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'Valmiki' shows me in a fresh light: Varun Tej

Wednesday, September 18, 2019 • Tamil Comments

Valmiki shows me in a fresh light: Varun Tej

Ahead of the release of 'Valmiki' on September 20, Varun Tej talks about his role in it, working with director Harish Shankar, how he sees himself as an actor and more.

First such role for me

Playing the massy role in 'Valmiki' was a different experience. 'Loafer' was not a completely massy film. The characterization in that film is different from that in 'Valmiki'. Beating 10 people as a gangster is different. The relaxed swagger, the get-up, the dialogue-delivery, everything is special in 'Valmiki'.

Trying different things

After 'Fidaa' and 'Toli Prema', I wanted to pause a bit. Love stories have a limited range of emotions. As an actor, I wanted to try something beyond. I have mostly received only love stories from directors. I didn't want to be stereotyped. Harish Shankar narrated 'Daagudumoothalu' but I wanted to do something different. This is when he happened to watch 'Jigarthanda' (Tamil). The project slowly fell into place.

Retaining the soul

'Jigarthanda' is a wonderful film, some of whose scenes we have tried to replicate as it is. The characterizations, etc have been changed. The soul of the original hasn't been tinkered with. The backstory telling Valmiki's character is elaborate in our movie. Harish Shankar felt that the audience would expect a strong reason behind the character's violent behaviour. He works at a fast pace. And I too can be like that if the need be.

Getting the slang right

The Telangana slang in 'F2' and that in 'Valmiki' is totally different. This one is more rustic. The character imposed no limits on me. Rural Telangana sounds raw. The way Ganesh (Varun Tej) speaks may sound harsh but that's how it is. The director is well-versed with the slang since he hails from Karimnagar. I didn't do workshops but I sat down with my director to get the role right.

Keeping Chiranjeevi in loop

I and Harish Shankar went to Chiranjeevi garu and told him the script. He didn't ask me why I wanted to do a villain's role. A hero can be a negative character, too. I have referred to a role played by Chiranjeevi garu to get my hairstyle right.

Doing it my way

I haven't imitated Bobby Simha from the original. He gave a stellar performance for which he won the National Award. I have tried to interpret the role in my own way. It's not like I didn't want to imitate him. But I wanted to do it differently.

'Valmiki' has to be seen as a different film from 'Jigarthanda'. We are not worried about comparisons since we have made apt changes. Not everyone has watched the original.

Doing the remix

I haven't taken much pressure while shooting for 'Eelluvochi Godaramma'. I reposed faith in my director, who knows the song's history in and out. The film is high on entertainment quotient as well. I like Atharvaa Murali's character as well. He has done a great job in the film. He is such a down-to-earth guy and worked really hard on learning Telugu lines.

Being so new

The interval bang gave me a lot of scope for performance. Dubbing for that scene was a laborious process for me, as it involves a range of emotions. The role has given me an opportunity to bring out a different side to me.

Pooja is cool

Pooja Hegde has grown as an actor. She has done total justice to her character. Her screen time is very less in the film but the impact she makes is high.

I feel lucky

I have acquired a lot of experience since my first film. I am evolving slowly. My journey has been happy so far. I am lucky to have been doing different films. An artist shouldn't demarcate boundaries for himself. He or she should be ready to play any sort of role.

The flop was expected

The failure of 'Antariksham' did disappoint me a bit. We couldn't ensure perfect making values. We had to compromise on CG due to budgetary constraints. The final product was not satisfactory and we knew it much before the film's release. We had to edit out a lot of portions (due to poor CG), which resulted in flaws. I am open to doing experiments. Once an actor's market range goes up, it would be easy to do expensive experiments. I am open to all kinds of roles, including in historicals.

No 'F3' as of now

I would like to do a film with Venkatesh garu again. 'F2' exceeded my expectations in terms of commercial success. Whether there will be 'F3' is something only time will tell.

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