Tej Charanraj, who has been in the shadow of his father - well-known south Indian actor Charan Raj, is looking forward to that right launch in Kannada. And he is all set to star in Chandan Raj’s debut directorial, touted to be an action thriller.
Tej, who has made a mark in Tamil with a handful of films, made a cameo appearance in Kannada director, Manju Mandavya’s last film, Shri Bharatha Baahubali. However, he is aspiring to make a mark as a full-fledged hero here, says Tej, “The cameo in Shri Bharatha Baahubali was an accident. Manju Mandavya, who is a close friend of my dad, happened to see my pics and was keen to cast me. It was there that I met Chandan Raj, who worked as a co-director for the film. He was looking at making his directorial debut and pitched his story idea in a way that appealed to me. The film is now ready to go on floors,” says Tej, who also adds that Chandan’s script has elements based on real-life events.
Tej has been getting ready for role the last one year and is working on perfecting it, as well as getting fluent with his Kannada diction. “As a Maharashtrian, my parents resided in Chennai and we would be in Bengaluru mostly during summer holidays. Though I understand and speak Kannada, I am making sure that I get the diction right. Secondly, my dad has a huge legacy in Kannada films. Having started his career in Sandalwood as a lead actor, he holds a good name here to this day. Being his son, it is my duty to try and be as perfect as him. But that’s taking time,” he says.
Tej, who has a good amount of work in the Tamil industry, says it might not come in handy when he gets to be launched in Kannada or any other language. “I thought it would be easy until the director explained that the taste of Kannada audience and their expectations are completely different from a Tamil audience. What works in Tamil will not work in Sandalwood. Chandan has asked me to watch a lot of Kannada films to understand the pulse of the audience. So starting in Kannada will be something new in my career. Luckily, this pandemic lockdown has given me time to do my homework,” he says.
Growing up, Tej says his father kept him away from the limelight, and wasn’t allowed to accompany his father for shoots. As he makes his entry here, he’s keeping in mind a piece of advice from his father: Make mistakes and only then one can learn. “Being a director’s actor and maintaining discipline has been his motto, which he wants me to follow,” says Tej, who aims to justify his father’s stardom. “Being a star’s son, talk about nepotism is bound to crop up. However, I hope people watch my performance rather than assuming I got it easy,” he says.