Ram Charan© GettyImages

HELLO! 100 Most Influential: Ram Charan

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Sashidhar Adivi

Why he matters: With a string of superhits under his belt, this Mega Power Star’s dreams of fortifying his presence in cinema have come true. Awards and accolades pour in even today, as he becomes a new father to daughter Klin Kaara. One of South India’s biggest stars at present, or a perennial for the ages? Sashidhar Adivi figures out…

It’s said that Ram Charan took performance-driven roles quite late in his career, for a star kid. Interestingly, though, his fans argue otherwise. They contend that Magadheera happened as early as 2009, just a couple of years after his not-so-smashing debut with Chirutha.

The fantasy action entertainer had the fledgling actor in one of the most challenging sets of roles. He was cast as a warrior reborn in contemporary times, only to woo his star-crossed lover from the past. To this day, Charan looks irreplaceable in the two characters. Even Orange, which followed the box-office behemoth, had the actor in a relatively complex role.

But it wasn’t until Rangasthalam (2018) and the more recent RRR (2022) that the Mega Power Star, a title bestowed on him by Tollywood fans, started to be seen as an emotional actor capable of delivering intimate, expressive performances.

The two landmark films laid a strong grounding for the actor to evolve into a pan-India star in the coming years. One of his upcoming movies has him in a versatile role, something that will be more affecting than Rangasthalam, according to Charan himself.

It helps that Charan loves event movies. “I do watch hard-hitting, realistic films that win awards. But I also like event films. Terminator and Gladiator are among my favourite movies. I like a lot of Mel Gibson films,” he commented on the Talk Easy podcast earlier this year, during the Oscar campaign for ‘Naatu Naatu’ (the fabulous dance-off from RRR) in the US. For many non-Telugus in India and the who’s who of the Hollywood establishment, the Oscar-winning song is the zenith of dance choreography.

In the coming years, Charan is most likely going to become synonymous with action-hero roles, considering he’s working with Shankar on Game Changer.

“I think every actor wants to become an action hero. Even romantic actors want to make action films occasionally,” he said at the India Today Conclave earlier this year, adding that he also hopes the audience will be welcoming enough when he tries non-action films.

As the son of a legendary actor (Megastar Chiranjeevi, at 67, remains one of the biggest commercial actors in the country), Charan knows the indispensability of discipline in a cut-throat industry like cinema.

“Even a bad actor with great discipline will go a long way. But a great actor with no discipline can suffer,” Charan told Deccan Chronicle in an interview.

In recent months, images of Charan dutifully adhering to the religious ritual code while observing a deeksha have been admiringly fawned over by his fans and others alike.

“During the deeksha, I sleep on the floor. We don’t indulge in any luxuries. We don’t touch women, even our wives. You have to do it to understand the results of such a rigorous observance. I do it to inculcate discipline in myself. As actors, we are distracted by so many things in life. Observing deeksha keeps me grounded,” Charan told an American media house.

Is there a better way of saying that Charan, while yearning to go global with Hollywood assignments, prefers to stay as rooted as he can?

To see who else is on the list, grab the copy of HELLO! India’s August 2023 issue right here!