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Everyone said do commercial films, but I wanted to break the monotony: Varun Tej

Varun Tej, whose new film Fidaa opposite the very talented Sai Pallavi is set to release later in July, talks about working with Sekhar Kammula and doing different kinds of films.

regional movies Updated: Jul 19, 2017 15:15 IST
Haricharan Pudipeddi
Haricharan Pudipeddi
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Varun Tej,Fidaa,Sai Pallavi
Varun Tej’s Kanche, which released in 2015, was a commercial success. His next big release is Fidaa.

In an exclusive chat, actor Varun Tej opens up on his forthcoming Telugu release Fidaa, the experience of working with filmmaker Sekhar Kammula, sharing screen space with Sai Pallavi and why he likes to break the monotony by doing different kinds of cinema.

Could you point out one aspect of the film that made you go Fidaa?

It would be the climax scene. It breaks the tradition of how marriage is viewed in our society. It’s not a very contemporary issue and has been around for a long time but the way Sekhar dealt with it in his writing and even while filming the sequence made me fall in love with the story. That would be my Fidaa moment in the film.

You play an NRI doctor in the film. How different was the experience of playing such a character?

Even though I play an NRI, we wanted the character’s Telugu sensibilities, especially his ability to speak the language, to be very strong. The Telugu I speak can’t be similar to the way someone from Hyderabad speaks. It had to be slightly different but at the same time we took the liberty to make the character mouth dialogues in a certain way. The workshop we did before we started shooting came very handy.

Varun Tej and Premam girl Sai Pallavi in a still from Fidaa.

How was the experience of working with Sekhar Kammula, who is returning to direction after a gap of three years?

He is very different from all the directors I have worked with. I know each filmmaker has a style of working but Sekhar enjoys the process more than anyone else. I really don’t know why he took so long to make this film. He told me he narrated the script to a few people and then finally approached me. I like movies where everything is dealt naturally and with a sense of realism. Sekhar’s work stands testimonial to that kind of cinema. He doesn’t like to go overboard for the sake of satisfying a section of the audiences. His style of working is very subtle and natural. Also, he lets his actors improvise with dialogues and scenes which I don’t think many directors appreciate. I thoroughly enjoyed working with him.

This is Sai Pallavi’s Telugu debut. How was working with her?

I don’t have to tell you about her popularity. A lot of us are already aware of her talent and the work she has done in Malayalam. She’s like a book and she knows way too many things. She is very dedicated and you only expect the best from her. Both of us shared a very healthy competition, which made working with her even more exciting. Our director felt the competitiveness will reflect on screen in our performances. She is very genuine in her work and I believe she has a golden heart. I play a doctor and there were instances I took her (Pallavi is a real life doctor) help when I had to inject someone or take someone’s blood pressure in some montage shots. The most fascinating part about Pallavi is her commitment towards learning Telugu, and it shocked me. She didn’t learn Telugu overnight but the effort she put in to learn the language took me by surprise.

You come from a very popular film family in Tollywood. Is there constant pressure on you to do certain kind of cinema?

When I was doing Kanche, a lot of my well-wishers and friends in the industry suggested that I concentrate on doing commercial films. But when my films such as Loafer and Mister didn’t work at the box-office, the same people suggested I should stick to doing films like Kanche. I didn’t do Mister because people asked me to do commercial films. Irrespective of what people think I should do, I choose the kind of film I want to do next. I believe it’s always about things falling in place at the right time.

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First Published: Jul 19, 2017 15:15 IST