Vijay Deverakonda: I don't like others dictating my life
The actor speaks his heart out about Geetha Govindam, turning singer, and what it’s like to get to realise childhood dreams
Vijay Deverakonda returns in a full-fledged role after the explosive Arjun Reddy with today's release, Geetha Govindam. The star who doesn't flinch from speaking his mind, talks about everything from his career to coping with stardom in this interview.
"I have been working without a break for quite sometime now. My shootings and promotions have been keeping me on my toes. The uninterrupted, hectic work schedule has in fact taken a toll on my health. I'm not been keeping well for a few days -- I underwent an eye surgery -- and I've been in a bad mood too. After Geetha Govindam's release, I want at least a week's rest. I'm not complaining. Even though I came to the industry to experience this phase, if I have to keep myself get going, I should get enough time to rejuvenate myself. As I'm young, my body is enduring this pain, but I shouldn't take it for granted."
"I'm still getting used to all the stardom and attention. When on my way for this interview, I noticed hoardings of mine (from Geetha Govindam) near KBR Park. I was wondering how they got here. Frankly, everything has happened so fast. I'm still feeling a bit uncomfortable. I know that things are beyond my control. I'm just going with the flow."
A dream come true
"I've been a confused soul since childhood. I'm comfortable making mistakes and have no problem taking the blame for my wrongdoing. But if someone tries to blame me for their mistakes, that I don't entertain.
Right now, I feel like I'm doing what I like the most. I realise nothing is permanent. Being an actor, everything I do is in an effort to reach a large audience. Launching a clothing line has been my childhood dream. I remember when I was in Class 7, my friend and I conceptualised a clothing brand called Lava with the tagline, ‘Feel the heat with it’. Everyone has a dream and to get to make it real is rare. Thankfully, cinema has given me a lot and I'm able to use my image to fulfil my dreams.”
The anti-thesis to Arjun Reddy
“Geetha Govindam is a hilarious entertainer that has me playing a character called Vijay Govind. When I watched the film in the edit suite, I realised that the story has universal appeal. My brother (Anand Sai Deverakonda) and my director Parasuram (Bujji)’s son, Avyaan, were in splits watching the film. It's a genre I never wanted to do as I'm comfortable doing only urban stories. But it was my producer, Bunny Vasu, who convinced me to sign it with an intent to connect me to a wider audience. My performance is a reflection of my director's conviction. As for my character, it's completely in contrast to the one in Arjun Reddy. The only similarity is that both these characters go out of their way to win their love. But the paths they choose are completely contrasting.”
Pain of delay
“My other film, Taxiwala, is a VFX-heavy film and in its post-production stage. We were not convinced with the first copy and hence, hired another company to fine-tune the CG portions. We waited for the work to be done at the earliest, but it's taking longer than expected. Meanwhile, Geetha Govindam got ready, and Allu Aravind gaaru wanted to release it. Although I am disappointed that Taxiwala is delayed, it’s not in my hands. When a film gets delayed, I know people from the industry feel it’s a bad omen. I have no such apprehensions though and know that will be a sure-shot hit if we get the release timing correct. It’s okay; life needs drama, and as I’ve said in the past, I’m a warrior.”
Childhood love for singing
“I love singing, but I never took it too seriously. I've great fascination for singers. I think rock stars and pop singers are the real stars as they perform before hundreds of people. When I was in school, I tried to learn classical music, but couldn’t pursue it as the classes overlapped with my cricket time. Now, I feel bad I did that.
In Geetha Govindam, I sang WhattheF' to my best potential. I sang it in 45 minutes. I didn't plan it and it just happened. As the song is raw and has a basic tune, I took it up. If you ask me to sing Inkem... Inkem Kavali…, I would tell you, Em matladuthunnav ra...(laughs). I know that they have trolled the song with lots of memes. I think one group of people got offended by the lyrics, and so, we have changed it with a new singer, but have retained my version for the overseas prints. So, people who enjoyed my singing in India will sadly not get it in Geetha Govindam here.”
Uncalled for advice
“I'm open to constructive criticism, but people should refrain from dictating terms to me. Whenever people make any attempts to decide things for me and try to tell me, ‘Nuvvu idhi cheyyaku, adhi cheyyaku’, I don't like it. Who are they to tell me what to do? My parents have raised me by giving me the freedom to take my decisions.”