the two he contested.
Widely perceived as the only person who could recreate the magic of NTR, the legendary actor whose star power catapulted him to the Chief Minister's post in just nine months after his plunge in politics, Chiranjeevi was not bestowed with a magic wand.
With his prediction going haywire, Chiranjeevi stood isolated in politics with no friends to guide him and was forced to walk on the fire that eventually took a cinematic turn -- his infant party was dissolved abruptly and merged with Congress, which was the prime enemy when he took a plunge in politics.
From February 2011 to October 2012, Chiranjeevi was almost in oblivion except when he ventured out for a couple of rare meetings with Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Now, after 19 months, the hero is back with a vengeance.