Okkadu (transl. The One) is a 2003 Indian Telugu-language action film written and directed by Gunasekhar. It stars Mahesh Babu, Bhumika Chawla and Prakash Raj. The film was produced by M.S. Raju while music was composed by Mani Sharma and editing was by A. Sreekar Prasad. The film follows journey of a Kabaddi player, Ajay who rescues Swapna from Obul Reddy, when the latter tries to forcefully marry her.

Okkadu poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGunasekhar
Produced byM. S. Raju
Written byGunasekhar
Paruchuri brothers (dialogue)
StarringMahesh Babu
Bhumika Chawla
Prakash Raj
Music byMani Sharma
CinematographySekhar V. Joseph
Edited byA. Sreekar Prasad
Release date
  • 15 January 2003 (2003-01-15)
Running time
171 minutes
Budget13–14 crore[1]

The film has garnered eight Nandi Awards and four Filmfare Awards South, including Best Film – Telugu,[2] and led Babu to instant stardom. The film was later remade into Tamil as Ghilli, Kannada as Ajay, Bengali as Jor, Hindi as Tevar, Odia as Mate Aanidela Lakhe Phaguna and in Sinhala as Kabaddi.[3][4][5]


Ajay Varma is a Hyderabad-based Kabbadi player who visits Kurnool to take part in a state-level tournament. There, he saves Swapna Reddy from Obul Reddy, a dangerous faction leader, who is in love with Swapna and wants to marry her against her wishes. Ajay learns that Swapna is trying to leave for the United States for pursuing higher education after Obul killed her brothers. When Ajay saves Swapna, he humiliates Obul by pushing him into a mud pond. Obul refuses to cleanse the mud until Swapna is found and brought back. Ajay helps Swapna escape and takes her to his house in the Old City of Hyderabad, hiding her in his room with the help of his sister, Asha.

Soon, his parents find out she is hiding in their house. Swapna and Ajay run away again and eventually she falls in love with him. The next day, the police, led by Ajay's father Vijay, surround the Charminar where Swapna is hidden by Ajay. The duo, along with Ajay's friends, reaches the airport to go to the United States. They bring her parents to see her one last time before she leaves. After Swapna passed airport security, Ajay realises he loves Swapna. She shows up and hugs him while proposing to him.

At the airport, Vijay arrests Ajay while Obul's men take Swapna away. After Swapna taunts him by saying that Ajay will definitely come for her, Obul goes to the jail and asks Ajay to come with him. Here, Vijay expresses that he's not worried about Ajay; rather, he's worried for Obul. Obul and his henchmen are kidnapped by Ajay, who, along with his friends, attend the finals of the national-level Kabaddi tournament.

Meanwhile, Obul's brother Siva Reddy, who happens to be the home minister of the state, is waiting at the venue of Obul's marriage with Swapna. After coming to know about his whereabouts, Siva reaches the stadium along with Swapna and his mother where Ajay and Obul are fighting with each other. Swapna's father stabs Obul while his mother dies in a bomb blast. Siva decides not to react as it would harm his position as a minister and Ajay, whose team won the match, celebrates the victory with Swapna and his family. Ajay and Swapna are married together.




Gunasekhar chose Charminar (pictured), a monument and mosque located in Hyderabad as the film's backdrop.

During his days as an assistant director in Madras (now Chennai), Gunasekhar dreamed to direct a film with the backdrop of Charminar, a monument and mosque located in Hyderabad. After watching West Side Story (1961), he took inspiration from the war between two gangs and wrote a script choosing Charminar and Old city area of Hyderabad as the film's backdrop.[6] Years later, Ashwini Dutt met Gunasekhar during the re-recording sessions of Choodalani Vundi (1998) where the latter saw the portfolio images of Mahesh Babu whose debut film Rajakumarudu was officially launched that day. Finding Babu apt for the protagonist he envisioned, Gunasekhar narrated the script to him and gained his consent.[6]

