Anaganaga O Dheerudu (English: Once Upon a Warrior) is a 2011 Indian Telugu fantasy-adventure film directed by debutant, Prakash Kovelamudi, in his first mainstream film. Co-produced by Walt Disney Pictures with veteran director K. Raghavendra Rao at a budget of 27 crore, it stars Siddharth, Shruti Haasan, in her Telugu debut, and Harshita as protagonists with Lakshmi Manchu making her debut in a negative role. The film features musical score by Salim-Sulaiman, an ensemble soundtrack by Salim-Sulaiman, M. M. Keeravani, Koti and Mickey J Meyer, while cinematography and editing are handled by Soundar Rajan and Sravan Katikaneni, respectively.
Anaganaga O Dheerudu focuses on the journey of Moksha, a nine year-old girl with special healing powers, and Yodha, her fierce warrior bodyguard, as they travel to a faraway village to save its children, under the constant menace of the evil witch Irendri.
Irendri (Lakshmi Manchu) is a sorceress, who captures sarpa sakthi (serpent power) and tries to terrorise people of Anga Rashtram. So, a guru arrests her and doesn't allow her to play with the lives of people and destroys her. Even before she was destroyed with the sarpa sakti, Irendri takes her soul away and traps in a locket. Though she dies, her soul (atma) lives in the locket. Her great great grand daughter is Priya (Shruthi Haasan) and she lives as a gypsy.
However, she too possesses some magical powers, as she was born into a sorceress’ family. Yodha (Siddharth) is a person who always lures girls and romances with them at whenever there is opportunity. He is smitten by Priya’s beauty and falls in love with her. Sudigundam (Ravibabu) is a local goon and he attacks the gypsies’ village. Yodha prevents him and defeats him in a fight. However, Sudigundam makes another attack and ties the hands of Yodha and sets afire the entire village.
In this process, the locket in the neck of Priya falls down and Irendri’s soul comes out with the touch of fire. The sarpa sakthi tells her that she could gain power with the drop of blood of Priya. So, Irendri takes away Priya and imprisons her. Meanwhile, Yodha turns blind as Sudigundam pierces his eyes. However, Yodha gets saved by a swami (Subbaraya Sharma) and appoints to save a girl named Moksha (Baby Harshita), who has divine powers. Irendri, in order to take revenge, attacks Agartha, a village in Anga Rashtram and make the children of the village senseless.
Druki (Ramji) goes to Pushpagiri to bring Moksha, who could save their children. So, Druki, Yodha and Moksha start from Pushpagiri and reach Agartha. At this juncture, the sarpa sakti tells Irendri that the blood of Moksha would make her Maha Sakti if it was taken by her on lunar eclipse day. So, Irendri sends her men to capture Moksha. But Yodha kills all of them. Irendri again sends Sudigundam, the commander-in-chief, to bring her. Yodha follows them in search of Moksha and finds that Priya was alive and saves both Moksha and Priya. Moksha with her divine power brings back Yodha’s vision. Then, Yodha decides to completely destroy Irendri as she is trying to harm people and succeeds in the climax.
- Siddharth as Yodha
- Shruti Haasan as Priya
- Lakshmi Manchu as Irendri
- Harshita as Moksha
- Ravi Babu as Sudigundam
- Brahmanandam as Jaffa
- Vallabhaneni Ramji as Druki
- Tanikella Bharani as Kakshira
- Ali as Jilebi
- Subbaraya Sharma as Lama
Pre-production for Anaganaga O Dheerudu began in June 2009 and the cast of the film was finalized soon after, with the film creating expectations as it marked the debuts of noted star children Prakash Rao, Shruti Haasan and Lakshmi Manchu. Furthermore, the film marked a return to a rarely filmed genre in Indian cinema, the fantasy adventure. Shooting began in October 2009, and took place across India, whilst scenes were also shot in Turkey. During the production stage, Walt Disney Pictures agreed to co-produce the film with Raghavendra Rao's home banner, a Bellyful of Dreams Entertainment, marking the first South Indian production by Disney.
The film was released internationally on January 14, 2011 during the Sankranti festival to average reviews and box office collections. Dubbed versions of the film were created in Tamil and Malayalam but their release was put on hold indefinitely due to the unexpected failure of the Telugu version. The film is rated PG-13 in North America for "violence and scary images" making it the sixth of nine films released by Walt Disney Pictures to receive the rating.
The film was released on Disney DVD, Movie Download, and On Demand on July 26, 2011. The release will be produced in DVD widescreen and include a Telugu language track plus English subtitles.
- Nandi Awards
- 2011 - Nandi Award for Best Villain - Lakshmi Manchu
- 2011 - Nandi Award for Best Special Effects - Phani Eggone
- CineMAA Awards
- 2012 - CineMAA Award for Best Female Debut - Shruti Haasan
- 2012 - CineMAA Award for Best Supporting Actress - Lakshmi Manchu
- Filmfare Awards South
- Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut – South - Shruti Haasan (Also for 7aum Arivu)
- Other Awards
- Hyderabad Times Film Award for Best Actor in a Negative Role (Female) - Lakshmi Manchu.
- Oh my Snehitudu (performed by Anuj Gurwara and Chaitra, music by M. M. Keeravani)
- Premalekha (performed by Salim Merchant and Shreya Ghoshal, music by Salim-Sulaiman)
- Pralaya Kaalabelaa (performed by Geetha Madhuri, music by Koti)
- Chandamaamala (performed by Karthik and Sahiti, music by Mickey J Meyer)
- Lanjala Wada Raada (performed by S. P. Balasubramanyam, music by Koti)
- Premalekha (remix) (performed by Abhijith, music by Salim-Sulaiman)
- Yodha Theme (performed by Rajiv Sundaran and Rishikesh, music by Salim-Sulaiman)
Lakshmi Manchu's character, Irendri, fetched her the Hyderabad Times Film Award for Best Actor in a Negative Role - Female.