Mini-Chat With

Vijay Devarakonda

More than a person, Vijay Deverakonda is now a brand. Be it the way he behaves, his acting chops, introducing his own garment crop or plainly just the way he tweets, there is something special about it. After the massive break with Arjun Reddy, Vijay has come through a journey that has more ups than downs, getting himself a widespread fan-base round the country. With his next release in Dear Comrade, Vijay Deverakonda will be returning as an angry young man to romance his Geetha Govindam co-star Rashmika once again. On the brink of the release, we catch up with the actor to chat about the road so far and hereon.

Vijay Devarakonda in Dear Comrade

There seems to be something that modelled you to be this way, enjoying every moment and making the most out of it. It could have been an incident in your childhood, or some advice that you had received on the way. Can you tell us what drives you and makes you the man that you are?

It is hard to put a finger on one thing. But I'm sure that every single thing from my childhood has impacted me in some way or the other - from the kind of home that I lived in, to the issues we faced, to the kind of the upbringing, to something some teacher must have said, to one of my friends having a sharpener that I couldn't have, a film I saw in a cinema, some article about an actor buying an island and so on. A lot has happened over these 28 years, but a whole bunch of tiny things bring me to where I am. It's all about slightly changing your head and seeing what you want, that's most important.

But how much of this has changed or channeled itself after your entry into cinema? You took baby steps into the industry at first and then became a part of such a big blockbuster. Does success bring pressure as well?

Pressure, not so much. But definitely, success gives you the drive to unleash more of you. When I had one film's success, I attended to it. After two or three films got onto the positive side, I decided to open a clothing line. You get the confidence in yourself to pull off stuff. The thing with me is that I tend to unleash a little early. I don't usually wait for things to happen, and rather push and take immediate steps. It's like a trigger, and I click it even before I'm ready. Sometimes, it is too early but then you have to make sure it hits the bull's eye, and go forward with sleepless nights trying to make things work. This is life.

But then, it's always not a smooth road and there are many humps and bumps on the way. How do you pick yourself up when you get bobbed down?

You just have to. There's no other option. Learning is forever, when it comes to acting, cinema in general or even handling things in life. NOTA taught me a lot of things yes, but it's not just that and I believe every film that you do brings you the learnings subconsciously. It's also important to sit down and retrospect on what went right and what could have gone better.

I was actually blown away by that note you put out few days after the release of NOTA. I never thought anybody in the south would have the balls to do that.

I don't exactly remember what I wrote, but it was just my bunch of emotions on that day. These are the kinds of things that you can't point out whether they are right or wrong. It was in me, and I didn't want to hold it in. I just told myself to go ahead and put it out, rest we shall see later.

What is so special about Dear Comrade and why is it important at this turn of your career?

Dear Comrade is a honest story. This is a film that could have been done in three to four crores, but we made it in 30 crores, including all the languages. It could have even been pushed to 60, but we felt this was right. It is not a film of scale, but of emotions. A boy, a girl and the fight for what you love, that's all the film is about. Our cinematographer, music director, editor and our heroine all come from different industries, and we thought that it would be better if it came out in all the languages.

When you see the film, you will realize that you knew a guy like Bobby. Also, every girl that I know has had a journey like Lilly. It's overwhelming how we have received such a towering response across all the South Indian states. We also have had enquiries from the north, but this is a film that has a lot of south in it. We have put in a lot of effort for the music across all the languages and the dubbing as well.

You have done Arjun Reddy which is a very loud, angry character. Dear Comrade's trailer also brings us signs of the same man, bashing up people and losing his temper. Where do you draw the line and how are these characters different from each other?

Vijay Devarakonda in Arjun Reddy

Of course, when it comes to the anger, there will be a subtle overlap. At some places, you will find some similarities. But overall, their characters, journeys and conflicts are all very different. Suddenly, you might be reminded of Arjun Reddy. But on the whole, you will not remember Geetha Govindam (even though it has me and Rashmika) and Arjun Reddy. I've been asked a lot of questions about anger and kissing. I don't know if any other actor is asked this. I really think that it is because of the impact that Arjun Reddy had created, and soon, I will have to come out of it and deliver other images that stick in your head. That's what I have do hereon.

One thing's for sure. Vijay Deverakonda is thoroughly sorted about what he's doing, and his graph from this point is more likely to go upwards alone. We hope that the actor can rise his standards once again with Dear Comrade, and we will know the truth when the film arrives on Friday. Fingers crossed!

Related Links