Tharun Bhascker Dhaassyam: Telugu Cinema Finds A New Star

Tharun Bhascker Dhaassyam: Telugu Cinema Finds A New Star

Tharun Bhascker Dhaassyam recently starred in Meeku Maathrame Chepta and his performance impressed many. Subhash K Jha speaks to him for Masala

Watching the Vijay Deverakonda produced game-changing black comedy Meeku Maathrame Cheptha one is  struck by its  leading man Tharun Bhascker Dhaassyam’s comic timing and  his skilled  swerves  into unexpected self-expressions. And  to think Tharun is  a reluctant actor!

“Oh absolutely! I didn’t want to be an  actor. Though I had done  a few small roles including one in  the Savithri  bio-pic Mahaniti,  that was more a random move than a planned  career in acting. Then  the script of this film Meeku Maathrame Cheptha came  along,”  says the affable director-turned-actor  who lost 17  kilos  to play  Rakesh  , the  clueless  bridegroom-to-be who on the eve of his wedding finds himself in an unsavoury controversy.\

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The film which  opened  on Friday has the audience taking to Tharun  in a big way. “I was so nervous. I didn’t know how  funny  audiences would find me.  On Friday I visited some theatres  to  see the audiences’ reaction and then  later, my wife (costume designer Latha Tharun Bhascker Dhaassyam)  told me I was  convincing in the  film. Only  then was  I reassured. Now I can sleep peacefully.”

Tharun  explains how  the  role came  to him by default. “The role was  offered to  my  dear friend Vijay Deverakonda. He couldn’t do it. So he  suggested my name. I don’t know how  or  why he was me suitable for a role offered to  him. At that time I  weighed a 105 kilos. Whatever potential I had as an actor was submerged in flab.”

Not  only did Vijay  persuade Tharun to  accept the  role  he also  agreed to produce Meeku Maathrame Cheptha.

Says  Tharun, “Vijay  couldn’t do the film.At the same time he didn’t want  to  let go of  the  project. He suggested that he produce it. The idea that  I lose weight for the role came in much later.Probably Vijay didn’t suggest  it  initially  as he knew I would  just run away  from the project. It  was director  Shammeer Sultan who knows exactly what he wants .He  suggested  I lose weight for the role.”

Tharun found himself  being reluctantly  put under the  weight-losing regime. “I had never in my life gone to a gym  or  restricted my diet. But I was persuaded  to lose 17 kgs.I don’t know  how I was tricked  into it. Now I feel  lighter healthier. After the  film’s release  Vijay said to me with a  smile, ‘Don’t stop going to the gym.’ I think  it was  always his game-plan  to make me  lose weight.Even when I was directing Vijay in  Pelli Chopullu he was concerned  because I’d be out of breath.”

Was Tharun tempted to direct the  director in Meeku Maathrame Cheptha? “No way! I didn’t want  to become one of those interfering actors that I hated. I focused entirely  on  my acting and let  Shammeer  Sultan do  his  job. He is so good at it!”

Now that  Tharun has tasted stardom  does he intend  to face the camera more often?

He shakes off the stardom. “It is amazing to get so much attention.But I know my vocation,  and  it’s  direction. I am destined to be behind the camera.So unless something outstanding  comes  up I’d not be  acting. My next project is a web series in Telugu with newcomers.” With a  film like Meeku Maathrame Cheptha completely  changing the movie-making language in Telugu  Tharun sees  the language barriers falling  of. “Regional is  now global and I am glad to be part  of that change.”

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