What’s it about!
A fictional temple town named Dharmasthali is protected by the villagers of Paadaghattam. They provide ayurvedic medicines to the entire town. Basava (Sonu Sood) is a municipal chairman, but he creates adharma and does unlawful activities in Dharmasthali. A Naxalite leader Acharya (Chiranjeevi) comes to the place and begins to lead a life as a carpenter there. He had promised Siddha (Ram Charan) something. What is that promise, and what is his real mission in Dharmasthali? From which evil forces is the temple town facing the threat of extinction?
Multi-starrer movies have certain pulling power at the ticket windows. The teaming up of NTR and Ram Charan for Rajamouli’s “RRR” made cash registers ring worldwide. ‘Acharya’ is another kind of multi-starrer that brought together megastar Chiranjeevi and his son Ram Charan. The added attraction was the film is directed by Koratala Siva, who has a 100% success rate with the four films he made. Expectations are naturally bound to be high.
The father-son duo has played roles that are poles apart in their ideologies. The idea on paper seemed right. But on screen, ‘Acharya’ has many issues to talk about.
To begin with, the basic plot of ‘Acharya’ has anything but new.
In all of Koratala’s movies, the protagonist is an outsider. Prabhas comes from a foreign land to the village in ‘Mirchi’, Mahesh Babu goes to a village in Uttarandhra from Hyderabad and adopts it later, and NTR comes to ‘Janatha Garage’ from Mumbai. He repeats the same narrative device in ‘Acharya’: a Naxalite leader, played by Chiranjeevi, comes to Dharmasthali from deep forests. Akira Kurosawa’s movies popularized this narrative device. What matters is what the outsider protagonist does after coming to the place. Koratala succeeded in engaging us with four movies with the same technique, but he falters here big time.
The mixing of saffron and red hues (religious dharma and Naxalism ideology) doesn’t gel at all. First and foremost, the setting of the story is far away from the current times. Can you believe that if a director shows an entire town applying moolika rasam (Aryuvedic medicine) to their wounds in this age and time instead of going to a hospital? The lack of contemporariness aside, the first half of the film doesn’t provide any high moment for a general audience or fans. The sequences involving Chiranjeevi playing the routine good guy beating bad guys and setting things right don’t make us involved. Thankfully, Koratala Siva has made a wise decision of chopping off the romantic thread involving Chiranjeevi and Kajal. It would have been out of place in this story.
Thankfully, the film raises interest once the character of Ram Charan appears at the interval bang. The scenes between the father-son duo are worth mentioning. ‘Banjara’ song is another treat for fans to be mentioned. Though there are some interesting moments in the second half, the film in totality doesn’t come into the groove at any point. It is a dull and uninvolving movie. Furthermore, the villains played by Jisshu Sengupta and Sonu Sood are cardboard characters. The climax portion is another letdown.
Megastar Chiranjeevi lets his charisma do the magic. For this legendary actor, this is quite a regular role. Ram Charan gets the calm demeanor of his character right and portrays it well. Pooja Hegde is okay in her limited space. No other actors make any impact.
Among the technicians, Suresh Selvarajan deserves special praise. His production design is the highlight of the film. So is the cinematography. Music is a mixed bag.
Bottom line: When the father-son duo Megastar Chiranjeevi and Ram Charan shared the screen in full-length roles for the first time, they deserved a better script than ‘Acharya’. The film is totally clichéd.
By: Jalapathy Gudelli
Cast: Chiranjeevi, Ram Charan, Sonu Sood, Pooja Hegde, and others
Music: Mani Sharma
Editor: Naveen Nooli
Production design: Suresh Selvarajan
Action: Ram-Lakshman, Vijay
Producers: Niranjan Reddy, Anvesh Reddy
Written and directed by: Koratala Siva
Release Date: April 29, 2022