‘Acharya’ is the poorest performing film in both Megastar Chiranjeevi and director Koratala Siva’s careers.

 Actors Chiranjeevi and Ram Charan in Acharya trailerScreengrab/ YouTube
Flix Tollywood Friday, May 06, 2022 - 16:53

The failure of Acharya, the recently released Tollywood actioner starring Megastar Chiranjeevi and his son Ram Charan together in full length roles for the first time, has come as a shock to exhibitors, distributors and others in the Telugu film industry. Written and directed by Koratala Siva, the story is based on a middle-aged Naxalite-turned-social-reformer who launches a fight against the Endowments Department over misappropriation of temple funds.

As per sources, Acharya, which hit the big screens on April 29, has managed to make only about Rs 40 to 50 crore at the box-office. Reportedly made at a budget of Rs 140 crore, the film’s first day collections are believed to be Rs 30 to 35 crore. However, it failed to pick up pace on the second day and collections dropped to Rs 8.5 crore, nosediving further to Rs 5.5 to 6.5 crore on the third day.

The footfall has been declining since the film’s opening. Times of India reports that the overall occupancy has been between 13 and 25%. While the film continues to be screened in theatres in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, it has failed to pick up momentum and is struggling at the box-office. Interestingly, this is the least that a Chiranjeevi starrer has collected at the box-office. The same goes for Koratala Siva, whose ventures like Mirchi (2013), Bharat Ane Nenu (2018), Srimanthudu (2015) and Janatha Garage (2016), among others, have fared well at the box-office.

Acharya stars Pooja Hegde as the female lead while Sonu Sood, Tanikella Bharani and Jisshu Sengupta form the supporting cast. Sangeetha Krish and Regina Cassandra are seen in guest roles. Kajal Aggarwal was initially roped in for the project but her role was later chopped, the director stating that he was not interested in casting an actor of her stature in a role that did not have a clear ending.

Speculations about the director meeting the film’s distributors over the weekend to discuss compensation have been doing the rounds on social media. A source from the Telugu Film Producers’ Council (TFPC) reveals that it is unlikely to happen by the end of this week. “The hero of the film, Ram Charan, is out of town. They are likely to discuss it only after he is back. We also have films like Sarkaru Vaari Paata and F3: Fun and Frustration releasing on May 12 and May 27 respectively. If they also don’t perform well, compensation might be discussed,” he says.

Watch the trailer of Acharya:

He also attributes the film’s failure to the increase in ticket prices. “Multiplexes are charging anywhere between Rs 250 and 410 per ticket, while most theatres are charging Rs 150 and above. The Telugu film industry has been doing well after the pandemic. Films like Krack, Akhanda, Pushpa, Shyam Singha Roy, Bangarraju and DJ Tillu had a good run. With Acharya, we’re seeing how audiences prefer to wait for the movie to release online or watch a pirated version,” the TFPC member remarks.

Balgovind Raju, owner of Hyderabad’s Sudarshan 35MM and Devi 70MM theatres, and also the Joint Secretary of the Telangana Film Chamber and a member of the exhibitors’ group, tells TNM that the film’s dismal performance has added to the woes of both distributors and exhibitors. “I heard that the director has said that he will be giving up his salary from the film. While that’s a good gesture, it will not be enough to recover losses. Since I have only two screens at my theatre, we had 7 am shows for Acharya the first two days. But the seats did not get filled so I had to stop screening the film,” he says.

Balgovind points out that apart from the bumped up ticket prices, the release of many big-budget entertainers influenced Acharya’s performance. “Movies like KGF and RRR benefitted from good word-of-mouth publicity, whereas it acted against Acharya – audiences and critics revealed that the content was not up to the mark,” he says.

He goes on to add, “Acharya released at the end of the month (April 29), when people had already watched movies like KGF and RRR in the theatre. So, they must have decided against spending Rs 200-400 for a film that did not open to positive reviews.”

Fans are expecting actor Chiranjeevi to bounce back with Godfather, the Telugu remake of the Mohanlal starrer Lucifer. Featuring actor Nayanthara as the female lead and Bollywood star Salman Khan in an extended cameo, the film is helmed by Mohan Raja. Meanwhile, Koratala Siva revealed in earlier interviews that his next film with actor Jr NTR is a big-scale project. The first look poster is expected to be out on May 20, Jr NTR’s birthday.

READ: Acharya review: Chiranjeevi, Ram Charan film is a mega mess

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