Vijay Deverakonda on life after Arjun Reddy: 'Want to do interesting films without worrying about expectations'
Vijay Deverakonda’s talks about upcoming movies Taxiwaala and Nota.
Vijay Deverakonda’s meteoric rise to stardom post the phenomenal success of Pelli Choopulu and Arjun Reddy has made him one of the most exciting actors of our times. Having already developed a strong fan base in a very short span of time, Vijay Deverakonda currently has a slew of interesting projects in his kitty. In this chat with Firstpost, he opens up about life after Arjun Reddy, why he didn’t mind playing a minor part in the Savitri biopic Mahanati and doing projects without worrying about the expectations audiences have from him.
Vijay still hasn’t come to terms with the success of Arjun Reddy, in which he played a surgeon who turns alcoholic after the girl he’s in love with is forced to marry someone else. Asked if the success of the film has changed him, he said: “It has changed my attitude towards choosing scripts. After a film like Arjun Reddy, I want to push boundaries with the projects I do. If you’ve asked me if I have changed as a person, I think I have, but it has to do with how things around me have changed. I’ve merely adapted to the changing circumstances. I was a different person when I was a struggling actor. I can’t be that same person today so I change. When you’re normal person, you’re dealing with just a few people in your life. As an actor, I have to deal with thousands of people and change is inevitable.”
He admits the post Arjun Reddy phase has brought in lot of expectations, but Vijay doesn’t let it bother him. “I don’t see the need to live up to expectations because people should understand every film won’t be another Arjun Reddy. I want to keep doing interesting films without having to worry about meeting expectations. I was part of Mahanati because I wanted to be involved in this prestigious project on the life of Savitri, despite knowing I was merely playing a supporting character.”
Talking more about Mahanati, in which he plays a character called Vijay Antony, he said that he accepted the offer because he knew such projects don’t get made often. “I also accepted the opportunity because (director) Nag Ashwin is a dear friend and he shaped my career when I worked with him in Yevade Subramanyam. At one point, I was offered the role of Gemini Ganesan because Dulquer (Salmaan) had problems adjusting his dates. Nag wanted me to take up the part. I was shooting for two films. Generally, I like to shoot one film at a time and I didn’t know if I could take up one more project and not do justice to it. Moreover, I've never played a character based on a real life person. I didn't know if I’d have time to prepare and play the character on screen. I was quite scared, and I wanted to say no, but I know I can't miss this opportunity. I didn't have the guts to do it. I also didn’t know how I could say no to the offer. Luckily, three days later Nag called and told me that Dulquer finally agreed to come on board.”
Vijay currently awaits the release of Taxiwaala, which is due to hit the screens in June. This year, he will also make his Tamil debut with Nota, which is being directed by Anand Shankar. “Right now, I’m focusing on projects in Telugu and Tamil. Any project I sign, I want to do it in Telugu because it’s the language I’m most comfortable with. I’m also looking at opportunities in Tamil because culture-wise it’s very similar to Telugu and the sensibilities of audiences across both the industries are more or less same.”
Talking about the experience of picking up a new language for Nota, he said it’s been very challenging but at the same time quite invigorating because of the whole experience. “When I’m shooting for Nota, there’s nothing more I could do after a day of shoot. It’s so exhausting because of the effort that goes into the project. In Telugu, you give me a three-page dialogue and I can it learn and finish the scene in three minutes. In Tamil, the same three-page dialogue takes me three days to prepare and deliver. There are some days where I ask myself why I am doing this. But only when you take risks, you can expect payback. I’m young and have the energy to do what it takes to step out of my comfort zone for the sake of a project.”
Vijay’s recent cut-throat remarks on various topics on social media have earned mixed response. Some call him an attention-seeker. “I say what I want to say. I can’t plan how people will react and then say something, can I? I believe in action and consequences. When I say something, I’m ready to face its consequences. When PM Narendra Modi announced demonetization, I wrote on my Facebook page that this man has ba***. This happened even before the release of Arjun Reddy. I said it because I believed in it. I can’t change how I am, my core. I want people to get used to how I am.”
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