Vijay Deverakonda opens up on his next film World Famous Lover, and why he’s done with romantic films
Vijay Deverakonda confirms that his upcoming film, World Famous Lover, is going to be his last love story on screen, but there’s more coming as he enters the next phase in his life.
Vijay Deverakonda might have channelised his rage and devil-may-care attitude into numerous roles post Arjun Reddy, but off-screen, every conversation with him sounds more like engaging with his stream of consciousness.
He pauses a bit too much as if he’s framing his thoughts to make logical sense.
Every word he says is measured, and more often than not, he goes astray and rambles about things you don't expect him to say.
For instance, while talking about his upcoming romantic film, World Famous Lover, he stops his explanation mid-way and says, “I don’t know if I’m making any sense. If people read this, they might not even want to watch the film (laughs).”
In another instance, when he’s asked if the title of the film itself sounds self-indulgent, the actor quips, “I don’t care what the title of my film is as long as the bookings are good.”
Perhaps, the only thing that’s unequivocal about Vijay Deverakonda is that he doesn’t conform to anything. He’s among the very few Telugu actors who took a shot at releasing his films in other languages, started a new clothing line, and now he’s all set to make his debut in Hindi with Puri Jagannadh’s next, an unlikely feat for an actor who nearly went unnoticed until five years ago.
“I guess I’ve been quite overconfident right from my childhood. So, when someone says that I can’t do a certain thing for whatever reason that might be, I don’t listen to them. It really makes me angry,” Vijay explains, adding, “Few years ago, when I went abroad for the first time in my life, I realised how socially awkward we are to engage in conversations. And I believe that it all begins from our childhood where we are told to not do things, or behave in a certain way. When I wanted to be an actor, I was told that it’s risky and won’t pay off, and more so because my father’s career in cinema didn’t take off. We have been mentally trained to grow up in fear. Of course, I’m really scared when it comes to doing something for the first time, but the point is to face it and prove to yourself that it’s possible to do whatever you want to do. I see it more as my duty to change the mindset of kids in the 10-15 age group. I hope that they grow up wanting to be themselves and what they want. Otherwise, they’ll always be in a state of fear.”
For someone who talks so much about conquering fear, Vijay took a lot of people by surprise recently when he announced that he’s done with romantic films, for now. His upcoming film, World Famous Lover, directed by Kranthi Madhav, is going to be his last love story for the time-being.
“I go through these phases in life where I don’t feel like doing some stuff anymore. Even when it comes to my clothes, there was a phase where I would wear a lot of colourful outfits, but now, I’m more into muted colours. Similarly, when it comes to my films too, I feel like I’ve changed as a person in recent times, and quite early into World Famous Lover’s shoot, I felt that this is going to be my last romantic film. I’ve done a bunch of them starting from Pellichoopulu to Geetha Govindam, and then from Arjun Reddy to Dear Comrade. I know what kind of stories that I want to do in the next couple of years, and you’ll see a new me in about 3 months from now,” Vijay confesses.
“I try to hit a six with every film I do. Right now, I know that the ball is in the air, and on February 14, when my film releases, I’ll have to see where that ball lands.”
The film also stars Raashi Khanna, Catherine Tresa, Aishwarya Rajesh, and Izabelle in lead roles, and the trailer left everyone wondering if it’s going to be yet another film where Vijay Deverakonda turns into Arjun Reddy. The constant comparisons with Arjun Reddy, however, don’t bother him, he says. “I’m happy that every time I do an intense role, it’s compared to Arjun Reddy. The latter was a huge hit and it left a big impression on people’s mind. I should be worried if the comparison was made with a flop film. To be honest, World Famous Lover is a different romantic film compared to what I’ve done in the past. The crux of the film is that Yamini (the character played by Raashi) tells me that I don’t understand what love is and that love includes a lot of sacrifice, compromise, and divinity. Whether he believes in it or not is something you’ll have to see. This was one of the most physically and emotionally challenging films I’ve done in recent times. We had to shoot in summer in the coal mines in Kothagudem, and then for another track, I had to grow my beard and dig deep into my emotional side, and then we had to wait for a long time to shoot in France. It’s been a satisfying experience for me and I hope people also like it,” Vijay explains.
One of his favourite segments in the film is set in Yellandu, a town in Kothagudem district in Telangana, where he plays Seenayya, a coal-mine worker, who’s married to Suvarna, played by Aishwarya Rajesh. “The relationship they share,” Vijay says, “is quite pure and honest. I have no exposure to that sort of lifestyle and upbringing. There are still quite a few young women, especially in small towns and villages, who are told who they are going to marry, how to be an obedient wife, and how she shouldn’t hurt a man’s ego. It was a new experience playing Seenayya. He has to walk and talk in a different manner which I am not used to, and I think I picked up a lot of mannerisms of my father to play this character. And in stark contrast to this track is that of a flamboyant young guy in France who woos a foreigner. Then, there’s a college love story. Of course, there’s a connection between all these stories, and Kranthi Madhav has explored all that in a different manner.”
At the film’s pre-release event, the film’s producer, KS Rama Rao went on record saying that Vijay Deverakonda was a huge pillar of support for Kranthi Madhav to make this film. Ask Vijay what his thoughts are and he brushes it off saying that, of late, a lot of people have been giving him way too much credit. “The truth is that it’s all survival tactics. I don’t have a system in place where things are taken care of automatically without my intervention. I’ve mostly worked with first time directors in my career, and I like collaborating with them on multiple aspects. I can’t just sit there, act, and leave. Moreover, since I’ve also gotten into production, I feel like taking up a lot more responsibility than what I am expected to do. You could say that I’m a control freak, in a way, but I feel that I’m better off being that because I can take up ownership of all my successes and failures.”
Meanwhile, all eyes are on already on his upcoming film with Puri Jagannadh, which has him playing a mixed martial arts fighter. The actor spent some time in Bangkok to prepare for the character, and it’ll also mark his debut in Hindi with Karan Johar coming onboard to release the Hindi version. “After a long time, I can feel the excitement of going to shoot every single day. It’s going to be mental, in a good way,” Vijay Deverakonda signs off.
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