Heartthrob of millions and a leading star of Telugu cinema, Vijay Deverakonda announced last year that he won’t be appearing in love stories any more. He started his career in films in 2011 and has acted in over 17 films so far with some of them like Pelli Choopulu (2016), Arjun Reddy (2017) and Geetha Govindam (2018) setting the box office on fire. It was Arjun Reddy, where he played the role of a violent surgeon bent on self-destruction, that catapulted him to superstardom.

Also read: ‘Being on social media is a requirement to survive as an actor’: Vijay Deverakonda

In 2019, Deverakonda, who doesn’t like the word “fan”, was the most-searched actor in south Indian films on Google.

Opoyi caught up with the 31-year-old actor. Excerpts from the chat with him:

Opoyi: What was the reason to take a break from love stories?Vijay Deverakonda: I want to explore all kinds of stories and not continue doing the same type of stories all the time. If we keep travelling only on the beaten path the audience won’t accept it.

Opoyi: What do you feel about the fame you got?

VD: What else can I expect when all the people are talking about me and admire me. But I want to rule India (laughs)

Actor Vijay Devarakonda does not like the word fan

Opoyi: What is your idea of love?

VD: There was once a time when I thought love was nonsense but now I have started in believing in love. Love should be there in life.

Opoyi: When are you getting married?

VD: I will certainly marry, but not now. I don’t think I am ready for marriage yet. I feel I am still a child. Marriage is a big responsibility. After sometime I would think about it.

Also read: On actor Vijay Deverakonda’s birthday, here are 5 of his best movies

Opoyi: You said, you would take a break from to love stories, are you planning for commercial stories?

VD: Taking a break from love stories doesn’t mean I would go for commercial movies. I just don’t want to appear in “Arjun Reddy” and “Dear Comrade” type of scripts.

Opoyi: Your opinion on how “Dear Comrade” was received in the market?

VD: Whatever may be the reviews, it got a lot of success in North India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Even when I am shooting for Fighter, people in Mumbai call me “Bobby”. I am very happy with the way the film was received in the market.

Opoyi: How do you respond to the criticism and memes in social media that come your way?

VD: I like them. If they don’t love me and if I am not the uppermost thing in their mind, how can they spend hours creating memes? I like constructive criticism.

Opoyi: How do you want to be remembered?

VD: I just want to be like myself and do what I like.  We are putting restrictions before whole generations giving them Dos and Don’ts. But I am prepared to accept any outcome of what I do.

Opoyi: Even after they earn so much, some of the celebrities don’t want to contribute to society but you are doing a great job. Hats off to you…

VD: Thank you. I don’t want to comment about others. My motto is to help others as much as possible. I have undertaken various programs for my own satisfaction.

Opoyi: One of the sections most affected by the lockdown is the middle class. You started the “Middle Class Fund” (MCF) for the welfare of middle-class people. How many have benefited from it?

VD: I came from a middle class family. I know the problems that middle class people face. So, I started the MCF. I have received many applications requesting for help. Till now 8,515 persons donated Rs 1.71 crore. I donated Rs 25 lakh. A total of 535 volunteers are working to help middle-class people and a total of 17,723 families have so far benefited from it. I feel happy to serve 58,000 people through the MCF. I thank everyone who participated in it.

Opoyi: It was announced that MCF has been placed in the rest mode. What is the reason?

VD: The MCF will continue to run. But now relaxations are being announced and people are going back to work in towns and cities. So, I gave a break to MCF. When someone is in need the MCF will be ready to help. I am sure people who are away from MCF will now think about it.

(This interview was first published on Opoyi on July 21, 2020 and is being replugged on the occasion of his birthday)