Konidela Ram Charan Teja, popularly known as Ram Charan, one of the biggest stars of India’s Telugu-language film industry, is in the privileged position of working with three giants.
Ram Charan is the son of megastar Chiranjeevi and is sharing screen space with him in Koratala Siva’s “Acharya,” due a Feb. 4, 2022 release. He is currently filming a project identified as “RC15,” directed by Shankar Shanmugam, known for his big-budget extravaganzas including “Sivaji,” “Enthiran” (aka “Robot”) and “2.0,” all starring superstar Rajinikanth.
Ram Charan is producing “Acharya” for his family’s Konidela Production Company, alongside Niranjan Reddy for Matinee Entertainments. The film stars Chiranjeevi as a social reformer who fights against corruption.
“I would say acting with a man who’s really done 40 years in this field and 150 films plus, that is intimidating me more than acting with my father,” Ram Charan told Variety. “Working with thousands of actors in his career, he makes you feel so comfortable and really complements you as a person. And it’s so easy to be intimidated by those personalities. But as much as he is my father, he is a completely new person when he finishes his makeup and is out of his caravan in costume. It’s a beautiful experience. It’s a learning experience.”
Ram Charan has an extended guest appearance in the film. “I’m the new comrade in his [Chiranjeevi’s] clan and he is somebody I look up to as a senior comrade,” said Ram Charan. “And I join the whole movement which he has begun in the film.”
“It’s a 40-minute role, it’s pretty much the whole of the second half,” said Ram Charan. “It initially started as a guest appearance, but it evolved into a much larger character and I’m really happy director Siva has given me this beautiful opportunity. It’s well designed, it’s not some commercial flick fictional thing – it’s so real. It’s so gritty and [has] a lot of scope for performance. This is probably the perfect combo you want to see a father and son and not some colorful songs and comedy.”
In “RRR,” Ram Charan is reunited with Rajamouli, who directed the star’s second film, the blockbuster “Magadheera” in 2009. Ram Charan likens his relationship with Rajamouli to that of a student and teacher. “Any actor on the set gets to learn a lot from him. It can be about the character, it can be about his work ethics, his dedication. It’s a lovely working experience,” said Ram Charan. “I think he’s gone leaps and bounds and he’s the number one director now in pan India, and just to work with him again it’s such a pleasure.”
Ram Charan plays Alluri Sitarama Raju, who fought for freedom against the colonial British. However, there is much more to the role than that. “The story pushes my character to evolve into three different roles and three different looks,” said Ram Charan. The actor says that to do a film with Rajamouli with one character is “like a dream,” but to do three characters “it just can’t get better than this or bigger than this.”
“And all three characters have distinct characterizations,” says Ram Charan. “That’s what as an actor excited me a lot. It’s not the subtlety and small differences, it’s got huge differences.”
Huge is a word often used in conjunction with Shankar and the director’s venture with Ram Charan, which the actor describes as a political drama, promises to be exactly that. “Working with him is an experience and like his films we see on screen,” said Ram Charan, who spoke with Variety in the middle of Shankar’s shoot. “More than an actor I think I’m like having a fanboy moment slash actor in this set. It’s amazing to see how he works. And just to be seen in his film, in his script. It’s a pleasure. Absolute pleasure.”
The film is due a February 2023 release.
Besides the hats he dons as an actor and producer, Ram Charan is also an entrepreneur with stakes in airline TruJet and polo team Hyderabad Polo and Riding Club. He says that while business is not his forte, he is always open to interesting ideas and business partners who are passionate about what they do, so that he can invest and not have to think about it.
Philanthropy is another string to Ram Charan’s bow and he is keen to extend the good work done by the Chiranjeevi Eye and Blood Bank. “During crisis times we’ve always been one of the first people and I take great pride in doing that,” said Ram Charan.
The actor has been highly selective with his roles since debuting in 2007 with “Chirutha.” The project with Shankar is only his 15th.
“I look forward to characters that challenge me as an actor, and I want no film in my library which I’ll be ashamed of after 10 years. That’s my main idea behind being very selective,” said Ram Charan.