Vijay Deverakonda: I want to rule Indian cinema
The actor opens up about taking a break from love stories, tackling trolls and exploring new territory in this candid conversation
Vijay Deverakonda’s a rank outsider who's made rapid inroads into cinema. His good looks, and a strong conviction in being different, has captured the imagination of audiences across the country. And now, as he awaits his Valentine’s Day release, World Famous Lover, he talks of wanting to change things a bit.
Last love story?
'World Famous Lover is one of the hardest films I have done in my career. This will be the last time I will appear in a love story in my career. And so, I wanted it to be filled with all kinds of love. I have played three different avatars in the film and portraying them was emotionally draining and physically exhausting. These characters belong to different social classes, and have contrasting personalities and temperaments. While one story is set against the backdrop of Hyderabad, another is set in Paris, and the last and the most emotional one is based in Yellandu, Telangana.'
The lungi look
'I enjoyed playing Seenayya, a middle-class mine worker; I also think Aishwarya Rajessh's character, Suvarna, is pretty great. I didn’t have to prepare much for Seenayya’s role, and figured out the look and body language on the sets. However, I took just half a day to complete the first shot. I will be seen wearing a lungi in a few scenes. I have worn it as my father used to when I was a child. Also, I also enjoyed doing the other story where the love story is between me and the Brazilian model, Izabelle Leite. As I can never be in a real relationship with a foreign air hostess, this is the closest I’ll get I think. The love story involving Raashi Khanna will be very relatable for youngsters.’
The main conflict in love
‘The girls in the film played by Raashi Khanna, Aishwarya Rajessh, Catherine Tresa and Izabelle Leite believe that there’s divinity, compromise, and sacrifice in love. The conflict here is that the protagonist doesn’t think so. Kranthi Madhav has made a unique film and his writing is really good. Initially, we contemplated Priyam and Mumbai Theeram as the titles, before finally settling on World Famous Lover. There is a justification for this title and you will get to know about it on February 14.’
Flattered by the comparison
‘People have been saying that World Famous Lover looks similar to Arjun Reddy. Whenever I sport a beard in a film, they start comparing it to Arjun Reddy, which is a film I can never forget in my lifetime. Perhaps the audience too liks it so much; this is why they are unable to take it off their mind. One of the love stories in World Famous Lover may remind you of Arjun Reddy, but if you think about it, it isn't actually similar. If the audience had compared an upcoming film of mine with a flop, I would have been hurt. But as long as they compare it with a blockbuster like Arjun Reddy, I feel flattered.’
‘I love trolls. I like being a topic of interest; I’d urge others to enjoy the trolling. People are spending quality time to create memes and captions about, say, my fashion sense or films. Perhaps I am giving trolls sleepless nights. It appears that I’m featuring in their wildest dreams.’
A new path
‘I can see myself changing and I am entering a new phase in my career. You will get to know more about this in the coming months. Hereafter, I want to surprise my fans with a new experience with every one of my release. I want to hit a six, and now, the ball is in the air. I want to fulfill everyone’s wishes and try and live up to their expectations. In fact, let me just say, I want to rule Indian cinema.’
‘There’s nobody to help me in the industry. I do everything on my own and I feel happy when it’s this way. I am just doing my job and I worked way too hard to get here. I didn't get this easily. Only I should take responsibility for my failures and successes.’
The Pan-Indian dream
‘I have started shooting for my first Pan-Indian film with Puri Jagannadh. The excitement makes me feel butterflies in my stomach; I’m really nervous. It’s madness and you feel it. I underwent a drastic physical transformation and have been working round the clock to pull off the character of a fighter. The film will be shot simultaneously in Telugu and Hindi, and will be dubbed into other regional languages as well. Besides Telugu, I am planning to dub my lines in Hindi as well.’
The good life
‘Everyone tried to pull me back when I wanted to be an actor. They said I would never make it big. From childhood, we have been growing up in constant fear. I am still living in fear. Nevertheless, I want to face it and prove a point to my detractors. Whether it's about doing my kind of films at a regional/pan-India level, or producing a film, or launching a clothing line or having a home (in Jubilee Hills), I am living my dream. I am trying to change a generation, and if you notice, the children between 10-15 years love me for what I am today. I want them to shun their fears and live their dreams. I may not always be in control, I may be unable to grasp what I am doing now, but down the line after 15-20 years, let us look back and analyse what happened.’