Anyone who watched the film Daddy starring Mega Star Chiranjeevi might have noticed the youngster who is part of the dance school of the protagonist. The youngster might not have much of a role to play in the film but plays a crucial part in propelling the drama in it. At that time, it was heard that his name is Allu Arjun the son of Allu Aravind. Okay! The guy can dance well.
Darsaka Ratna K. Raghavendra Rao is making his hundredth film with new actors. Someone who’s the son of a noted producer is playing the lead role in it and Arthi Agarwal’s sister is the lead actress. The film was Gangotri and Allu Arjun might have scored his first hit but didn’t register himself much with the audience.
Arrives The Stylish Star
But it’s just the ocean is retracting back before Tsunami. Who would have thought that a year later the same youngster who has no style and hero personality is going to capture the imagination of the Telugu audience, that too winning the box office game with the Prince of Telugu Cinema, in 2004 Summer.
Yes! Arya and the birth of Stylish Star. Man! How cool that youngster was. Came across initially as an over acting would-be Pawan Kalyan. But the one scene... that one scene where he terrorises Ajay’s goons not by bashing them but showing how powerful he is... remember it?
Arya not just proved Allu Arjun is a competent actor but also a superb dancer. He has good comic timing and can display emotions well enough to gain audience sympathy. It is the nonchalant ease with which he played a highly complicated role of an unconventional one-side lover that gave indication of things to come out. Arya was a landmark film in Telugu Cinema. A star arrived. And created by a creative director.
Scoring a big hit is enough? For a young hero coming from the Mega family, doing mass films is mandatory. There comes Bunny. Following the then trend of youthful college entertainer and a heavy flashback right out of a faction film, Bunny proved Bunny is the next big thing in the TFI. He has everything it takes to be a top star. By then he’s already got his own fan base.
Setting The Benchmark
Much was talked about the 6-pack body of star heroes and it has now become mandatory for everyone to try and show toned fit body on the screen. But it was Allu Arjun who made it the buzz word and had become the trendsetter. There was a Hrithik Roshan. And there was the fitness freak Salman Khan who wowed Indian audience with his single finger dips in Maine Pyar Kiya.
Tollywood heroes are good looking all right. But where’s the sex appeal that the Bollywood superstars ooze! Taking the comments by someone in a party to heart, Allu Arjun displayed the real Stylish star in him. He not just brought out his A-game in fitness, proved himself as a top class mass hero who can mouth aggressive punch dialogues with Desa Muduru. He’s the real Desa Muduru among Telugu heroes. Of course, it’s a Puri Jagannadh film who just delivered an iconic industry hit Pokiri but it is Allu Arjun who made most out of this film.
He not just personified the quintessential Puri Jagannadh hero Bala Govindu, he gave it his own twist. By this time, no one have any doubts about his acting capabilities. Apart from showing difference in his styling for each film, he started to showing variations in his acting. A loud mouthed rogue with compassion coupled with brains and brawn.
He took his performance a step ahead with Parugu. After acing the over the top hero of Puri Jagannadh, he showcased everyone that he can underplay if needed. Parugu was a runaway hit and Allu Arjun was getting noticed for his versatility in choosing different scripts. You know what! He had yet to see a proper box office failure.
Here comes the pinnacle of the first half of his career. Arya 2 didn’t go well with the critics and the audience couldn’t get into the mind of the maniacally enigmatic Arya the second like they did with Arya but - Allu Arjun brought out his best in every aspect of modern day film star. Dances? Check! (My Love Is Gone is next level and Ringa Ringa is epic). Action sequences? Check! Comedy? Check! Charm? Check! Basically Arya 2 is a film which is well ahead of its time. We cannot imagine anyone but Allu Arjun in that role. No one at all.
After tasting the genuine commercial failure in the form of Varudu, Allu Arjun bounced back with Vedam. The film was not a office miracle but projected Allu Arjun as one of the true blue top actors in the current generation of Tollywood stars. Playing a smaller role in an ensemble and surrounded by highly competent co-stars he not just lent his star power for the Krish directorial but came out with flying colours proving that he doesn’t need hero elevations to gain the attention of the audience.
Master of commercial films
By now the trade experts and film buffs observed a pattern. Among all the Telugu star heroes at that time, it is Allu Arjun who has the highest success ratio. He might not have industry hits but he is bankable and created a cult following in non-Telugu states like Kerala. It’s neigh impossible for producers to lose money with Allu Arjun acting in their films.
Proving the point was Julayi. His first film with Trivikram Srinivas. The film polarised critics and the audience but clicked well at the box office. Typical of Trivikram Srinivas films, it’s a small screen blockbuster. Allu Arjun just hit the ball out of the park with his performance as another lovable rogue. Shades of Sherlock Holmes characterisation can be seen in his role of Ravindra Narayan. But Bunny displayed the all-round star hero in him.
Race Gurram is a manic hit during the 2014 Summer. An action comedy. He was comfortable to give the limelight to his co-stars. For a star who knows his capabilities he doesn’t need to appear on the screen all the time. But whenever he appeared on the screen, sparks flied.
2015 saw him in another landmark film. Gona Ganna Reddy the folk hero and one of the biggest historical figures whose story and life interested the poets and novelists of various time periods. Bunny played the role with ease (though there are comments that it’s a designery role) and went into the skin of it in Rudhramadevi.
Then in S/o Sathyamurthy, he once again underplayed and won applause. It was he... only he who carried the film to commercial success.
The best thing about Allu Arjun is and proved by his more than 80% success ratio: he’s not just good at delivering hits with good scripts, he can also make average to poor scripts to do wonders at the box office. The first pre-requisite for someone to be called a superstar. Good scripts give success to even a new actor. It is their capability to lift an average script to watchable levels and deliver commercial success is what differentiates a top star from stars.
Sarrainodu is a blockbuster with a below average script and a cult blockbuster in the Northern belt. Duvvada Jagannadham proved once again that Bunny’s presence in a film is enough to guarantee commercial success. A gorgeous lady like Pooja Hegde paled before his style quotient.
Then came the industry hit. It has been in the waiting for a long long time. But to deliver a a share of 150 crores with a non-pan-India film takes more than just stardom. Allu Arjun is among the top three superstars of Telugu Cinema now. He’s well known across the country and is counted among the superstars of South Indian Cinema. Pushpa will surely establish him as a pan-India star and he is already one without a pan-India film.
Among the top 10 star heroes of Telugu Cinema who delivered highest number of blockbusters in the 21st century, Allu Arjun sits atop alongside Mahesh Babu and Mega Star himself with 5 such films. Sky is the limit, with him yet to reach 40 years and at least a decade and half is going to be his if he continues the same form
Allu Arjun - Style & Substance and a bit more.