The Telugu actor launched his Praja Rajyam (People’s Rule) party this week, the latest in a long line of bigwigs from the acting fraternity in south India to nurse political ambitions.

Actor ChiranjeeviChiranjeevi, 53, is in good company. M.G. Ramachandran, N.T. Rama Rao, J. Jayalalithaa and M. Karunanidhi had all successfully made the leap from silver screen to political stage.

And with assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh looming in 2009, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see Chiranjeevi seated on the chief minister’s chair.

He’s surely got mass appeal. Local television broadcast footage of tens of thousands of supporters hailing the actor at his party’s launch in the temple town of Tirupati.

That sight alone would have caused heartburn to rival politicians, left praying that those numbers won’t actually translate into votes.

South India, with the exception of Kerala, has always been kind to its film stars — catapulting them with ease into the political sphere. Chiranjeevi could also use hordes of hero-worshipping fans to his advantage.