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Vijay Deverakonda on making it big in Telugu cinema: 'Probably the single hardest thing I've had to do in life'

The actor, who is gearing up for Liger, also spoke about the journey of his first film as a solo lead, Pelli Choopulu.

Vijay Deverakonda on making it big in Telugu cinema: 'Probably the single hardest thing I've had to do in life'
Vijay Deverakonda/Instagram
  • Aishwarya Vasudevan

Last Updated: 03.45 AM, Aug 10, 2022


Vijay Deverakonda has been known as Arjun Reddy since the time he played that titular role in 2017. The young star's breakthrough in Telugu cinema took everyone by surprise, as the entertainment industry is known for nepotism to the core. During a group media interaction for Liger, Deverakonda was quizzed about his journey of surviving the Telugu film industry, and the actor called it the single hardest thing he had to do in his life.

The actor stated, "It's not easy, like if somebody wants to attempt it. This is probably the single hardest thing I've had to do in life, to just find a platform where your voice is heard and you can be seen as an actor. It's really hard.

He further thanked his stars by saying, "I've begun to feel before I used to think it was all my doing. I am spiritual, but I have never believed in luck or God. I was like, 'This is my life. Whatever I do, I put in work and I get rewarded for it.' But recently I've begun to feel like there is some bigger hand watching over me because some of these things I feel cannot be one person's doing."

On being quizzed about his journey, Deverakonda shared, "I did theatre first. When I finished theatre, I thought if I announced I wanted to become an actor, all the producers would line up, but suddenly I realised that you can't even get the attention of anybody."

He spoke about getting more plays than films, further stating, "When I used to do plays, I would have three theatre groups waiting for me, saying, 'Do our play.' I did one more, and I was offered three more plays. I did six plays like that back to back. So I thought if I said all directors will also come and producers will come, or I'll debut and I'll become an actor. But suddenly, when I wanted to become, I realised there was nowhere to go. Whom do I talk to? Nobody's looking. Then there were these film websites back home where they used to announce audition calls if somebody was launching newcomers. So every day, I think every struggling actor and everybody who wants to be an actor is looking for a break. This was the only job from morning to night."

Talking about getting spotted by filmmaker Sekhar Kammula, Deverakonda revealed, "Then from one of my plays, somebody spotted me. I played a small role. Then I got a casting call from a big director named Sekhar Kammula. I went to his casting call, I got an audition, and I played a supporting role. Then again, it was one year of no work. But there was an assistant director in that film, who went on to become a director. He wanted to debut in a small film, and he bonded with me while I was doing research for this role. He really wanted me in his film. That gave me my first secondary role, so I was like the second lead, but it was a decent-sized role. That movie became a hit, and I thought, 'Now I have arrived, now the stories will line up again for me'."

The Geetha Govindam actor also spoke about the journey of his first film as the solo lead, the National Award-winning film Pelli Chooplu. He said, "People wanted me for more supporting roles, but I didn't want to do that. I was like, 'I'm meant for something big. I don't want to do this.' So I waited, and then I and my friends made a film called Pelli Choopulu. We completed it for Rs 60 lakhs. None of us took any money. We raised some money from two investors, Rs 30–30 lakhs each. We've decided we'll make the film, and 'if you break even, you pay us some money.' We made Pelli Choopulu and it was a struggle to release it. We went around to every production house showing the film, asking people to help release it. There was one particular producer who saw it and liked it and decided to help us release it. Then that film was released. It opened to very small numbers but went on to make something like Rs 25-30 crores and became a hit. It got a national award, and that launched me. "

"Suddenly, everybody knew me and that was my first film as a solo lead, released in 2016, then came Arjun Reddy in 2017. I've never been out of work since then," concluded Deverakonda.