After the release of Mrugaraju (2001), Gunasekhar resumed work on the film's script. After reading an interview of Pullela Gopichand who pursued a career in badminton against his father's wishes and faced many hardships, Gunasekhar made the protagonist a person who aspires to be a kabaddi player against his father's wishes.[6] He met Ramoji Rao who expressed his wish to produce the film and permitted Gunasekhar to erect a Charminar set at Ramoji Film City.[6]

Rao walked out due to unknown reasons and Babu, along with Gunasekhar, met M. S. Raju at Padmalaya Studios office. Babu asked Raju to permit them to erect a Charminar set as they cannot avail police permission to shoot at the original after a person committed suicide by jumping from the top. Raju agreed to do so after listening to the script narration and the project was subsequently announced.[1]

Gunasekhar wanted to name the film as Athade Ame Sainyam, but the title was already registered for another film which made Gunasekhar name the film as Okkadu after considering Kabaddi.[1] The film was produced under the banner Sumanth Art Productions with a budget of 130–140 million.[1]

Cast and crewEdit

Impressed with her screen presence in Yuvakudu (2000), Gunasekhar chose Bhumika Chawla as the film's female lead to be paired with Babu.[1] Mukesh Rishi and Geetha were signed to play Babu's parents in the film. The former called it a character close to his heart, calling it is a "soft role after a string of ferocious roles that I have played".[7] Prakash Raj was signed as the antagonist and was seen as a politician who falls for Bhumika's character in the film.[8] Telangana Shakuntala played the role of Prakash Raj's mother in the film for which she had to smoke cigar. Chandra Mohan and Niharika were seen in supporting roles as Bhumika's father and Babu's sister respectively.[9]

Paruchuri Brothers were signed to write the film's dialogues. Mani Sharma composed the score and Sekhar V. Joseph was its cinematographer.[1] A. Sreekar Prasad edited the film,[10] and Ashok Kumar was its art director.[11] Prasad called it a difficult film as it went through many forms of narration and he found it challenging to keep the pace very fast to make it slick and engaging.[10] After the first copy was ready, Paruchuri Brothers suggested Gunasekhar to prefer a linear narrative to the non linear narrative being used. The latter, along with Prasad, changed the narration to linear within ten minutes.[1]


The film's unit erected the Charminar set in a ten acres of land owned by D. Ramanaidu at Gopannapalle near Hyderabad. The original height of Charminar is 176 feet (54 m) and the height of each minaret is 78 feet (24 m) feet. The film's unit decided to construct the set with a length of 120 feet (37 m) feet by not altering the minarets and instead reduce the total length of the remaining part. The surroundings of Charminar were recreated in five acres around the set. 300 workers were employed in the construction of the set which lasted for three months and costed 17.5 million.[1]

The makers decided to create the roads near the set using computer graphics in order to reduce the budget. Principal photography began in the same set and fifteen generators were used for illuminating the area. Strada Cranes were used for filming key scenes after ordinary cranes proved to be futile.[1] The film's climax was shot in December 2002 for 11 days and 1000 junior artistes participated in the film's shoot amid extreme climatic conditions. Despite receiving training in Kabaddi, Babu was injured several times during the film's shoot.[1]


Soundtrack album to Okkadu by
Released19 Dec 2002
GenreFeature film soundtrack
LabelSupreme Music
ProducerMani Sharma

The music for the film was composed by Mani Sharma. The lyrics were written by Sirivennela Sitaramasastri.


The film was released on 15 January 2003 in 165 screens. The audio was released on 19 December 2002.

The film earned a distributor's share of ₹25–30 crore.[12]


Okkadu was remade in Tamil as Ghilli (2004), in Kannada as Ajay (2006), in Bengali as Jor (2008) and in Hindi as Tevar (2015) and in Odia as Mote Anidela Lakhe Phaguna.[12]

Okkadu (2003)


Ghilli (2004)


Ajay (2006)


Jor (2008)


Tevar (2015)


Ajay Varma

(Mahesh Babu)




(Puneeth Rajkumar)


(Jeetendra Madnani)

Pintoo Shukla

(Arjun Kapoor)

Swapna Reddy

(Bhumika Chawla)


(Trisha Krishnan)


