Interview: Varun Tej – Operation Valentine’s strength lies in its emotional quotient
Published on Feb 27, 2024 6:00 pm IST

Mega Prince Varun Tej’s new film Operation Valentine is hitting the big screens this Friday. The movie, directed by Shakti Pratap Singh, is based on the Pulwama attack. Manushi Chhillar is the female lead. This is a Telugu – Hindi bilingual. Ahead of the release, Varun Tej interacted with the media, and here is the transcript.

How did the project start?

In 2020, the director approached me with this subject. I was supposed to do a project with the Sony team, but that didn’t take off. They were also producing war-based movies, and hence, I thought they would be correct for this film. They have a wide distribution network in Hindi, and our director also hails from the North. From the beginning, we had a stipulated budget for marketing. Given its patriotic subject, we felt that this movie would have a wide appeal.

Hrithik Roshan’s Fighter is also based on the Pulwama attack. When did you get to know about it?

We know our budget restrictions. We can’t spend 200 or 300 crores. We need to tell this story effectively. We have been communicating with the Indian Air Force and the Ministry of Defence from the beginning of our film. We got to know about Fighter during the process. But when we showed our film to them, they appreciated us and said our film was the best representation of the Air Force.

Did you take any training for learning Hindi?

I took two months of coaching to get my Hindi diction right. I know Hindi, but I lack confidence. A person came from Mumbai, and he taught me the language. I practiced very well. First, we used to shoot in Hindi. When we were shooting in Telugu, I used to tell Hindi dialogues (giggles).

What was Pawan Kalyan Garu’s reaction after he got to know about Operation Valentine?

He is very busy, as you all know. When the teaser was released, I met Babai (Pawan Kalyan). For normal films, he will say good, and that will be his reaction. He saw the teaser five to six times and told me that I was very good as an Air Force pilot. He likes these kinds of films. Pawan Kalyan Garu said he is looking forward to watching our movie.

Anthariksham and Gandeevadhari Arjuna were also based on a mission. Did you learn anything from those films?

In any film, the audience travels along with the protagonist. I felt that was missing in Anthariksham. I felt the hero character was selfish, and he put others’ lives at risk. In Gandeevadhari Arjuna, I felt the characterizations were not very strong. Drama, mission, and fights were there. Why should I follow this hero? I think we didn’t get it right in Anthariksham and Gandeevadhari Arjuna. Operation Valentine’s strength lies in its emotional quotient.

When films like these are made, a few call it propaganda backed by some political party. What’s your comment on it?

The most important thing to be noted here is whenever our Indian Army / Air Force carries out such a great attack, we should stand with them, irrespective of the political party behind it. We may have different opinions on other things, but when it comes to our national security, we can’t have multiple opinions.

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