Movies | Music | Masti Close Aha Ad
Movies | Music | Music


'Operation Valentine' is about how an aerial strike was pulled off: Varun Tej


'Operation Valentine' is slated to hit the cinemas on March 1. Based on the stratagems deployed by the Indian Air Force during the Balakot airstrike in 2019, the film has Varun Tej as a military man. In this interview, the 'Ghani' and 'F3' actor talks about the strengths of the aerial actioner to be released simultaneously in Telugu and Hindi.

Sony Pictures has been making films with a national appeal. War films have been coming out from the banner increasingly. They are good at marketing spend and that's why the Hindi release of 'Operation Valentine' has been taken care of ably. Their distribution network in Hindi is vast. I hadn't planned to debut in Hindi. Sony Pictures' entry made it possible to shoot each and every scene separately in Telugu and Hindi. The working days were 75 in number. I took Hindi classes for two months to understand the right diction. I practiced the emotional lines. I have dubbed for my character but I don't know whether it will be retained (laughs).

When you do a film like 'Operation Valentine', there has to be a leap of faith at some level. Director Shakti's belief and conviction, vast research and knowledge filled faith in me. By the time he met me, he had even contacted a few IAF officers. He made a short film on the Balakot airstrike a few years ago. It went viral. Even the IAF appreciated him for putting in authentic research. He was promised help in the future if needed.

The Pulwama carnage took place on 14 February 2019. India's pacifist stance was jettisoned. India retaliated strongly by launching the Balakot airstrike. It's believed that about 350 terrorists who were living in the Balakot camp were annihilated. While the Pulwama carnage was a black day, we gave a strong answer to the perpetrators. And the answer is code-named Operation Valentine. Soldiers love their country. And this love is what makes them Valentines. Their love is not for humans but for their motherland. The original name was Operation Bandar. Due to legal reasons, we changed the name. Using the word 'Valentine' has made the audience curious.

My character Rudra is fictional. He represents many military men, their traits and their fitness.

The film is partly fictionalized. The backstories of the IAF officers have been imagined. Due to the classified nature of the airstrike, not everything is known to the world. Patriotism is relatable to all. It is resonant with every single Indian. The plot is purely based on the Pulwama Attack and India's retaliation. The clash between the militaries of the two nations is what the film is about. Two air forces clashing head-on is a rare thing. Twenty minutes into the film, the action begins.

Manushi Chhillar is focused. She is determined to prove herself. She has seen the peaks in the pageant world but doesn't rest on her laurels.

Mickey J Meyer's background score will be liked by the audience. Our previous collaboration didn't yield the expected result. It was director Shakti's choice to choose him. The songs are emotional, carrying the underlying feelings.

There is a lot of VFX in the movie. I have previous experience imagining things on set, thanks to 'Antariksham'. With 'Operation Valentine', the visualization was far more. I got to use a simulator for a week to understand how fighter flights are operated. I got to experience the take-offs, etc. Again, this was possible thanks to the cooperation extended by the IAF. Pre-production is primary for films like this. Extra shots would result in a waste of monetary resources if those wasteful shots were sent to the VFX teams. The director planned everything perfectly.

We got to attend a couple of parties hosted by IAF officers. They are jovial individuals once they are out of their day's work. They accept the ultimate fate called death. Many of them experience death from close quarters. They have a close shave with death. After all this, they don't worry about small things. They understand the value of life like nobody else.

I got married after the shoot of 'Operation Valentine' was completed (in October last year). I didn't have any holidays and other distractions during the shoot.

In 'Gandeevadhari Arjuna', the characterizations were not strong. In retrospect, I feel the audience couldn't invest in the lead man and his mission. With films like 'GA' and 'OV', what is crucial is the emotional connection. The audience must see the fight from the perspective of the protagonist. In this regard, the backstory is paramount.

I don't do every single film for the sake of money. 'Antariksham' is one of the examples. Some films have to be done out of passion. I did 'Fidaa' at a time when I was not too enamoured of love stories.

Chiranjeevi garu attended the pre-release event as the chief guest. He was not invited to my film events for many years. This time, we invited him because 'Operation Valentine' is that of a film. Someone of his stature speaking about the film would be a special thing.

'Matka', my next film, will tell the origins of the gambling game. It will also explore the social and economic ramifications of the menace. At its core, it is a commercial action drama. These days, the audience's tastes are changing fast. There are many stories coming my way. But I am going slow. Quality has to be prioritized. After Covid-19, this is a lesson I took time to grasp.

Updated on February 27, 2024