(Anuradha Mehta)


(Barsha Priyadarshini)

Radhika Mishra

(Sonakshi Sinha)

Obul Reddy

(Prakash Raj)


(Prakash Raj)


(Prakash Raj)


(Subrat Dutta)

Gajendar Singh

(Manoj Bajpai)

Vijay Varma

(Mukesh Rishi)


(Ashish Vidyarthi)

Kumaraswamy (Nassar) (Deepankar De) S. P. Shukla

(Raj Babbar)


Ceremony Category Nominee Result Ref(s)
Nandi Awards Best Feature Film (Silver) M. S. Raju Won
Best Director Gunasekhar Won
Best Music Director Mani Sharma Won
Best Cinematographer Sekhar V. Joseph Won
Best Editor A. Sreekar Prasad Won
Best Art Director Ashok Kumar Won
Best Choreographer Raju Sundaram Won
Best Fight Master FEFSI Vijayan Won
51st Filmfare Awards South Best Film – Telugu M. S. Raju Won
Best Director – Telugu Gunasekhar Won
Best Actor – Telugu Mahesh Babu Won
Best Music Director – Telugu Mani Sharma Won
Best Villain Prakash Raj Nominated
Santosham Film Awards Best Film M. S. Raju Won
Best Villain Prakash Raj Won
Best Art Direction Ashok Kumar Won
Best publicity designer Ramesh Varma Won
Best Supporting Actress Telangana Shakuntala Won
CineMAA Awards Best Actor Mahesh Babu Won
Best Director Gunasekhar Won
Best Music Director Mani Sharma Won
Best Cinematographer Sekhar V. Joseph Won
Best Art Director Ashok Kumar Won
Best Lyricist Sirivennela Sitaramasastri Won
Best Dialogue Writer Paruchuri Brothers Won
AP Cinegoers' Association 34th Annual Awards Best Film M. S. Raju Won
Best Actor Mahesh Babu Won
Best Director Gunasekhar Won
Best Villain Prakash Raj Won
Best Screenplay Gunasekhar Won
Best Fight Master FEFSI Vijayan Won


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Chinnarayana 2015, p. 11.
  2. ^ "Telugu Cinema Etc — Nandi award winners list 2003". idlebrain.com. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  3. ^ "Okkadu to be remade in Bollywood". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  4. ^ "Mahesh Babu's Okkadu Hindi remake titled Tevar". The Times of India. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  5. ^ "Kabaddi with Senali, Darshan and Amila coming soon". cinema.lk. Archived from the original on 9 April 2021. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d Chinnarayana 2015, p. 10.
  7. ^ Farida, Syeda (4 August 2004). "South-bound star". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 18 August 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  8. ^ "5 similarities between Tevar and Okkadu!". The Times of India. 12 November 2014. Archived from the original on 18 August 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  9. ^ Sridhar, Gudipoodi (20 January 2003). "Appealing to the masses". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 18 August 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  10. ^ a b Narasimham, M. L. (7 October 2012). "A cut above the rest". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 18 August 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  11. ^ "Shopping ahoy!". The Hindu. 3 May 2004. Archived from the original on 18 August 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  12. ^ a b Pillai, Sreedhar (24 July 2003). "Telugu mid-year report". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 19 August 2015. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  13. ^ ""Okkadu" sweeps Nandi Awards!". Sify. 25 October 2004. Archived from the original on 19 August 2015. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  14. ^ "Pithamagan bags six Filmfare awards". The Hindu. 4 June 2004. Archived from the original on 19 August 2014. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  15. ^ "Santosham Film Awards 2004". Idlebrain.com. 3 August 2004. Archived from the original on 19 August 2015. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  16. ^ "Telugu CineMaa Awards 2003". Idlebrain.com. 5 November 2004. Archived from the original on 19 August 2015. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  17. ^ "Vamsee awards for Mahesh Babu, Bhoomika". The Hindu. 7 October 2008. Archived from the original on 10 July 2015. Retrieved 15 August 2015.


External linksEdit

Preceded by
Filmfare Best Film Award
Succeeded by