While many of the mega family actors choose commercial films, Varun Tej is different. He is lucky that he has had good directors — Srikanth Addala, Krish and Puri Jagannadh — during the initial stage of his career. Now, he is working with yet another top director, Srinu Vaitla, for Mister, which is set to release on April 14. Excerpts from an interview:
Injury and the delay
The actor had sustained a major injury while shooting for Srinu Vaitla’s film, due to which the film got delayed. “It was a leg injury (a fractured bone). I knew it would take two months to heal,” he says. But more than the injury, he was worried about putting on weight. “I have to work out regularly to stay in shape. I was worried, but I didn’t put on a lot of weight as I resumed my workouts as soon as my bandage was removed,” says Varun. But, what did he do for two months? “I heard 20 film scripts! I met friends and spent time with Charan anna and also a week with pedananna (Chiranjeevi),” he says, adding, “Pedananna told me that during his times, they took risks because of lack of technology, but now, I should make use of it. He told me that due to my injury, many people had to adjust.”
Lavanya and Rajesh took care
Varun met with the accident on the last day of the schedule in Ooty. “The floor was wet. I had to run across, and when I did that, I fell. To avoid hitting my head on the camera, I fell on the other side and injured myself. In the hospital, the entire unit, especially Lavanya Tripathi and Rajesh, took care of me,” he says.
Length, not a problem
“My character’s name is Pichaiah Naidu, but I changed it to Chay. The story revolves around the three of us — Lavanya, Hebah Patel and me. The story starts off in Spain with a girl (Hebah) and it then shifts to the US. It then comes to India, where I fall in love with another girl (Lavanya). We have three stories, but the director’s greatness lies in the fact that he showed all in one story. It’s a love story with family drama and typical Srini Vaitla entertainment. The narration was lengthy, but Srinu garu tells it in a gripping manner. I feel that if the content is good and keeps the audience entertained, length is never a problem,” he says.
Long Break after Loafer
This film comes more than a year after Loafer (2015). Varun says, “After Loafer, I wanted to work with Krish, but we postponed it. If you look at my first three films, I have chosen different scripts. There are 20 to 30 actors and everyone is doing good. I want to stand out from others. My first film catered to some section of the audience and the second film Kanche was classy. Loafer also couldn’t cater to all sections of the audience. Those characters didn’t suit my age and personality. I’m a funny person, so I wanted to do a romantic comedy. When Srinu narrated the subject, I agreed,” he says.
“When I met Ram Charan, he told me not to worry about how much my films make. After Magadheera, people began expecting big things from him. So he did films to keep up to that expectation. He advised me to not fall into that trap,” says Varun.
Father is my strength
“I decide on the films I want to do. Sometimes I ask my father for advice, but he never forces me. He is like a friend to me. My father has been my biggest strength when it comes to cinema,” he says.
On RGV controversy
“Ram Gopal Varma is a great filmmaker. But I don’t know what satisfaction he gets from his tweets. I think, he wakes up every day with an idea to play with someone’s mind. If you don’t like a film, you can say that you didn’t like it. Stop getting into families. My father never tolerates anyone talking about his family (Chiranjeevi, Charan, Pawan Kalyan). My father spoke at the public meeting, because he was right. Like everyone, my father reacted and I told my father that he is completely right,” says Varun.