"I can't be compared to Balayya babu when it comes to his star power, so this is a huge learning opportunity," says Vijay about his Veera Simha Reddy stint
Duniya Vijay seems to be chasing after a new kind of high. Having emerged as an unlikely hero in Kannada Cinema about a decade-and-a-half ago, Vijay managed to create a niche of his own as an actor and also boast a considerably vast fanbase. And fortunately, his fans, too, have never really obligated him to pick a certain kind of role which has allowed him to explore different kinds of roles and opportunities over the years. One such is his mega Telugu debut Veera Simha Reddy, wherein he starred opposite the mighty Nandamuri Balakrishna as the main antagonist Musali Madugu Pratap Reddy. Despite the star power that he encountered, Vijay managed to stand his ground and command the respect of the Telugu cinema audience and the many million Balayya fans. "It's just God's grace," says the Salaga actor, choosing to remain humble about this new version of fame.
"I don't expect anything, to be honest, and would like to believe that your hard work pays off in some form or the other. I also have a lot of faith in the grace of God and of course, my mother's blessings are always with me. But I must thank the Telugu audience for receiving me the way they did - Gopichand (Malineni) sir, Balayya sir and Mythri Movie Makers, too, have been instrumental in this. Similarly, the media has been incredibly supportive and I would like to thank them for that," says Duniya Vijay in an exclusive chat with OTTplay.
But while he found success in the Kannada Film Industry primarily as a 'hero', one wonders if he had any reservations about playing a villain in a different language. And at the same time, does it take the pressure off an actor when they realize that someone else (Balakrishna, in this case) is doing the heavy lifting?
"Of course, it takes the pressure off because you can entirely focus on the performance. But I also look at it slightly differently. See, I can't be compared to Balayya sir or anyone in his position because they are all mighty big! And in every possible manner. So, when I get an opportunity to work with them, I would like to treat it as a blessing, or a stroke of luck, because you get to learn so much. And more importantly, I have always wanted to become a very good actor and I feel that I am still a 'work in progress'. You also get to learn so much when you work with these big guys - I saw that Gopichand sir, the director, has so much knowledge that I wasn't aware of and Balayya sir's dedication and concentration, the humility he carries - you hear so much about his supposed anger issues and all that but none of it is true. Plus, I saw that the Telugu Film Industry has immense respect for its writers. What I mean to say is that you get to learn a lot and in such scenarios, you can't have reservations about the kind of characters you portray," he adds.
With Veera Simha Reddy expected to do great business, one can also foresee Duniya Vijay scoring many more exciting opportunities in Telugu cinema. "I have already got two offers but I couldn't accept them because of my own directorial Bheema. But I can say with a lot of confidence and also gratitude that the Telugu Film Industry is my second home. Not because of the opportunities that are likely to come my way but because of the kind of reception I have gotten in the last few months. That has endeared me a lot," says Vijay.
Coming to Bheema, his second directorial, Duniya Vijay shares that he plans on resuming the final schedule of the film post his birthday on January 20th. "We have about 50 days to go but Bheema will definitely be a 2023 release," he assures.