Breaking the stereotypes
In an exclusive chat with CE, director Sekhar Kammula and actor Varun Tej open up on this Friday’s release Fidaa, and why they like to break the stereotypes by doing different kinds of cinema
After a break of three years, director Sekhar Kammula is back in action with Fidaa. The romedy marks his first collaboration with Varun Tej and Sai Pallavi. The director admits that his three-year wait to return with an out-and-out love story has now turned fruitful with Fidaa. “Every film is a dream for me. I believe that the best comes out only when I take ample time to write and execute what I conceive. I lose five-six kilos for each of my films. I endure all the pain and work relentlessly with my team.”
Set in the backdrop of Telangana, the film is all about a village belle falling in love with a US-based doctor and how their paths cross. Interestingly, Varun was not the first choice for Sekhar and the script was initially penned for Mahesh Babu. “I pitched the story idea to a few heroes but things never worked out. Then, I met Varun whom I believe is very expressive. Now that the movie is completed, I can confidently say that no one could have pulled off this role better than Varun,” Sekhar adds.
Varun says it was an altogether different experience playing an NRI. “Even though I play an NRI, we wanted the character’s Telugu sensibilities, especially his ability to speak the language, to be strong. The Telugu I speak can’t be similar to the way someone from Hyderabad speaks. It had to be slightly different, but at the same time, we took the liberty to make the character mouth dialogues in a certain way. The workshop we did before we started shooting came in very handy.”
The Kanche actor points out that the climax scene made him go ‘Fidaa’ over the film. “The climax breaks the tradition of how marriage is viewed in our society. It’s not a contemporary issue and has been around for a long time, but the way Sekhar dealt with it in his writing and even while filming the sequence made me fall in love with the story. That would be my ‘Fidaa’ moment in the film.”
The Anand director maintains that Fidaa goes against the grain and breaks the stereotype in love stories. “Usually, the brother, sister or any other supporting roles have become typecast, but Fidaa will be refreshing in its narrative,” says Sekhar.
Varun doesn’t believe in confining himself to films considered safe bets and explains that he is not bogged down by constant pressure to do a certain kind of cinema. “When I was doing Kanche, a lot of my well-wishers and friends in the industry suggested that I should concentrate on doing commercial films. But when my films such as Loafer and Mister didn’t work at the box-office, the same people suggested I should stick to doing films like Kanche. I didn’t do Mister because people asked me to do commercial films. Irrespective of what people think I should do, I choose the kind of film I want to do next. I believe it’s always about things falling in place at the right time.”
Varun shares a great camaraderie with Sai Pallavi. “She is a gifted actress and an encyclopedia. Both of us shared a healthy competition, which made working with her even more exciting. Many a time, Sekhar said the competitiveness will reflect on screen in our performances. I play a doctor and there were instances I took her help (Pallavi is a real life doctor) when I had to inject someone or record someone’s blood pressure in montage shots. Her commitment to learning Telugu took me by surprise,” recalls Varun.
“The way she owned the role, perfected the lines and got the Telangana diction right is truly amazing. She will be a rage post Fidaa and her role in the film will make the girls proud,” concludes Sekhar.