Vijay Deverakonda is the name on the lips of every filmgoer. The actor, whose first film, Pelli Choopulu, won a National Award, has captured the imagination of critics and audiences alike with his latest Arjun Reddy. The affable actor has turned into a star overnight. Here are excerpts from a conversation with the candid actor:
You must be happy at the reception Arjun Reddy has got across South India.
I’m amazed. Many directors have called me and burst into tears while recollecting various scenes of the film. I have been getting the craziest messages and some abusive compliments too. (laughs) The vast majority wanted to hug me as they empathised with Arjun Reddy’s character. My upcoming film’s producers Geetha Arts, Minister KTR and Vamshi Paidipally—have hosted parties to our team. People are saying that the film will be remembered for a long time.
You seemed confident at the audio release that it would be a blockbuster hit.
When I listened to the script, I knew it would be a blockbuster. I liked how unabashedly Arjun Reddy is himself in the film. There’s an element of honesty and innocence that is part of who he is. Youngsters are calling it a cult classic.
Do you think this film has helped you truly arrive?
My admirers tell me that I’m in a safe zone and express confidence that I will continue to choose good cinema. I’m happy with how the film is performing at the box office but that doesn’t mean I’ll sit back. I’ll try different subjects and try to keep growing.
Preethi’s character is originally intimidated by Arjun Reddy and she doesn’t seem to have a choice in her love life.
If Preethi didn’t like Arjun Reddy, she would have slapped him. But she didn’t, and that’s where the story begins. Arjun Reddy is aggressive by nature. Eventually, she reciprocates and realises that he is the guy she wants to be with.
Any scene that was particularly challenging?
The follow-up scene after my scuffle with Kamal Kama Raju, who plays my brother in the film. He was not pleased with what I did in that scene. After several retakes, I gave up and told him that it can’t get any better. And then, we had an argument about it but that’s fine.
Some, including a veteran politician like V Hanumantha Rao, are saying the film is a bad influence on the youth.
The protagonist might inspire or influence people. But I think you can’t generalise everything. It’s a realistic film which gives Arjun Reddy’s character an opportunity to express himself. The film also has some good messages and a lot of filmmakers are happy about that. If you take the good, you will be productive. Millions have watched the film and understand it’s not misleading. I’m happy that people who don’t think so, are voicing their opinion. These things don’t irk me.
RGV called you the ‘Powerstar of Telangana’.
I’m not fond of such sobriquets. I’d rather people called me Vijay Deverakonda. I know that the other actors have earned their sobriquets with their hard work. After watching many films of Rajinikanth, the only title I’m fascinated about is Superstar, as it establishes him as a superhero. I will work real hard to get associated with such a label (laughs).
I have completed shooting for debutant director Rahul Sankrityayan’s film and I have also started working on a film with director Parasuram. I have also committed to doing a film for Pelli Choopulu’s producer, Yash Rangineni. The film will start rolling from December and is set in Kakinada. It marks the debut of Bharath Kamma as a director.