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Chocolate HERO

Award-winning child star to hero... it has been a smooth transition for Tarun

HE MAY not have set the box-office on fire with his two Tamil releases but he is making waves in Telugu cinema. Child star-turned-hero Tarun now hopes to win over the Tamil audiences as he considers Chennai his home.

Tarun is not new to the arc lights. He hails from a family of movie artistes. His mother is Rojaramani, who too made her debut as a child star in Telugu and Tamil films, including AVM's "Bhaktha Prahlada", while father Chakrapani has acted in Telugu and Oriya films.

Tarun made his first appearance on the big screen as one of the three children of Revathy and Raghuvaran in Mani Ratnam's "Anjali". And what's more, he won the National Award (he shared it with Baby Sharmilee and Baby Shruthi) for it.

"I remember, as we watched the news, the names of Sharmilee and Shruthi were announced in the Best Child Artiste category. I waited with bated breath. And finally my name too was announced. I thank Mani sir for this," recalls Tarun.

Not content with the National award, he went on to win international laurels too. The Sivan brothers' "Abhayam", directed by Sangeeth with Santosh wielding the camera, saw Tarun bag the Best Child Artiste award at the Furoshika Film Festival in Japan. "It was a great moment. I was thrilled to meet Jackie Chan at the festival."

After acting in scores of Tamil and Telugu films, the child star took a seven-year break to complete his studies.

Did he feel strange when he faced the camera after a long gap? "No. Actually, earlier I had done two commercials for Rajeev Menon (Fanta and Spinz)."

He continues, "The Telugu producer Ravikishore heard about the advertisements and offered me a role in "Nuvve Kavali", the Telugu remake of the Malayalam hit, "Niram." And I was back on familiar ground," smiles Tarun.

R. B. Chowdary introduced him to Tamil audiences with "Punnagai Desam", which did average business. And recently, Tarun was seen in "Enakku 20 Unakku 18", directed by A. M. Jothikrishna. However, after a dream debut, Tarun has not been able to recreate the magic of "Nuvve Kaavali". "You cannot expect every film to become a "Nuvve Kaavali". Sometimes, audiences can reject even a well-made film. But I have had more hits than flops and I am happy about it." He adds, "Acting as a child star was fun. Today, it is my profession. So, I take it more seriously and want to reach the top."

Tarun is taking a break for a few months before signing his next film. Perhaps the not-so-successful Telugu ventures "Ela Cheppanu" and "Nee Manasu Naaku Telusu" have made him a bit wary. Also, he seems to be stuck with the lover boy image. He says, "I am happy with that image. I am not in a hurry to change that either. But I would like to play different roles." So, what is he up to these days? "Just chilling out. I went to London with friends. I also work out a lot," smiles Tarun. A movie buff, he watches a movie a day, if he can. And of course, he loves playing cricket. In fact, one moment he cherishes most is when he opened the innings with Sachin Tendulkar at a charity match in Hyderabad recently.

As for his heroines, Tarun says he vibes well with Shriya, Trisha and Rima Sen. "We are all friends. It is like being with classmates in college."

Talking about his favourite director Mani Ratnam, he says with optimism, "I'd love to work with him again. I met him a couple of times. Maybe he will find a script for me one day."


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