Vijay Deverakonda is one of the recent superstars from south who is building a pan-India appeal. The success of Arjun Reddy’s remake Kabir Singh has benefited Vijay’s career too. From rubbing shoulders with Bollywood producers and actors, as well as being chased by the paparazzi, the actor is experiencing it all. There’s much anticipation surrounding his first pan-India film, Liger. On his birthday today, we dig a little deeper into the quirky appeal of this Telugu star, and what makes him stand out in the crowd.
Angry surgeon or nervous professor?
If you know him as the angry, abusive man from Arjun Reddy, watch his performance in the romantic comedy Geetha Govindam. He plays an innocent and nervous college professor who is dealing with a major misunderstanding that prevents him from confessing his love for the heroine. As Rashmika Mandanna’s character continues to treat him with disdain, he goes out of his way to prove that he is a gentleman and not the lech that he is made out to be.
Dictatorship over democracy
The actor is known for his unusual political views. He once caused an uproar by choosing dictatorship over democracy. “I don’t even think everyone should be allowed to vote because they don’t know who they’re voting for and why they’re voting for,” he had said in an interview with the Film Companion. He as starred in a political thriller called NOTA, playing the son of a state chief minister who is forced to take on his father’s position. His 2019 film Dear Comrade also had political references, where Vijay played a student leader heavily involved in politics and hell-bent in doing the right thing, no matter what it costs him.
‘Don’t care what you think about Arjun Reddy’
The criticism of misogyny and toxic masculinity against Arjun Reddy reached a pan-India level when Kabir Singh was released. Vijay has had to defend his film time and again in many interviews. He had said on a Film Companion interview that it was completely possible for a couple to be in love but give each other “little hits and they completely understand and they’re still in love”. After a point he said he didn’t care anymore, and was irritated with the slamming. “I dislike that people are celebrating at my cost. That’s my issue. I don’t care what you think of the film, misogyny or the interview.”
‘What’s up my Rowdies?’
His angry young man persona extends to real life where his followers are called ‘Rowdies’. Fans love to see identify with him as his Arjun Reddy personality in real life too, probably why many other films of Vijay sees him in a similar role. Vijay addresses his fans as Rowdies on the social media pages and fan events. He has a website called Rowdy club, and also a clothing line of the same name.
He also engages in charity work, sending food and clothes to orphanages. He had once gotten three ice cream trucks to do the rounds of Hyderabad on his birthday, distributing to people on the road. Last year he interacted with children at an orphanage on Christmas via video call as he couldn’t visit in person owing to the pandemic. The Devarkonda Foundation had also set up a dedicated fund with an aim to provide relief to affected middle-class families during the COVID situation.