Geetanjali a.k.a. Geetha (Anuradha Mehta), a college student, goes to Kanyakumari on a trip. She finds a poem in a diary left on a beach and signs in it, saying that she wishes the poet will succeed in his love. Later on, her anklet falls into the ocean and a guy jumps into the water in front of her eyes but no one sees him resurfacing. However, Geetha did not see who jumped in the ocean. She dreams about the incident frequently with the idea that the guy who jumped has died but her friends ask her to forget it.
Ajay (Siva Balaji) is a spoiled brat, and is the son of local MP Avataram (Rajan P. Dev). He likes to flirt with beautiful girls and wants them to be his girlfriends. One day he sees Geetha and proposes to her. When she refuses, he threatens to jump from the top of college building. Being afraid of being held responsible for a death, Geetha accepts the proposal with the thought that as some guy has already died for her and she doesn't want someone to get hurt because of her and starts dating him. Arya (Allu Arjun) is a happy-go-lucky guy who enjoys his life with friends and kids. On his first day to the college, he sees Geetha who was just confessing her love to Ajay who was at the top of the college building, threatening her. Charmed by her beauty, Arya falls in love with her and proposes to her. She rejects his proposal saying that she is already committed to Ajay. One day Avataram arranges a party in his house and it so turns out that Ajay introduces Geetha to his father and persuades him to fix their marriage. Ajay's father, who initially pretended to accept his son's marriage with Geetha, turns tables upside down by introducing another girl Lalasa and announces that his son is going to marry Lalasa. He threatens his son not to marry anyone except Lalasa. Being embarrassed by the situation and helpless, Ajay sits down and starts to get frustrated. Arya, who loves Geetha so much that he never hesitated to help her, decides to bring Ajay to Geetha and helps them elope. On their way, they are followed by Avataram's henchmen. They eventually find a train and get into it.
When they get down of the train in the night, they are shocked to see the leader of Avataram's henchmen who forces Geetha to come with him, defying his boss' order. On the other hand, Ajay remains helpless, while Arya fights all the men and finally defeats them, rescuing Ajay and Geetha. They walk on to the nearby town, which happens to be Arya's hometown. Being tired, the three go to bed.
The next morning they wake up and realize that Ajay is missing. Arya tries to convince Geetha that Ajay left to win over his father. This leaves private time for Arya and Geetha and they grow close to each other. Geetha starts liking Arya and begins to understand him. When she tries to confess it to him, Ajay and his father return. Avataram agrees to get Ajay married to Geetha.
On the day of wedding, Geetha finds out that Arya was the guy who dove into the sea for her anklet and realizes that he came into her life much before Ajay. She realizes that while Ajay blackmailed her into loving him; Arya just wanted to see her happy. Geetha also realizes that Arya truly loves her, while Ajay was just acting on his impulse of wanting what he couldn't have. She leaves the wedding hall in tears and confesses her love to Arya.Allu Arjun as AryaAnuradha Mehta as Geethanjali aka GeethaSiva Balaji as AjayRajan P. Dev as MP Avataram, Ajay's fatherSubbaraju as SubbuSunil as T.C.Venu Madhav as Ajay's friendDevi CharanVidya as ShantiBabloo as Arya’s friendJ. V. Ramana Murthi as a PriestSudha as Geetha's motherSandra Jai Chandran as Geetha's friendJogi NaiduKrishnam RajuShravyaPrudhviraj as Reddy (cameo)Abhinayasri in Guest appearance in the song "Aa Ante Amalapuram"
Sukumar began working on the script of his directorial debut Arya (2004) in Vishakhapatnam before joining the sets of Vinayak's Dil. Its Producer Dil Raju assured that he would produce the film if Dil becomes a commercial success. Sukumar chose to narrate the story of a boy who confess his love to a girl right in the beginning, opposed to films like Darr (1993), Kabhie Haan Kabhie Naa (1994), and Kaadhal Kondein (2003) where the protagonist's love/obsession for the female lead is revealed towards the end, as he found that idea an "obsolete" one. Raju was impressed with Sukumar's script and Allu Arjun was selected as its protagonist after considering Ravi Teja, Nithin, and Prabhas. Anuradha Mehta and Siva Balaji were chosen for the other two lead roles. R. Rathnavelu and Devi Sri Prasad were chosen as the film's director of photography and music director respectively; they both collaborated with Sukumar in many of his future projects.
Arya received highly positive reviews from critics. idlebrain.com gave a review stating "You feel like you are watching a Mani Rathnam film. There is a soul in the film and you end up having a thin layer of tears in your eyes while leaving the theater. This film announces the arrival of Sukumar – director – a class apart. 'Arya' is a must watch film for all Telugu film lovers. Don't miss it" and rated the film 4/5 calling the film "A class apart". IndiaGlitz gave a review stating "To start with, the hype machine was at work incessantly before the release of the movie. And after watching the film you also feel that here is a movie that is every inch worth its pre-release hype. Not only Arya is expected to lead the pack in the long summer of seemingly never-ending releases but also give the hero of the film, Allu Arjun, a new identity. Arya is an unabashed package showcasing Allu Arjun and his dancing and fighting abilities. The thing it looks like it will work at the box-office", further calling the film "A cocktail of fun and more fun". fullhyderabad.com gave a review stating "Arya is not at all what you expect it to be. It is a special package that consists of fun, entertainment, laughs, frolic, merriment, high times, bashes and more. It has them all. Romance, eternal love, mush, flowers, embraces, sacrifices, sunsets. It has them ALL. Action, fights, stunts, feats, tricks, battles, blood, bullies, henchmen, chases. Did we mention that this has it all? Emotions, sentiments, passion, craze and feelings. See one. See all" and rated the film 7/10.
The audio was released at a function arranged in song set erected at Nanakrama Guda on the evening of 16 April 2004. Swati (of colors fame) and Devi Sri Prasad anchored this event. Aditya Music produced the audio of this film. K Raghavendra Rao released the audio and gave the first cassette to Pawan Kalyan and Prabhas. The song "Aa Ante Amalapuram" became famous in Andhra Pradesh and certain parts of Maharashtra, which created Allu Arjun's identity there. The Soundtrack was an Unusual Hit.
Arya collected ₹25 crore (US$3.9 million) in its full run delivering a distributors Share of ₹18 crore (US$2.8 million). Arya collected ₹3.85 crore (US$600,000)(Share) in Nizam Area. Hence turned out to be a blockbuster.The film had a 50-day run in 89 centres. The film had a 100-day run in 56 centres. It collected ₹18 crore (US$2.8 million). The film had a 420-day run in 8 centres.It collected ₹18 crore (US$2.8 million)(Share) delivering a final gross figure of ₹25 crore (US$3.9 million).The film's dubbed version in Malayalam did a business of nearly ₹ 3-3.5 million from Kerala.52nd Filmfare AwardsBest Director – SukumarNominated – Best Actor – Allu Arjun2004 CineMAA AwardsBest Actor – Allu ArjunBest Actor (Jury) – Allu ArjunBest Director (Jury) – Sukumar2004 Nandi AwardsBest Director – SukumarSpecial Jury – Allu Arjun2004 Santosham AwardsSantosham Best Director Award – SukumarSantosham Best Young Performers Award – Allu Arjun2004 Gemini TV AwardsBest Director – SukumarBest Actor – Allu Arjun