Tholiprema director Venky Atluri on working with Varun Tej and how the film explores love

Haricharan Pudipeddi

Feb,08 2018 11:13:51 IST

At the audio launch of Tholiprema last month, Varun Tej said he heard the story of the film even before the release of his films Loafer and Fidaa. “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 very patient. Most directors move on when they don’t get a go ahead from one actor after they pitch a story. Venky believed in me and waited and I’m really thankful to him.”

As the film is gearing up for release on 10 February, its director Venky Atluri says he didn’t mind waiting for the project to take off.

Varun Tej in Tholiprema

“The wait wasn’t frustrating because I know Varun really liked the story and he’s a man of commitment. I could’ve worked on other projects but I didn’t want them to eat away my time which I used to prep for Tholiprema. We shot for nearly 35 days in London. It requires a lot of planning to shoot in a place like London, especially when the weather can play a spoilsport. When I went there for recce, I saw the climate change so many times in a day. It was a very long schedule of recce and the process really helped and plan better for the shoot,” Atluri said in a chat with Firstpost.

Having been involved in the writing department in projects such as It’s My Love Story, Oopiri and Hello, Atluri makes his directorial debut with Tholiprema, which he describes as a love story, and it explores three stages in Varun Tej’s life. Atluri explains that Varun’s adaptability to suit any character made him approach him with the story. “Given his height, body language and features, he has some sort of inbuilt adaptability to slip into the shoes of any character. He could play a teenager, a college student and even a slightly older character. It’s these things that convinced me he can do full justice to this character.”

Audiences will get to see Varun age through the course of the film, says Atluri, explaining that he had to look the parts which meant extra effort. “Starting from his look, audiences will get to see him in different avatars as the story explores three stages of life. In one phase of the story, he’s slightly chubby and looks young. He’s ultra fit in another phase. Even mood-wise, you’ll see variations from Varun in each phase,” he said, adding that working with Varun was stress-free.

“He’s someone who likes to go beneath the lines to understand the true emotion of a scene. A lot of people read a line and try and memorize it. But you give Varun a line; he goes a couple of layers to understand the real emotion behind a line. He does this by default and nobody has to tell him. It was mostly single take shots with him," added Atluri.

Going by the promos, Tholiprema looks like an intense romantic drama. Atluri says the romance in the film has been dealt the way he knows.

“Just like the circle of life, we’d have many love stories which are quite similar. How to you treat and say the same story makes a lot of difference. The treatment matters a lot when it comes to similar stories,” he said, heaping praise on Raashi Khanna, whom audiences will see in a very mature role.

At the audio launch, Raashi said she takes pride in doing Tholiprema. “In every actor’s career, there’ll be one film that’ll 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.” Talking about Raashi’s character, Atluri said that she has a meaty part. “It’s a full-length character and the story revolves around her. The character has been written in a very refreshing way.”

Updated Date: Feb 08, 2018 11:13 AM