Tholiprema is a simple love story, but what makes it unique is its treatment, says Varun Tej
Varun Tej has every reason to be content these days, especially with his latest film Tholiprema riding high on a positive buzz.
Varun Tej has every reason to be content these days, especially with his latest film Tholiprema riding high on a positive buzz. Directed by newcomer Venky Atluri, the film has Varun playing an architect and it explores a love story between a young couple in different phases of their lives.
In the past, Varun had acted in films like Mukunda, Kanche, Loafer, and Mister, most of which didn’t quite hit the bulls-eye at the box-office even though he earned rave reviews for Kanche. And then, his 2017 film Fidaa changed everything. Not only was it hailed as one of the best films of the year, but it also gave Varun Tej the first blockbuster of his career. With his latest film - Tholiprema - too exploring a similar space, one would deduce that perhaps he has found his comfort zone; however, Varun has other thoughts in his mind.
“Although I played someone of my age in Fidaa, the character was quite different from who I’m in real life. I’m definitely not that sober,” he smiles, adding, “I’ve always admired romantic films like Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani which just focus on the relationship between
a boy and a girl. Tholiprema is a film that’s closest to the kind of romantic films that I wanted to be part of. It’s not multi-layered like most Telugu films where romance is tagged along with family drama among many other things. It’s a simple love story, but what makes it unique is its treatment.”
Admittedly, Varun Tej had first met Venky Atluri even before he made his onscreen debut in Mukunda, but the topic of Tholiprema didn’t come up until 2015 when Kanche released.
“Venky is close to my sister (Niharika) and one day, he approached me to be part of a short film on terrorism (Vadhaa) that he was planning to me. Since I hadn’t made my acting debut yet, we didn’t work on it back then,” Varun recalls. Apparently, Venky approached Varun again with the script of Tholiprema, while the latter was shooting for Kanche and Loafer, and once again, the actor didn’t make a commitment.
“This time, I told him that I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to listen to anything, especially after Mukunda failed to click. However, Venky didn’t give up and waited patiently for me. I fell in love with the script and this is the only script, apart from Kanche, which I read so many times that I know each and every dialogue and scene,” Varun says.
Ask him what the most challenging part of the film was and Varun comes up with a surprising answer. “Every day was a joy to work with on the sets of this film. I loved shooting in London. We used to shoot for long hours there and on top of it, it’s freezing cold in London. I think I’m good at portraying anger and perform emotional scenes. But if you ask me what the most challenging part is, I would say it was more of a mental block which I had while shooting for a segment where I had to shave my beard. Somehow, I wasn’t too comfortable with that clean-shaven look, but then I had to convince myself that I don’t have to look good all the time,” he reveals.
The actor is all praise for his co-star Raashi Khanna, who, he says, gave her 100% to the film. “She’s going to impress everyone, and she’s very real with her emotions. I think this film gave us an ideal platform to dig deep into our memories to play our roles. One time, I got so involved in the scene that I yelled so loudly at her that she began to cry in the end,” Varun chuckles.
So, are we going to see him in more romantic films in near future? “Nope!” he says. “As an actor, I want to contribute something to the industry and offer new content. I really admire the choices which Rana has been making. There are a lot of heroes who’re doing commercial films, and I might also do an action entertainer. But then, I didn’t plan my career in such a way that I’ll do two back to back romantic films. Fidaa happened by accident and it was Dil Raju, who suggested that I do Fidaa before Tholiprema even though I had agreed upon the latter film much earlier. I don’t think I’ll do a romantic film anytime soon. In fact, my next film, to be directed by Sankalp, will be completely different. It’s a sci-fi film set in space.”
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