Telugu star Varun Tej who is Ramcharan Teja’s cousin is a growing force in his home state. His latest underproduction film Ghani, which is delayed by the Corona pandemic, has a Salman Khan connection.
Set in a pugilistic theme Ghani will have boxing stunts choreographed by two Hollywood action directors Larnell Stoval and Vlad Rimburg. Both Stoval and Rimburg were part of Salman Khan’s Sultan’s action team.
Apparently Varun Tej is as enamoured of Salman’s work style as Ramcharan Teja. Varun specially asked for the Sultan stunt directors for Ghani. In 2013 when Ramcharan was shooting for Zanjeer in Mumbai, food was carried to his sets every day from Salman’s resid Varun’s world changed the day he signed director Krish Jagarlamudi’s Kanche. “It was a turning point in my brief career. You see,I am only two films old but very clear about my priorities. I want to be known as an actor, not a star…although being a star wouldn’t hurt. But given a choice I’d much rather be just an actor.”
Varun Tej made his debut with Mukunda in 2014. But it was Krish’s Kanche in 2015 which made him a star.
Says Varun, “That wasn’t a conventional role either . I deliberately chose not to take the mainstream route.Mukunda didn’t do well.And I was advised to go more mainstream with my second film.But I was sure I wouldn’t do a massy film at this stage of my career, though I am game for any kind cinema at some point in my career.”
Varun admits he was blown over when he heard the script of Kanche. “The only reason it took me some minutes to say yes was because I was too overwhelmed by emotions after hearing the script.”
Having said yes, it was time for Varun to start preparing for his role. “This was a completely different world for me. I had to go back 80 years to a time I knew nothing about. I had to be a soldier in the 1940s. My director put me on to a retired army officer for training. The rest of the role’s requirements I learnt through reading and my director’s instructions.”
The response to the film and to Varun’s performance was overwhelming. “I couldn’t have hoped for more. It’s like watching my own life from a distance.I can’t believe this is happening to me.”
Varun comes from distinguished film family. The legendary Chiranjeevi is his Uncle and Ramcharan Teja is his cousin.
Says Varun reverently, “All of us cousins grew up hero-worshipping my uncle(Chrianjeevi). As for Charan, he’s a more a friend than a cousin. In fact all of us second-generation and third-generation actors from film families like Charan, Pawan Kalyan,Naga Chaitanya, Akhil Akkineni, Allu Arvind…we hang out together. We discuss each other’s works quite openly. There is no rivalry among us.”
Varun admits it’s not easy being from a film family. “You get a lot of love from the fans for being who you are. But finally you’ve to prove you’re worthy of that love. I’ve to be very careful about the work I do. After Kanche audiences expect me to do something different every time.”