Varun Tej to Star in India Air Force Action Film for Sony

South Indian star Varun Tej is to head the cast of a patriotic air force action thriller backed by Sony Pictures International Productions. The untitled picture will begin filming from November.

Tej, known locally as ‘Mega Prince,’ has his roots in the Telugu-language regional film industry and achieved fame with the Krish-directed “Kanche” in 2015. With the new picture, he will be making his debut in a film in Hindi, the default language of Bollywood. Production will take place in Hindi and Telugu versions.

Jointly produced by SPIP and Renaissance Pictures, the film will be directed by Shakti Pratap Singh Hada – a seasoned commercials maker, cinematographer and VFX aficionado who will be making his directorial debut with this film. Written by Shakti Pratap Singh Hada, Aamir Khan and Siddharth Raj Kumar, the movie will be shot in Telugu and Hindi simultaneously. A release is expected in cinemas in 2023.

SPIP calls the project “a patriotic, edge-of-the-seat entertainer [that] will showcase the indomitable spirits of our heroes on the frontlines and the challenges they face as they fight one of the biggest, fiercest aerial attacks that India has ever seen.”

Tej also riffed on the patriotic elements. ““I am honoured to have received the opportunity to play the role of an Indian Air Force Officer and celebrate their valour on the big screen. “We [will] strive to make a film that we hope will be a perfect tribute to the Indian Air Force,” he said in a statement. “The script for this film provides a challenge to break out of my previous roles. As an (IAF)officer, my character has layers that will be interesting for me to showcase. I will be undergoing immense training and I am excited to see how the audiences react to this one.”

Sony Pictures International Productions, co-headed by Shebnem Askin and Michael Rifkin, is the local-language production arm of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Motion Picture Group that releases over 30 films annually across 12 territories around the world.

The studio says the story is based on true events, but it does not identify which ones. India has fought three wars with its neighbor Pakistan and regularly skirmishes with China over regional influence issues in the Himalayas. In both instances, sections of India’s borders are poorly defined.

Patriotism and war action films are currently popular worldwide. “Top Gun Maverick” is the highest-grossing film of the year and the biggest ever film for Paramount. In China, “Battle at Lake Changjin” and its sequel “Water Gate Bridge” have grossed a combined $1.5 billion. And currently on release in Malaysia, “Air Force The Movie: Selagi Bernyawa” is performing strongly.

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