It was 20 years ago on this day that 'Akkada Ammai Ikkada Abbai' released. It released on Oct 11, the birthday of Big B, whose big fan Kalyan Babu had been for many years. When Chiranjeevi's younger brother made his acting debut in a not-so-memorable film directed by late EVV Satyanarayana, they described him as an acting novice with a heavy influence of his Megaster brother in his style and demeanour. Least did any one imagine, much less the die-hard fans of Chiru, who was the reigning superstar at that time, that Kalyan Babu would go on to become Power Star Pawan Kalyan in a span of a few years. 'Gokulamlo Seetha' (1997) made us wonder if he was planning to choose the path of Naveen Vaddes and Srikanths. It later turned out that he was out to take a less-traversed path. Playing a college buddy's role, he delivered an understated act in 'Suswagatham' (1998), much to the thundering applause of the youngsters. The film went on to become a silver jubilee hit. But what was more important was that, the film established Pawan's credentials as an actor of mettle. He followed it up with yet another studied performance in 'Tholi Prema' the same year. A year later, he turned the tables on an industry that had lost the hopes of seeing a macho underdog hero. 'Tammudu' proved that Pawan had it to become a star. But it was not until 'Badri' (2000) happened that it became clear that he could also become a youth icon. The new age action hero with style and panache had arrived.What ensued is history. 'Khushi' (2001) would have redefined the tastes of the urban audience in a big way but for the absence of efficient improvisers unlike in Bollywood, which rendered creative story-telling with a dose of stylised heroism largely unexplored. The film made him a force to reckon with. His career may have drifted later, what with a string of flops marring his market (but not his unmatched standing which is still big). In 2012, 'Gabbar Singh' announced that the biggest star of the generation was Pawan. The stupendous success of 'Attarintiki Daredi' (2013) was another feather in the cap. As someone who doesn't take his super-stardom seriously, Pawan is an example of humility. As he would often say, he sees himself as just another ordinary mortal. A voracious reader, Pawan's persuasions have attracted the attention of legions of fans. As he stands at a crossroads, the actor-turned-party politician stares at the prospect of doing movies back-to-back and the choice of taking the big political plunge. Let's see which way he will go.
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