The first look and motion poster of Telugu actor Chiranjeevi ‘s 152nd film, Acharya, were released on Saturday, August 22. Directed by Koratala Siva, the film is being jointly produced by Chiranjeevi’s wife and son – Surekha Konidela and Ram Charan – under the Konidela Production Company banner and by Niranjan Reddy under his Matinee Entertainment banner.
Since the release of the first look, the filmmakers have faced two separate accusations of plagiarism, by writers Kanneganti Anil Krishna and Rajesh Manduri.
In his accusation against the team of Acharya, Anil Krishna Kanneganti has claimed that the opening scene featured in the motion poster resembles an episode called Dharmasthali from his story Punyabhoomi that he registered with the Telugu Cine Writers Association in 2006. Incidentally, Acharya‘s motion poster was set in the backdrop of the Dharmasthali village. The producers have not responded to Kanneganti’s allegations yet.
Close on the heels of Anil Krishna’s allegation, another writer, Rajesh Manduri has alleged that the Acharya premise was plagiarized from a script titled Annayya that he narrated to another production house – Mythri Movie Makers – in 2018. Mythri Movie Makers had reportedly suggested to Manduri that the script be directed by Koratala Siva. Manduri – who wanted to direct it himself – declined the offer and took his script to another producer, keeping actor Nandamuri Balakrishna in mind for the lead role.
When the motion poster of Acharya released, the writer approached Paruchuri Gopalakrishna, President of Telugu Cine Writers Association, to seek his intervention. After several attempts to get the association to help went in vain, he decided to talk to the media to demand that he be given credit for the story.
Rajesh Manduri’s story reportedly is a revenge drama sent in the nineties featuring a son whose father who is killed It is set in the backdrop of endowment lands occupied by influential people for generations together. Unofficial reports suggest that Acharya is based on endowment scams.
Matinee Entertainment and Mythri Movie Makers have both released statements that dismissed the allegations and condemned the “defamation” of Koratala Siva.
Matinee Entertainment added that allegations of plagiarism based on a motion poster and “industry grapevine” is ridiculous. It also stated that the story of Acharya is original.
— Matinee Entertainment (@MatineeEnt) August 27, 2020
In a sharply worded statement, Mythri Movie Makers said that if the “story was as good as (Manduri) claims, we would have produced it ourselves.” The statement added. “The fact is that the story narrated to us was very weak and had no substance in content and hence rejected by us”. And
“when the story itself is bad, then why in this world we go and tell Koratala Shiva Garu that he should adopt the same,” said the statement.
Pls Note. pic.twitter.com/SEXVwe5xLt
— Mythri Movie Makers (@MythriOfficial) August 27, 2020
The film is likely resume filming in September, and the production team is said to be considering erecting a special set for the safety of the cast and crew.
Watch the motion poster of Acharya here.