The overnight stardom Pellichoopulu brought into his life has made Vijay Devarakonda more humble. Since his last year debut with Yevade Subramanyam, he was just another upcoming newcomer, but with the huge success of the small film, he is being showered with offers from a lot of big and small production houses. Vijay calls it the best phase of his life and career.
“I was busy with a shoot in Italy when Pellichoopulu released. I knew it was a good film and would be successful, but didn’t expect it to be this huge! I was nervous to face people back home as I didn’t know what to say,” recalls Vijay. “I was expecting at least four to five scripts, but now I am getting calls from all the big producers.
“My phone was flooded with hundreds of messages. I was surprised. The film was supposed to release on July 29 and I was being congratulated even before that. I later learnt that Suresh Babu has been showing the movie to everyone before the release and the word of mouth spread like wildfire,” he says.
Vijay also says that it was the script that interested him and not the production house or budget. “After Yevade Subramanyam, a few makers approached me, but I waited for the right script. I didn’t know Tharun Bhascker (director of Pellichoopulu) till he met me and narrated the story, which I readily accepted.”
The toughest part, however, was finding a producer. No producer was interested in the subject. “Since April last year, we have been working on the script till we got a producer. Finally, when we met Raj Kandukuri, he liked the subject, but had his own concerns. We convinced him that the film could be completed in `1 crore and producer Yash Rangineni too joined him.”
After the promo and trailer went viral, producer Suresh Babu too came on board.
In real life, Vijay and his father are friends, unlike in the film, where his dad is a bit aggressive.
“My father was worried about my career. When he saw me rejecting big producers as I didn’t like the script, he forced me to accept those saying that I had to take it to survive in the industry. But I told him that I would take up some other job if there was no movie coming my way. But now my father tells me to follow my instinct and agrees that I was right,” he says.
His upcoming film Arjun Reddy is an intense love story. “I have to lose weight for this character and since I don’t have enough money to appoint a personal fitness trainer, I somehow manage to train. I hope these things become easier in the future.” Vijay also has a commercial movie Dwaraka in his kitty.
However, Vijay had earlier wanted to pursue theatre and not movies. “During my graduation days, seven years back, I joined theatre and after my first play, Vijayendra Prasad approached me with a movie offer. A few more plays later, producer Suresh Babu and director Teja too approached me,” he recalls.
However, he felt he is not a perfect actor. “I had to learn a lot before taking up movies. If I had made my debut then, I would have ended up being an actor facing criticism for lack of skills.”
Interestingly, his “favourite actor” Dhanush had approached him with a role in his Tamil film after his debut. “But I didn’t like the script and politely refused.”
Does he fear being labelled as arrogant for rejecting so many scripts? “No, I am not arrogant. My criteria is the script... that’s how I work,” he clarifies.