Telugu Interviews

Vijay Deverakonda Interview: ‘I Don’t Care About Being Politically Correct’

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It might be a year since Vijay Deverakonda met you, but he will still remember to say hello and ask how you’re doing even if you’re in the midst of 20 people. He chooses projects with care, ensuring they do justice to his talent. And, his interactions with fans on social media are full of warmth and his trademark humour. Little wonder, he’s hugely popular among the classes and masses.

He is not just unconventional with his choice of films, he is unpredictable, saying things that will leave you very surprised. Sample this: “When Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced demonetization, I posted online that this man has got balls. If it was today, I am sure there would be a lot of reaction and discussion on that,” he says in his imitable cheeky style.

Of course, he has had his share of trolls on social media, most recently when he called actress Savitri, whose biopic Mahanati he was part of, a “cool chick”. People began criticising him for his newfound “attitude” and “arrogance”, but Vijay says: “I don’t care about being politically correct. A group of people handles my social media accounts, posting what I suggest. At times, I’m asked to not say a few things, but I end up doing just that. As for the ‘newfound’ attitude, I think people are misreading it. I was always like this. It’s just that before, I wasn’t popular enough for people to care!” he laughs, adding: “You never know what is the right thing to say. You can plan your words, but not the reaction that they will draw. I might assume that something will strike the right chord, but it won’t make any impact. Something unintended might become a sensation.”

Since Arjun Reddy became the blockbuster it did, everything Vijay has done or said has been subject to scrutiny. And, though he craved the name, fame and money, he didn’t quite sign up for the excessive attention. In fact, he says he’s waiting for the day when he doesn’t have to promote his films.

“I hope I reach a stage where people just walk into the theatres because I am in a film. This entire process of promoting films isn’t my cup of tea,” he rues. But, would that mean he will become inaccessible like many of today’s leading stars? “Not at all,” he replies. “I’d rather meet people and have a casual chat than promote my films.”

This people connect was evident even recently when the actor sent out three ice-cream trucks on his birthday, encouraging people to help themselves to a cool treat on a hot day.

Ironically, the actor does not quite like celebrating birthdays. “This life wasn’t even my choice. I was born only because my parents decided they want a child. I’d rather celebrate my work, my career and the things I have achieved,” he explains.

Meanwhile, the star is gung-ho about his latest release Mahanati, where he’s glad to have played a “supporting role”, even though he’s sure he would not have been in the film had Nag Ashwin not directed it or Vyjayanthi movies produced it. “I share a bond for life with them {it was their film Yevade Subramaniam that catapulted him into fame} and will do anything for them. In this film, I played a small part to tell a wonderful story,” he says. “I am glad that I am in a position where I can attract a sizeable number of the audience into theatres. If even a hundred people watched the film because of my presence, my job is done.”

Vijay now awaits the release of Taxiwaala, directed by Rahul Sankrityan. The film, which was to release in May, has been pushed to June. “If people want to watch a film for me, then after Arjun Reddy, it’s Taxiwaala that they’ll have to see. I am very happy with how it has turned out. I know that the hangover of Arjun Reddy is going to be around and that there will be expectations, but I can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again. I will keep doing different films and I wish the audience accepts me in a variety of roles.”

The Vijay Deverakonda interview is a Silverscreen exclusive.  

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