I Don't Think I Am A Star Yet: Vaishnav Tej

Vaishnav Tej speaks about his relationship with stardom and the most challenging part of filming for Ranga Ranga Vaibhavanga
I Don't Think I Am A Star Yet: Vaishnav Tej

Vaishnav Tej, who was last seen in Gireeshaaya’s romantic drama Ranga Ranga Vaibhavanga, opens up about how he is not attached to stardom, in a conversation with Lahari Velicheti. 

Tej is from the Allu–Konidela family, the famous Telugu family whose members include mega stars Chiranjeevi, Pawan Kalyan, Allu Arjun, and Ram Charan. Growing up, he remembers watching his uncles and cousins become stars and enjoy the ensuing fandom. Since he has always witnessed their stardom, Tej says he cannot envision that for himself. 

“I don’t think I am a star yet. I’ve never had much attachment to stardom and I don’t believe in it. And that's primarily because in my eyes, my family and other such great actors are the only stars and I love the demi-god status they have. I don’t think I can imagine that for myself. If I see my poster, I always see the character I am playing. For instance, when I see the poster of Ranga Ranga Vaibhavanga, I see Rishi (the character he plays) and not Vaishnav Tej. It is the character that I believe in. So the character is just a part of me, but that’s not me,” says the actor. 

Talking about his acting process, Tej notes, “I switch off and on. I am Vaishnav Tej once the shoot is over, and I become the character again the next morning. For instance, I can’t relate to Rishi. That guy is so hyper and extravagant. But I am very quiet and I’m only open with my close friends. So, it was very challenging to put out my performance of Rishi in front of like 100 people during the shoot. During the initial few days, I felt a little shy. It was a character that was out of my zone, but there was also a lot of learning.”

Although Tej has acted in three films as a child artist, it was in the 2021 film Uppena (2021) that Tej made his debut as a lead actor. The village-based film, which co-stars Vijay Sethupathi and Krithi Shetty, was a challenge, the actor recalls. “When it comes to preparation, Uppena was the difficult one. We took 15-20 days to get the slang right in Uppena. I also watched a lot of movies about the village (Uppada village in Andhra Pradesh, which forms the backdrop in the film), especially the ones played by Chiranjeevi. But when we talk about the characters I have played, I think my character in Uppena and Konda Polam is very subtle. They are very similar to who I am in real life.”

The actor also likes to pursue other passions apart from movies. “I like what I am doing now (acting) and I will give it my 100%. But I still like to do other things and want to learn a lot. I want to learn martial arts. My recent interest is in sunglass designing. I want to start getting into it but I am also a little lazy,” he says with a laugh. 

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