Valmiki opened up new possibilities: Varun Tej

Wednesday, September 18, 2019 - 23:00

As 'Valmiki' releases on September 20, Varun Tej is sitting pretty, confident as he is about its success. In this interview, catch him talk about how the project happened, the character he has played, working with Harish Shankar and more.

How did the project come into existence?

Harish Shankar wanted to do 'Dagudumoothalu' with me. However, during the course of discussions between us, we felt that something else should be done. He accidentally happened to watch 'Jigarthanda' (Tamil original) and loved it. When he pitched the idea of the remake, I too loved it.

What has the role of a gangster offered you in terms of acting range?

Doing soft films such as 'Fidaa' and 'Toli Prema' made me want to pause doing love stories for some time. This is when 'Valmiki' happened. Playing roles in love stories can result in stereotyping. Love stories offer only a limited range in terms of acting output.  

In contrast, playing Ganesh in 'Valmiki' opened up new possibilities for me. For example, the interval scenes see me do a lot of stuff. Even the dubbing for this segment took a lot of effort.

Coming to speaking in Telangana slang, was it an easy thing after 'F2'?

In 'F2', the slang was a bit classy. In 'Valmiki', you will see me speak in a rural slang. Working with my director on the slang helped me a great deal in this regard. After all, Harish Shankar hails from Karimnagar.

Compared to the original, to what extent is 'Valmiki' faithful?

The soul of 'Jigarthanda' is intact in our film. But changes are lot many. For example, my character is different compared to that in the original, played by Bobby Simha. Harish felt that Bobby Simha's role was accepted by the audience because he was not familiar to the audience. But since I am familiar, a back story has been infused in the script to tell the audience why Ganesh is the way he is. So, you will see an elaborate back story.

Have you imitated Bobby Simha?

He did a phenomenal job in the original and won a National Award. But I have done the role in my own way. There is no point in imitating for the sake of it.

Did you have apprehensions before doing the remix of 'Elluvochi Godaramma'?

The director was confident. Everything from costumes, music to choreography fell in place for the song. I didn't stress myself out.  

How do you see your career graph?

I am happy to have got to do a range of films and roles. The superb success of 'F2' didn't surprise me but delighted me a great deal. The failure of 'Antariksham' owes itself to poor CG, for example. Big box-office successes can let you try out experiments that could be costly.