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Acharya movie review: A helpless Chiranjeevi can't do much to rescue this dead rubber action saga

Ram Charan's presence is the only silver lining in Koratala Siva's weakest script to date

1.5rating
  • Srivathsan Nadadhur

Last Updated: 06.56 AM, Apr 29, 2022

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Acharya movie review: A helpless Chiranjeevi can't do much to rescue this dead rubber action saga
Chiranjeeevi in Acharya

Story:

In the pristine temple town Dharmasthali lies a picturesque piece of land, Padaghattam, locked amid a lush green forest and a holy water body. Padaghattam is known for its Durga temple where the residents survive on the donations from devotees. However, an ill-intentioned Basava takes control of the region and wrecks havoc on the lives of its residents. The helpless locals look for a ray of hope and find a saviour in the form of Acharya, a new entrant to the town. How does Acharya put the sinners in their place and guard the town? Is there a deeper purpose behind his presence in Padaghattam?

Review:

Acharya's serene temple town backdrop, a sight for sore eyes, is introduced with a lot of mythical parallels. The residents believe Goddess Durga had descended to this place to rescue them from miscreants many centuries ago. The Durga temple, constructed in reverence of her saviour-act, is between a dense forest and a lake. Many years later, when the town starts to lose its sheen owing to an over-ambitious goon, the residents are in quest for another saviour to restore the region's lost glory. The foundation for Chiranjeevi's entry as Acharya in the film (and the town) is grand and ambitious. Sadly, there's no meat to the film to substantiate its backdrop and ambitious premise later.

Beyond the temple town backdrop, writer-director Koratala Siva doesn't make an effort to create intriguing characters - Acharya, Siddha, his love interest Neelambari and Basava are cardboard characters and there's nothing to them beyond the obvious. Even though stories in star vehicles are just an excuse for the lead actor to flex his muscles and signal the victory of good over evil, Acharya's story is way too basic and trivial to enthuse a mass film junkie. Sequence after sequence, you are shown glimpses of the destruction caused by the wrongdoer in various forms and how Acharya guards the town's residents at every step. 

The plot fails to progress. You are tempted to tell Koratala, 'we get that the protagonist is heroic! now, let's move on, please!' Acharya, as a result, never takes off and the purpose of the story is lost while endlessly trying to glorify the lead character. While the first hour revolves around Acharya's series of bravura acts, the latter part digs into his backstory and the purpose behind his presence at Dharmasthali. There's no strong antagonist to challenge Acharya - both the baddies Rathode and Basava, mindlessly shouting at the top of their voice, are always on the cusp of falling into the former's trap. 

Koratala Siva, an expert in finding a delicate balance between meeting the needs of his script and catering to the demands of a star vehicle, fails miserably this time. The presence of Ram Charan as Siddha brings some vigour to the storytelling, though this phase doesn't last long. Time and again, the makers find various excuses to stretch a wafer-thin script beyond its elastic and the screenplay goes for a toss. The story uses tried and tested tropes to forge the bond between Acharya and Siddha and none of it makes for interesting viewing. After the never-ending flashback portions, the climax turns out to be an unexciting, mere formality.

The problem with this masala potboiler is the absence of solid masala - nothing surprises you or keeps you invested in the story. The storytelling is too old-fashioned, and dull and Acharya is devoid of enough highs to be a satisfying commercial fare. Even if you're looking for some distraction beyond this royal mess, there's not much hope. Mani Sharma's tiresome background score and his uninspiring album are a huge disappointment, even though Bhale Bhale Banjara gives you some reason to cheer towards the end. If there's something that stays with you even after viewing, it's Suresh Selvarajan's spectacular production design and Thiru's cinematographic expertise despite his locational limitations.

Chiranjeevi's 'as cool as a cucumber' swag and stylish body language deserved a much better film and Ram Charan is earnest in a part that could've been shorter by at least half an hour. Pooja Hegde yet again gets a character sans any identity or meaning after Beast and Radhe Shyam - it's high time she takes her stardom seriously and chooses her roles wisely. Sonu Sood, Jisshu Sengupta remain mere caricatures in their unimaginative villainous characters. Satyadev fits the bill of a naxal leader in his cameo while Tanikella Bharani, Ajay, Aadukalam Suresh and Vennela Kishore are wasted in inconsequential roles.

Verdict:

Acharya will serve as a good reminder for Koratala Siva to stay true to his strengths as a writer and not go too far in pleasing the egos of his stars. No mincing words here, Acharya is a misfire, by all means. Not even the most loyal fans of Chiranjeevi and Ram Charan would be able to defend this below-average commercial potboiler.

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