20 years of Arya: It was the film that turned Allu Arjun’s life around

Made with a budget of ₹4 crore, 'Arya' grossed over ₹30 crore worldwide and helped Arjun get a fanbase in Kerala.

BySouth First Desk

Published May 08, 2024 | 2:55 PMUpdatedMay 08, 2024 | 3:29 PM

Team Arya at 20 Years for Arya celebrations

Upon its release in 2004, Arya was referred to as the film that changed the dynamics of Telugu cinema. Allu Arjun was still naive; his career seemed fledgling compared to already accomplished big stars like Prabhas, Jr NTR, and Tharun.

Though Allu Arjun scored a hit with his debut Gangotri (directed by Raghavendra Rao) in 2003, Arya changed his fortune forever.

In his words, “It (Arya) is the single biggest moment that changed my life forever,” the actor declared at the “20 Years for Arya” celebrations held in Hyderabad on Tuesday night, 7 May.

Arjun said it was his failure in Gangotri that led to him being jobless for a year. “I was watching films in theatres. I read a couple of scripts but nothing impressed me. It was the time when Nithiin’s Dil (2005) was released and watched it twice already.”

Allu Arjun at 20 Years for Arya event

Allu Arjun addressing the ’20 Years for Arya’ event. (X)

Arjun’s actor-friend Tharun invited him to Dil‘s special premiere show — Raju’s maiden production venture — at Prasads Labs, where the former met with Sukumar for the first time.

When Sukumar narrated the story to the actor, the latter felt, “It was mind-blowing. I watched Idiot (2002) in a theatre and wanted to do such films. After Sukumar’s narration, I felt this (Arya) is my Idiot.”

Everything fell into place after this, and Dil Raju bankrolled the project, which became the first blockbuster hit in the actor’s career.

At the event, Allu Arjun thanked director VV Vinayak for encouraging him to give a green signal to Arya.

Interestingly, Sukumar was assisting Vinyak until then and debuted as a filmmaker with Arya.

The team had a trial shoot for a week. “Sukumar was phenomenally good. And there was no looking back,” Allu Arjun said, in awe.

The Stylish Star also recollected how Devi Sri Prasad’s compositions, especially the “Feel My Love” song sung by KK, did wonders for the film and his career.

Also Read: After ‘Pushpa 2’, Allu Arjun has 3 options ready

‘A turning point for Tollywood, too’

20 Years for Arya poster

’20 Years for Arya’ poster. (X)

Arya showcased the Telugu actor in a new avatar and his dancing skills mesmerised the audience. Devi Sri Prasad’s songs and Arjun’s dance moves became a crazy hit. And, he “owes it all to the team.”

The movie changed the fate of the Telugu film industry. “It was a turning point for the industry,” quipped Arjun.

Made with a budget of around ₹4 crore, Arya grossed over ₹30 crore worldwide and ran in theatres for over 125 days.

The film also helped the Icon Star earn a huge fanbase in Kerala. The Malayalam dubbed version collected ₹30-35 lakh in the state.

Allu Arjun thanked Sukumar for trusting in him and changing his life forever through the film. He also thanked Dil Raju for keeping everything at stake for a fresher like him.

He heaped praises on Devi Sri Prasad for giving a blockbuster album.

The actor lauded Ratnavelu’s “brilliant photography skills.”

Further, Allu Arjun extended his special thanks to Abhinayasri for her splendid dancing skills in the item song “Aa Ante Amalapuram“, a crazy mass beat.

He also thanked his co-stars Anuradha Mehta, Siva Balaji, Subbaraju, Sunil, and Venu Madhav.

Arjun revealed that he has not been in touch with Anuradha Mehta since Arya.

Also Read: Stylish Star Allu Arjun gains 25 million Insta followers!

I don’t like item numbers, reveals Sukumar

Dil Raju and Sukumar at Arya celebrations

Dil Raju and Sukumar at ’20 Years for Arya’ celebrations. (X)

Filmmaker Sukumar, who was also present at the “20 Years for Arya” celebrations, disclosed that he penned the story together with his friend Rama. He impressed Dil Raju with a montage and they decided to collaborate.

He revealed that he never likes item numbers but Dil Raju insisted on keeping one in Arya. “But I never realised that ‘Aa Ante Amalapuram‘ would create a sensation in the industry.”

The director also thanked his writing and direction team, actors, and crew for giving him his first blockbuster film.

Producer Dil Raju felt proud that he introduced Sukumar as a writer-director through his film Arya.

He also shared some fun moments and memories from the sets of Arya.

Being a childhood friend, music composer Devi Sri Prasad revealed that he knew Bunny (Allu Arjun) was a great dancer. “So, I wanted to score different compositions for the film.”

He defined Sukumar as a “genius screenplay writer-director”.

The film’s plot revolves around Arya, a free-spirited youth, who falls in love with an introverted girl named Geetha (Anuradha Mehta). Ajay (Siva Balaji), the son of an MLA, forces her to love him by threatening to kill himself. What happens next is what Arya is all about.

After Arya, Allu Arjun and Sukumar delivered hits like Arya 2 (2009) and Pushpa: The Rise (2021). They are now busy shooting for Puspha 2: The Rule.

Also Read: Kattappa taking on Baahubali was a novel thought: SS Rajamouli