Vanga initially approached Sharwanand to play the film's lead role. Sharwanand was at first apprehensive of Vanga handling the responsibilities of directing and producing the project but after reading the script, he changed his mind. He sent the script to many producers, who considered the project too risky to fund. After Sharwanand left the project, Vanga signed Vijay Deverakonda to play Arjun Reddy. Deverakonda's breakthrough film Pelli Choopulu (2016) had not yet been released, and many were against Vanga for casting him, citing it a risky move for a home production. In an interview with Indo-Asian News Service, Devarakonda called the portrayal of Arjun Reddy exhausting, noting that, "I had to be constantly probing into the darkest areas of my consciousness, digging out feelings and tapping into emotions I had never touched in myself". He did not have any cinematic references but watched films like The Godfather (1972), Scarface (1983) and Goodfellas (1990) to remain in an alpha male zone.