Vijay Deverakonda on life after Arjun Reddy, Pellichoopulu: Still coming to grips with my stardom

The success of Pellichoopulu and Arjun Reddy, two of the most memorable and successful Telugu films in recent years, have made its lead hero Vijay Deverakonda a self-made star with a very strong fan base, even outside Telugu states, in a short span of time. In this chat with Firstpost, he talks about his latest release Geetha Govindam, why he still has not had the time or chance to absorb his career’s growth curve and how he handles criticism, especially when people confuse his brutal honesty for recklessness.

Vijay Deverakonda. Facebook
Vijay Deverakonda. Facebook
It is nearly a year since the release of Arjun Reddy and it goes without saying that Deverakonda is nothing short of a phenomenon among his fans. So much has happened in the past year in his life, he says he has not absorbed all of it yet. “Honestly, I haven’t had the time to process what’s been happening. People say that I belong to a different league, but I’m yet to come to grips with stardom. I’ve been so occupied with my work; I haven’t had the time to even absorb everything. But, I’m very much aware that all this temporary; it’s just a phase.”

Vijay is not afraid to make mistakes at the pace at which his career is progressing. “It’s normal to make mistakes. I will bear the consequences of only my mistakes, not of someone else. I can’t deal with the mistakes of others.” However, he confesses that the pace at which he has been working over the last few months has affected his health. “The last few months have been crazy. I’ve been working non-stop; there’s no breathing space. I will take a week off just to eat and sleep post the release of Geetha Govindam.” He also clarified that he has no complaints about being busy. “I’ve craved for this busy lifestyle. But I’ve recently learnt that in order to continue working at this pace, I need to take control of my health. I keep thinking that I’ve taken too much work load. Post Pellichoopulu, work has been progressing at unbelievable pace. Sometimes I feel I’m playing catch up with my own career.”

Despite his busy work schedule, Vijay took time off to launch his own clothing line. Is this his way of reaching out to his fans and staying connected, and building a bigger fan base? “As a seventh standard kid, I wanted to start a clothing company with a close friend. We even decided to call it ‘Lava’ with the tagline ‘Feel the Heat Within’. That dream has become a reality now. If I were working in a bank, I don’t think I can launch a clothing line. Cinema has given me access to a lot of things and due to which I can do things I’ve always wanted to do in my life.”

As the conversation veered towards Geetha Govindam, Vijay said he was not really interested in doing a family entertainer. “There’s no denying that I love watching family entertainers and some of my favorite Telugu films are Manmadhudu, Malliswari and Nuvvu Naaku Nachav. My mom would love to watch films in that genre. But I wasn’t too keen to do films in that space because anyways other actors are doing. It was producer Bunny Vas who suggested that I do films that will garner wider reach and not just urban-centric films for niche audiences. His words really didn’t have any impact on me until I saw the response to the film’s promos, and that’s when I realised what he meant.”

The film marks the debut of Vijay as a singer. As much as he enjoyed singing and describes the experience as “fun”, it did not stop the meme creators from getting very personal. Vijay is open to criticism as long as people do not advice him. “It’s absolutely fine to comment. It’s fine to say that I’m a bad singer. But I hate it when people decide on my behalf. Who are these people to tell me what to do and how to live my life? Who are they to ask me to not sing,” he said, on a concluding note.