Tholi Prema: Varun Tej says he has done justice to the title of Pawan Kalyan's 1998 film

Haricharan Pudipeddi

Jan,22 2018 10:32:42 IST

Fresh off the success of Fidaa, which emerged as one of the biggest hits of last year, actor Varun Tej is gearing up for the release of his next Telugu outing Tholi Prema, which marks the debut of director Venky Atluri and is slated to hit the screens on 9 February. Also starring Raashi Khanna, the film has music by SS Thaman. Speaking at the film’s audio launch in Hyderabad on 21 January, Varun revealed that he had qualms about using the title of his uncle Pawan Kalyan’s iconic film Tholi Prema.

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Varun Tej and Raashi Khanna in a still from Tholi Prema. Image from Twitter/@RaashiKhanna

“We shot the film without a title for nearly six months. Although we considered a few titles, Venky suggested that we use Tholi Prema. I remember telling him that it’s not a good idea because if we don’t do justice to the title, fans of my uncle won’t spare us. I’m well aware of the love and support people have given that film. Since I’ve watched our film, I can confidently say that we have done justice to the title,” said Varun.

He went on to add that he heard the story of Tholi Prema even before Loafer and Fidaa. “I first heard the story two years ago. Even though I really liked it, I couldn’t immediately work on it as I didn’t have dates. As a story, it’s very close to my heart and I didn’t want to let go of it. So I made Venky wait and I’m glad he was patient. Most directors move on when they don’t get a go ahead from one actor after they pitch a story but Venky believed in me and waited and I’m really thankful to him.”

Teaming up with Raashi Khanna for the first time, Varun (who is 6-foot-4) joked about how it felt nice to have a heroine who could match his height. “Finding a heroine has always been a challenge for me. I always end up looking down upon my heroine because of the height difference. Glad that didn’t happen with Raashi, with whom I could share eye contact without having to look down.”

Varun thanked Thaman for the wonderful album. “I love Thaman’s music and I’ve always wanted to work with him. I’ve followed his work closely and I'm glad we’re finally working together.”

Speaking on the occasion, Raashi Khanna said she takes pride in doing Tholi Prema. “In every actor’s career, there will be one film that will make him or her proud. Tholi Prema is that film for me. I need to thank director Venky for writing such a wonderful character which I’m sure audiences will love.”

Director Venky used the opportunity to thank producer Dil Raju. “He’s the first person in the industry to believe in me. I owe him a lot. The second person I have to thank is Varun, who believed in me more than I believed in myself. A lot of actors listen to a story and decide whether to do it or not but Varun didn’t give up on me or my story. I need to thank everybody who’s worked on this film. Raashi, who has so far mostly been seen as glamour queen, will be seen in a performance-oriented role,” Venky said.

Popular producer Allu Aravind presided over the function. He heaped praise on Varun’s attempt to do different kind of cinema. “I have known him since he was a very young boy. As an actor, he’s been constantly pushing himself to do different kind of cinema. I was astonished when I watched his second film Kanche. He has a long way to go. I believe this film will earn him the kind of appreciation the old Tholi Prema gave Pawan Kalyan,” he said.

Updated Date: Jan 22, 2018 10:32 AM