A compilation of valuable advice from the renowned actor Chiranjeevi, who shared the lessons he learnt while on his 45-year journey as an actorOn many occasions and in multiple interviews, actor Chiranjeevi shared about the valuable life experiences he gained during his journey as an actor who went from playing character roles to becoming people’s beloved ‘Megastar’ in the Telugu states. We tried compiling those precious pieces of advice, which might be helpful for every aspirant who’s looking to make it big in the field of cinema, or in any other field of work for that matter. Read the following as if you’re hearing it from the Megastar directly.“I’ve been in the industry for more than 40 years, worked with some of the greatest co-stars, filmmakers, technicians and crew members, travelled across states and countries, and have earned millions of fans who made me a ‘Megastar’. From whatever little I’ve learnt, whatever little I know, and whatever helped me to reach where I am, I’d like to share something valuable.” Aiming High & Being Humble“If you want to achieve something that you’ve never achieved, then you have to do something that you’ve never done before” — I’ve followed this philosophy ever since the first day of my first shoot. Being punctual, doing my homework for every character, finishing the project within the stipulated schedules, following the work ethics, having some moral values and principles, not making silly complaints once a commitment is made, learning from mistakes, being sensible and sensitive… All these are essential to accomplish something big while preserving our humane selves.Effort Over EgoI’ve noticed that the circumstances have changed a lot in this industry since the time I left and returned after 10 years. Comfort and luxury have taken precedence over necessities for the artists. The life of an assistant director on sets has now been reduced to mere sweet-calling the artists to come out and return to the comfort of their caravans, rather than learning something about what they’ve signed up to do — to learn direction. I’ve been utilising a caravan only to put on my make-up, change the costumes and use the washroom. I always made sure to be on sets, no matter if I have a shot or not. If the artists display a laid-back attitude, it involuntarily filters into other departments working on the film. Having dedicated and responsible artists on the sets, speeds up the work and contributes to efficiency. Being on the sets is a small gesture, but it makes all the difference.Assume ResponsibilityWhen you choose a profession and want to justify your job, all you need to do is to believe in the sincere and persistent effort that you put into your work, and the individual responsibility that you need to assume. Only then one can be where one wants to be. If we make the people who readily take credit for successes and demand a share in profits, to also bear the burden of losses and failures equally, then probably they will become more responsible. For instance, I still take my remuneration only after fulfilling my commitment to the film, and there were times when I returned my remuneration when my films failed to do well at the box office. It saves a lot of money for the producers, keeps the budgets under control and contributes positively to the work environment.Dispassion Towards FailureIn a long career of more than four decades, I’ve seen it all… highs and lows, good and bad, positive and negative, success and failure, praise and criticism. But I’ve come to realise that all of these things affect you only when you own them, but when you disown them, they’ll just be like passing clouds. When your inner self and peace is intact, no external force can have the power over you or your life. All you have to do is to focus on the things you need to do in the present, give your 100%, accomplish them to the best of your abilities and detach yourself from the results. Remember to disown the failure, not the responsibility of it.Content & Connect Prerequisites for the success of any film is its content and its connection with the audience. Films devoid of any heart-tugging emotion will neither attract the audiences’ attention nor be successful. All my superhit films were stories that touched my heart and provoked my thoughts. They resonated with the audiences, hence they were superhits. Having said that, the soul or core of the film alone is not enough, it should be translated onto the screen effectively and that needs work. And overtime, I learned to never take my successes or failures seriously.Go The Extra MileI don’t want to say anything about my special talent, but one thing I’d say about myself is that I’m passionately curious. I’d like to revisit the day before I shot the overwhelming confrontation scene with the Shiva Lingam in Aapadbandhavudu (1992). 24 hours before the shoot, I felt edgy about the solo act and became so restless about my performance that I had to deliver the next day that I went and knocked on the director’s door. Seeing me at his door at an unusual time, wanting to know and prepare for the scene the next day, director K Vishwanath was overjoyed at my curiosity and eagerness to perform the act well. He said that this hunger will lead me to have a long life in the industry, and I believe that if I’m called a Megastar or if I’m still here, it’s because of that zeal to be good at my job.Insatiable HungerShouldn’t a Megastar need to relax? Absolutely and unapologetically, No! The day the need to do more no longer exists, better retire and go home. I reiterate this to each and every one of you. No matter the circumstances, situations or conditions, if you’re committed to accomplish and justify a task, you shouldn’t express or exhibit your displeasure once the promise is made. You should live up to your word and do it anyway, only then you’re eligible to be in this field. Will anyone show any mercy to an upcoming cast or crew member? Won’t they say that it’s a test of perseverance to reach to the top? That hunger for work, that itch to etch your name in history, should be there irrespective of whether you’re 1 or 100-films-old. The day that hunger dies, you better leave the industry. That’s an essential attribute of a true professional.Work-Life BalanceIt solely depends on the effective use of your time. Be it the President of the USA, a farmer working on fields or an aimless person, all have the same 24 hours of time in a day. But how you use that time decides the course of your life. It’s you who have to adopt practices or techniques that let you manage your time effectively. When that’s done, all else is an easy ride.Handling NegativityHave you heard of the Deaf Frog story? Once an army of frogs were trying to climb up a tall, metal post. Looking at the frogs’ attempts, some folks around mocked and commented “It’s impossible for frogs to climb the post.” Some frogs heard those comments and discontinued their efforts, some reached midway but fell down as they heeded to the people who said that they wouldn't make it. But there was one frog which successfully climbed up and stood on top of the post. The same folks who mocked, praised the frog for achieving the feat and asked how he did it? They realised it was a deaf frog. Just like the frog, we need to remain deaf to the negativity that always tries to pull us down. During my days at the film institute and in the initial days of my career, I used to avoid visiting a place called Pondy Bazaar which used to be filled with people with vested interests, the ones who couldn’t utilise the opportunities or the ones who never got opportunities. I didn’t allow myself to be in a negative atmosphere that would’ve affected my confidence and self-belief. No guru had taught me to do this, I didn’t read it in any books. It was pure common sense. All I would say to the youngsters is to believe in themselves, put in their best efforts and not have any negative thoughts, no doubt they’ll be the next superstars or megastars.Give Back & Pay It ForwardOnce you reach great heights, don’t forget your roots. Don’t forget the mother (film industry) that fed you and make it your responsibility to return the kindness. Remember that “a hungry stomach, empty pockets & a broken heart teach the best life lessons.” Even today, if there’s a shoot at 7 am at RFC, I wake up at 4:30 am, start from home at 5:30, reach the spot at 6:30, and be ready with all the make-up by sharp 7. But from what I’ve heard, this is not the case with everyone these days. I wondered what’s happening to the industry when I listened to some of the woes of the directors and producers. Imagine the skyrocketing costs of production due to lack of discipline and punctuality. If we can be diligent and cooperate in finishing a film (even of high-budget) within 100 working days, no producer will probably suffer losses. This can result in other language film industries looking up to Telugu cinema and drawing inspiration from our work & culture. This industry has time and again honoured the ones who strived really hard and were honest in doing what they did. I usually don’t like to give any suggestions as I feel everyone is smart and would want to follow their hearts. And I’m not even that legendary figure to give out any advice. But if I have to tell you anything, it’ll be this. Hope it helps!