Ask Varun Tej how life is during this enforced phase of inactivity, and the Gaddalakonda Ganesh star says he is actually quite used to taking breaks.
“I used to take frequent long breaks after completing one film. Hence, the break as a result of the pandemic is a familiar state for me, except for the uncertainty that surrounds the moment,” he says, adding that the lockdown gave him opportunities to revive his old leisure pursuit — reading. “I was a voracious reader before turning into an actor. But reading took a back seat as a result of my shooting and other schedules. However, I have been spending quality time reading a lot in the lockdown. I just completed reading the Mahabharata series by Ashok K. Banker,” he shares.
The Tholi Prema actor has been prepping for the role of a boxer in his yet-to-be-titled sports drama, directed by debutant Kiran Korrapati.
He underwent an intense training programme in Los Angeles. While Olympic Gold Medallist Tony Jeffries trained Varun in boxing, Rocky actor Carl Weathers acted as a consultant. Neeraj Goyat took over the training in Mumbai.
Did the lockdown affect his preparations, and challenge his fitness, we ask?
“Luckily the boxing trainer (from Agra) was with me during the three months of lockdown. So I have been constantly practising boxing (10 sessions a week) and staying fit. I do around two hours of boxing daily, apart from the regular fitness workouts. I like to sweat it out,” he says.
Having done a few love stories, the F2 star says he wanted to try something unique in his next film. “I felt there was a dearth of sports drama in Telugu a couple of years back, so I wanted to do one. Then Kiran (who worked as an Assistant Director for my earlier films) came up with a script that revolved around boxing. Since then we have had several discussions and zeroed in on an engaging script; so it has been a long journey,” he reveals.
“I am someone who is aggressive and a bit temperamental (smiles). Since boxing is a combat sport, I could connect to it naturally. Moreover, boxing easies out a lot of pressure and keeps me charged,” explains the Fida star.
Though he is surrounded by top stars in his family, Varun asserts that he is the one who takes the final call on his scripts.
“My dad did not even listen to the script of my boxing drama,” he reveals, and adds, “Sometimes I just bounce ideas off them, but I take the final call on my scripts because I need to be convinced myself to pull off the role.
Meanwhile, Varun’s sister (Niharika) is set to get married “The wedding may take some more time, but we are planning to have the engagement sometime in August with all the precautionary measures in place. We are all very excited and that’s something our family can look forward to in these pressing times,” he says, signing off.