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Acharya director Koratala Siva: Chiranjeevi, Ram Charan play men who tread different paths to uphold dharma in a temple town

The filmmaker who enjoys a 100% success record in Telugu cinema talks about his next release, Acharya, that hits theatres on April 29

  • Srivathsan Nadadhur

Last Updated: 11.35 AM, Apr 26, 2022

Acharya director Koratala Siva: Chiranjeevi, Ram Charan play men who tread different paths to uphold dharma in a temple town
Ram Charan, Pooja Hegde, Chiranjeevi and Koratala Siva

Not many would argue with the belief that Acharya may well be the biggest test in the career of Koratala Siva as a director. All his four films to date, with Jr NTR, Mahesh Babu, and Prabhas, have been massive commercial successes, but the film posed a newer challenge for the filmmaker. It's never easy to deal with stars as big as Chiranjeevi and Ram Charan in the same film and to bear the expectations of crores of their fans across the globe. The pandemic delay only complicated matters for Koratala but he seems confident of Acharya, as he spoke about it in a media interaction in Hyderabad.

"Acharya is a completely fictional story born out of my own thoughts. There are no real-life parallels to the characters in the film. Ram Charan's character wasn't merely expanded from his initial cameo appearance - there's a purpose to it. When you watch the film, not even a single sequence will appear out of place. While Ram Charan's character Siddha is based in a town called Dharmasthali, Acharya comes from a naxal backdrop. Both characters take different paths to reach the same goal," he said.

Elaborating on the essence of the titular character, Koratala shared, "We're not equating naxals as saviours of God here, it is just a backdrop for Chiranjeevi's character. The film is about how such a character reacts to injustice in a temple town. The film begins with a folktale of 'ammavaru' sending someone else on her behalf to safeguard the people in Dharmasthali. Acharya doesn't have any connection with communism. In fact, the film deals with the essence beneath all my four films - Mirchi, Janatha Garage, Srimanthudu and Bharath Ane Nenu - i.e. dharma."

Talking about handling both Ram Charan and Chiranjeevi on sets, "When we were casting Ram Charan in the film, we did feel slightly anxious if he would be able to match up to Chiranjeevi garu's attention-grabbing screen presence. It's hard to watch anyone else in the frame when Chiranjeevi is performing. We no longer had that fear after the first few days of shoot, when we realised he was on par with Chiranjeevi in terms of performance. As a director too, I was so enamoured by the father-son duo that I used to check every scene a couple of times - one time for Chiranjeevi and the other time for Charan," he added.

When asked if he's anxious about Acharya being compared with other pan-Indian films made in the industry, the Mirchi director told, "I am not worried about Acharya's comparisons with pan-Indian films because what audiences ultimately want is a good film every Friday. In between their hectic daily schedules, they'll encourage every film that satiates their thirst for entertainment." Discussing the rise of ticket prices in the Telugu states, he stated, "It took us nearly four years amidst the shoot of RRR and the pandemic delays to make Acharya. The increase in the ticket price is directly proportional to the budget. We've increased it only to an extent to match our budgetary needs and I'm sure it won't be a burden on audiences."