Despite a low success level of late, Raj Tarun has kept his spirits up. Post Lover in 2018, he signed only two films — Iddari Lokam Okkate and Orey Bujjiga.
He shares, “After the release of Lover, I had a vow to fulfil so I got my head tonsured at Tirupati. I took a real break and resolved not to rush into anything. I went backpacking; travelled to Kashmir, Goa and a few other places. I love travelling alone, reading lots of books. I write too, so I carried my laptop and spent time in solitude. I remember that when I was just 12 or 13 years old, I made some plans for my life. At that time, I wanted to get married by 27 and have children by 29, but now I have crossed 27. Now I realise there are lot of other things to do. Marriage can happen any time, but my interests shouldn’t suffer on account of that.”
For the film Orey Bujjiga, director Vijay Kumar Konda had spent more than two years finalising the subject that seemed like tailor-made for Raj Tarun. “Sixty per cent of the film is done and on the set, it is like a party,” he says.
Praise of teamwork
The other film that will be releasing soon is Iddari Lokam Okkate directed by G R Krishna (who had earlier made Aadu Magadura Bujji), with Shalini Pandey as the heroine. “It is a love story that will stay with you even after you leave the theatre. The kind of emotion and love the couple share is different, I have never dealt with such a subject before. The audience will be surprised by my look and performance. I honestly have no clue why producer Dil Raju and the director thought of me for this role but I can state that Dil Raju always supports good cinema. It is inspired by a Turkish film and has been modified to suit the sensibilities of the Telugu audience,” adds Raj Tarun.
He heaps praise on the crew — cinematographer Sameer Reddy and music director Mickey J Meyer. “We do the film in bits and pieces and when I saw the final edit, it left me in a philosophical mood. Sameer Reddy ensures speed and quality, he did an amazing job. When Happy Days released, I was in the tenth standard. I remember waiting at the music store and buying the CD. I must have heard his songs a zillion times and I remember my mother getting annoyed with that. I’m happy to be working with someone whose work I admire a lot. Shalini Pandey is one of the brilliant actresses I have worked with. She never uses glycerine; when the director instructs her to cry, she does it in a jiffy. She gets into the character in no time.”
Next on the cards is a remake of Ayushmann Khurrana-starrer Dream Girl . The film that released this year is about a cross-gender hero whose female voice impersonation gets attention from others. “I want to play such roles. Doing routine stuff kills the artiste in you. Nothing wrong in doing commercial entertainers but if you do three films like that, then you must ensure that you do at least one which challenges the actor in you. The priority should be to keep the audience engaged. As long an artist puts in an honest and sincere effort, he will always find work,” he says.
Is there any film that he regretted doing? “Raju Gadu”, he quips. “I could have done something to make it work but the focus was divided. I was simultaneously doing other films. You can do two to three films a year..one after the other and not two films at a time. Nani told me about this long back. I don’t watch my films after the release. I move on to the next project. Once I am done with my film, I get detached from it,” he concludes.