This Diwali, fans of megastar Chiranjeevi rejoiced as the first look of his comeback film was released. While everyone was raving about his style, there was one person basking in the glory — Sushmita Konidela. The actor’s eldest daughter, who has been his stylist since Jai Chiranjeeva, is making a comeback into cinema with Khaidi No.150.
“I know there has been a gap but I wouldn’t really call this a comeback, because I hadn’t been away from the fashion scene altogether. I worked on my fashion line Dela for a while and have been styling my father for many public appearances. But I did take a break from my fashion line to turn a full-time mom. I should say the last six years of my life have been very beautiful with my daughters,” she says.
One wonders how different it is to work with Chiranjeevi this time, as opposed to before he bid adieu to films. “This is the happiest I have seen my father in a long time. When he took a break from films, as much as he was passionate about politics, he was definitely not in his comfort zone. But now that he is back, I can sense the excitement. His enthusiasm has infected the house,” she reveals, adding, “But there’s one more change now: Back then, I was single, had all the time on my hands and would spend hours together on my ideas. Today, with my kids, I need to prioritise and plan in a completely different way.”
Did Khaidi No. 150 feel like the perfect project to make a comeback with? “Absolutely. I have been working with my father for really long now and it didn’t really seem like an option whether I would work with him or not. In fact, I remember how, at first, I was young and found it difficult to convey my opinions to the directors and I would ask my dad to say it to them. Today, I am glad people look at me as a matured individual and value my opinion,” she shares.
The first look shows Chiranjeevi in quite a stylish avatar and one wonders what the core idea behind it was.
“It is an important film as he is making a comeback but our aim was simple: to ensure that he looked just the way he did before he left. The original essence of Chiru was what we wanted to reflect. We didn’t want to experiment too much but at the same time, we wanted to keep trends in mind and make him look stylish,” she explains.
Is it challenging to work with a family member? “Yes, it is. Especially when it is your father! It is difficult to strike the professional balance which is absolutely necessary. It might get difficult for me to convince my father to try something and at the same time, it is possible that he becomes apprehensive about telling me when he doesn’t like something. Drawing the line is a tough task. But luckily for us, Ram Charan is the one who helps in that area because whenever there’s a difficulty in communication, he comes in as the bridge. We’ve made that a way of working now,” she says.
Things have changed a lot in the family since Sushmita stopped working for films. Now there’s a plethora of actors from the family alone that she could work with. “(Laughs) I know! They were all little kids back then. And I would love to work with all of them. Let us see how things work out,” she says on a parting note as she adds, “I am planning to relaunch my label as well. And luckily for me, my family has been very supportive throughout this time.”