Varun Tej is all set to play a boxer in Ghani. Here’s all you need to know about the film, the actor and whole lot more. 

Playing the role of a boxer for the first time, Varun Tej is all excited about Ghani that releases soon. We speak to the actor about fitness, fashion and his love for books
Varun Tej
Varun Tej

At almost six feet four inches, the first thing that catches your attention about this actor is how he towers over everyone. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s really good looking.  Known for commercially successful films such as Fidaa (2017), Tholi Prema (2018), F2: Fun and Frustration (2019) and more recently Gaddalakonda Ganesh (2019), Varun Tej is the darling of Telugu cinema and he knows it! Making his childhood debut with Hands Up! (2000) and his debut as a lead in Mukunda (2014), the talented actor also recently lent his voice to Disney’s Aladdin (2019) in Telugu.

The actor is now all set to play the role of a boxer, in Kiran Korrapati’s Ghani that releases soon. The film also stars Suniel Shetty, Kannada star Upendra, Nadhiya, Tanikella Bharani, Jagapathi Babu and a special cameo by Tamannaah Bhatia in an item number.  We catch up with the actor to talk about the film, his take on fashion and fitness and discover what keeps him occupied when he’s not smoldering on screen. Excerpts.

Ghani will mark your first role as a boxer; how was the experience?
The role I play in Ghani is an exciting one filled with a non-stop adrenaline rush. For me personally, it was a very challenging role. That said, I enjoyed every bit of it! Playing the role of a boxer didn’t come naturally to me, but I trained for it and I hope the audiences like what they see.

How did you prepare for the role?
Well the role required a lot of intense training and discipline for me personally. I trained in the US for two months with Tony Jeffries who is an Olympian and a professional boxer. Then I trained with Neeraj Ghoyat (also a professional boxer) for eight months.  Throughout this process I was under the constant supervision of Rakesh Udiyar who is my trainer. Rakesh has been by my side from the beginning of this journey and has also helped me overcome my injuries and maintain the specialised diet that I needed for such a role. You will also get to see this journey of training to be a boxer in the film. I wanted the audience to see what really goes into preparing for the sport.

This wouldn’t have been too hard on you though, considering you’ve always been a fitness freak. Was there a particular regimen you followed?
Not really, I used to just maintain my body like a regular Joe, I was quite happy as long as I was in shape. I never really did anything specific. Once I put my mind to this movie, however, I got more disciplined and dedicated to the craft. The regimen generally starts off with cardio and then moves on to weight training, all the while focusing on a balanced diet. The whole day consists of a minimum of four-five hours of training with all kinds of variations.

Will we get to see you in your trademark casual avatar (regarding his style) in this film too?
The film focuses on me as a boxer, so I’m not too sure you’ll see me in any other avatars (laughs), but honestly there’s nothing so ‘trademark’ about my style — I just wear what’s comfortable, casual and reflective of my current mood. Comfort trumps everything else.

And what do you do when you’re not shooting for a film?
I usually indulge myself in a lot of online content which can be movies or any other interesting thing that I come across. I also spend a lot of time gaming and reading books.

And what was the last book you read?
I am really choosy about what I read and the last book I read and enjoyed was Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear.

Will we be seeing you entering Kollywood or Bollywood anytime soon?
Well, there are some interesting scripts that have been pitched to me, so let’s see how they pan out. Moreover I think now with OTT being such a big player and the wide variety of languages available, any movie made in any language is available to anyone across the world. So, it’s a very exciting world out there for an actor and I plan to make full use of all the new interesting opportunities that are coming my way.

Finally, could you tell us more about your upcoming projects?
I’ve got two to three projects lined up post Ghani and F3: Fun and Frustration. Can’t talk about most of them, but there is this project directed by Praveen Sattaru that I’ll be helming next. It’s an interesting action packed script and I am really excited to start working on it.

1) Favourite holiday destination: London.
2) Vegetable you think you resemble the most: Cucumber.
3) Favourite movies: Lagaan (Hindi) & Rudraveena (Telugu).
4) Five things in your gym bag: My mobile, a journal, a book, my headphones and my sunglasses.
5) What do you do just before you sleep: Watch a sitcom or read a book.
6) First thing you do right after you wake up: Sit alone for a while for some peace of mind and meditate, followed by a cup of coffee.
7) At home, you’d be in: Shorts or tracks and a T-shirt or a hoodie. 
8) On the red carpet, you’d be in: A designer suit or a classic tuxedo.
9) If we caught you at 3 am one morning, you’d be: Sleeping, for sure.
10) Your #1 weakness: Family and friends. Just can’t say no to them.

Ghani releases soon.

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