Telugu star Varun Tej’s first pan-India film Operation Valentine where he plays an Indian airforce pilot is on the verge of release on March 1.

Varun shows no outward signs of nervousness as he speaks on the slick-looking airborne war thriller. “I have been waiting for this day since I first heard the script.We are quite confident about how the film has shape.It’s the most ambitious project in my career till date..And technically very challenging.Our Team has been working day and night to deliver the best output and to give the audience a superb cinematic experience.”

Varun also spoke about his challenges to prepare for the role. “There were two aspects of prep for this role.One is the mandatory physical aspect of it to look like a fighter pilot which I really believe does half the job.For that, hitting the gym getting on a well-balanced diet and my main goal to was too look very agile and not too muscular.And the other aspect of getting into the shoes of a fighter pilot to behave ,talk and walk like one. Manushi Chillar and I were lucky enough to have met some real life fighter pilots and to have interacted with them for a really significant amount of time, definitely picked some nuances and body language and other aspects from them.”

About the much talked-about action sequences in Operation Valentine Varun comments. “They were more of a challenge to the director and the action choreographer and the DOP(director of photography).There is obviously lot of physical strain while shooting the action sequences but I absolutely loved filming them.It was tough but fun!

Varun admits Operation Valentine went through its share of delays “We had the normal hiccups that a project of this magnitude would have. From the beginning my director Shakti Prasad Singh Hada and I were determined to shoot in actual air bases and war locations, for which we sought and got the consent of the MOD(department of defence) and IAF(Indian air force) . Since the film is about the IAF we wanted the Indian army’s approval and appreciation.We had sent the script of Operation Valentine to them at a very early stage and got their feedback . We had to match our shooting timelines with the MOD and the IAF. I mean, if you want to take a crew of 200 and shot in an airbase you have to follow strict protocol, regarding security checkups, etc. That caused a little delay and we couldn’t hit the December 8 release schedule. We were also lagging behind because we want the VFX to be just right. Delays apart, we are happy with our endproduct.”

As for the comparisons with Hrithik Roshan in Fighter, Varun shrugs, “Obviously the comparison pops up because they both are aerial combat films and inspired by the same events.I obviously cannot talk for that film.But Operation Valentine is our own interpretation of what happened in 2019 at Pulwama.But I’m glad more films are being made on our armed forces.I’m pretty confident about the output and I’m sure everyone will resonate with the emotion in the film.And I hope our intention behind making Operation Valentine , to show the courage and valour of the Indian air force , is conveyed .”