For Vaishnav Tej, as a boy coming from the mega family of Telugu cinema, acting was uncharted territory. Cinema was never on his mind even as he grew up watching his filmi family. With a shy and down-to-earth demeanor, Vaishnav doesn’t fit the mould of an actor. But as destiny has it, the years of introspection and struggle made him ready to face the arc lights. Vaishnav is now making his debut with Uppena.
In the film, he plays a fisherman, for which he had to toil hard and spend time with real fishermen, picking up their slang, observing their behavior and mannerisms. “It was tough to get into the skin of the character. Tougher when we rehearsed and went on to the sets. We shot in extreme humid and climatic conditions. Everything I learnt was on the sets,” states Vaishnav who has acted as a child artiste previously.
“Acting in a movie and seeing myself on massive hoardings was something that I had never imagined. I struggled to figure out my career for about three years before toying with the idea of joining the Army after graduation,” recalls Vaishnav. He then joined a Mass Communication course to become a journalist and later pursue filmmaking.
“I realized how tough it is to make a movie only after I visited a film set. I had lofty plans about my career during various phases of my life—photographer, astronaut, 3D animator and F1 racer. So, I couldn’t pursue anything. I struggled a lot internally. Finally, I decided to join the Army. I shed a lot of weight in the process. Around that time, some pictures I posted on Instagram got some attention and offers kept knocking at my door. But acting was never on my mind. Although I appeared in a couple of movies like Andarivadi, Johnny and Shankar Dada MBBS, I never wanted to take it up as a professional career,” says Vaishnav.
Passionate about craft
The rookie actor says his uncle, actor Chiranjeevi told him to give acting a try and leave it if things didn’t work out. “More than passion, I have a lot of love towards the craft. Each day before going to sleep, I would say to myself that I should give my best on the sets tomorrow morning. I landed two film projects of which I could successfully complete one. Even if I don’t click as an actor, I would prefer a desk job, pushing paperwork, and give my 100 percent effort to whatever I do,” says Vaishnav.
Vaishnav Tej says Uppena has a very divine point to connect with audiences. “Every filmmaker comes with a romantic story and plenty of films released in a weekend. I would say Uppena will stand apart.”
He is all praise for his co-stars though. “Krithi Shetty can pull off any scene, any emotion easily. I was shocked to see her speaking Telugu in just a week of coming to the sets. Vijay Sethupathy was like a brother to everyone, so humble…he never showed any signs of being a big star while working with the team,” he adds.