Bro has given me a chance to prove myself before my Guru Pawan Kalyan: Sai Dharam Tej

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Bro, is one of the much-awaited films this season for Telugu audiences. Produced by People Media Factory in collaboration with ZEE Studios, Bro is written and directed by Samuthirakani. Trivikram penned the screenplay and dialogues for the film which is scheduled to cinemas all across the globe on July 28. In an interview with print/web media on Wednesday, Sai Dharam Tej shared his experience working with his uncle Powerstar Pawan Kalyan and the happy moments he spent with his idol on the sets of Bro.

Which element in Bro has grabbed you?
“One thing that grabbed me is — I got a chance to act with a person who encouraged me to step forth in the movie industry. It has given me a chance to prove myself. I didn’t even listen to the story then. It was a remake, I okayed it. I didn’t even watch the Tamil original Vinodhaya Sitham because I may get influenced by the original story. So I had to avoid watching it. I okayed the film because of Kalyan garu. My tribute to him. It’s not that I did because the story is related to my real life, no. Basically, Bro happened quite before I met with an accident. It coincidentally happened. It’s more of proving myself as an actor. The first day, I was quite nervous, then Kalyan garu called me aside and asked me what was happening to me. Why am I tense? Later, Samuthirakani garu had made everything at ease. I am lucky and I am grateful for Trivikram garu for writing dialogues and screenplay.

Can you describe a few challenging and as well as memorable moments on the film sets of Bro?
Tough moments are less, memorable moments are more. I loved spending good time with my Guru, my mentor and my mama (Pawan Kalyan). He is irreplaceable. He really pushed me hard to bring out the best inside me. The whole family is happy. Because a film coming under the combination of Kalyan garu brought joy. Vaishnav Tej and Varun Tej. Chiranjeevi garu was very happy for us. It is not what I want to do with my family heroes. I want to collaborate with anyone. One of the most loved heroes is Ravi Teja garu and Prabhas garu. These two are my favourites. Kalyan Ram anna and Tarak Anna were close to me. And Manchu Manoj is again my sweetheart. We had once planned a film but it somehow did not work.

Have you gone through any pressure while working for a big-budget film Bro?
Even though I had pressure, I enjoyed it thoroughly. It’s like a learning curve for me. Each day, all through the film schedule of 21 days, I happened to spend a sweet time with Kalyan mama. The first shot would be around 7.15 am in the morning, and we would pack up the work by evening 5.30. I learnt a lot and loved spending time. Even while sipping tea or having evening snacks, it was an immense happiness.

Your look in Bro seems to be quite different. How was it working with the famous fashion stylist Neeta Lulla?
Neeta Lulla has done a great job. She designed the costumes for Kalyan garu and for myself. She gave a flamboyant and charismatic look to both the characters of mine (Markandeya) and Kalyan garu.

How was it working with two leading ladies in the film Ketika Sharma and Priya PRakash Varrier?
Ketika and Priya were one of the most hardworking women I have seen in my career. I know Ketika because she worked alongside my brother Vaishnav Tej. Even though they are not natives of the Telugu language, they were able to pull out very well. That is something that I have to give credit for their effort. The boundaries of the characters would not go overboard. They have their limitations. So thus the romance part is also going to be moderately good. The story sends out a good message.

Everyone in your team has been praising S Thaman’s music in Bro. What’s your take on it?
I will tell you one thing. When the film totally comes out, you’ll definitely say that S Thaman garu has done a great job. I was moved by the climax. That is something that he has done some magic. It is easy to comment on his work and what’s new he has delivered. But he has done a great job including Samuthirakani’s vision.

Trivikram garu is known for his uniqueness as a screenwriter and director. How much value does he bring to Bro do you think?
Bro is going to be very impactful. There is a pre-climax conversation between me and Kalyan garu. It is so insightful that I can’t describe it. Words may look very simple. But the depth that the words brought are altogether a different vibe. It’s more about the film’s theme. Trivikram garu has done a great job.

We heard that you’re going on a six months break. How true is that?
Yes, I wanted a break after Virupaksha. Since Bro started before that, I wanted to finish it and go for a break. I want to make sure that my health is regained to my best. Right now I want to go on a break and focus on my health. I already have a film with Sampath Nandi garu. I have done a short film (23 mins) with my best friend Naveen. That will be coming soon. The concept is very beautiful. It is basically about the perspective of a soldier’s wife. How a soldier would sacrifice his family for the security of the motherland. — it goes along the lines.

Tell us about Abdul Farhan, who saved you during the tragic bike accident at Ikea.
Don’t take me wrong, YouTubers have made things worse. I have been in constant touch with that person. It is not that I want to get rid of him by giving some amount of Rs 5 lakh. That’s totally wrong. YouTube people — I don’t think they’re mainstream media. But it is very heartful to say that I am not bothered about Abdul Farhan. My team is in touch with him.

Multi-starrer trend within the mega family is not new in Tollywood. Have you planned anything with Chiranjeevi?
Happily, we can do it. I have a dream to act with all three uncles – Nagendra Babu, Megastar Chiranjeevi and Pawan Kalyan. I have done two films with Nagendra Babu mamayya — Subramanyam For Sale and Jawaan. So the tip of the iceberg is ‘Bro’. And the main thing is to do a film with Chiranjeevi garu. I want to do films with my cousins too.

If at all you have to remake any Pawan Kalyan films, what films do you choose?
I don’t really want to do remakes of Kalyan Garu films. If at all a chance comes my way, I would probably think about doing Tholi Prema (1998) and Thammudu (1999).

What special have you found in production giant People Media Factory?
There’s something magical about People Media Factory. First, they made a film ‘Venky Mama’ in which the principal characters were Venkatesh Daggubati garu and his nephew Naga Chaitanya. The film happened to be their first film in Telugu. And their 25th film ‘Bro’ again featured me and my maternal uncle Kalyan garu. Working with them was so comfortable. They were so forthcoming. We had a wonderful working space. It is hard to find producers who are so supportive.