“Now, all you journalists, instead of saying a headline like ‘Vijay Deverakonda-Rashmika chemistry, one more lip-lock’, say ‘This is a love story, not a communist film’... put that as the title, and you will also help me and there will be clarity,” actor Vijay Deveraonda said, in one of the many witty responses to the questions posed to him by reporters in Chennai.
The Arjun Reddy fame actor Vijay Deverakonda and Rashmika Mandanna visited Chennai on 18 July as part of the promotions for their upcoming movie Dear Comrade.
The film will be hitting the screens on 26 July. Originally made in Telugu, Dear Comrade will be dubbed and released in Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam.
Actor Vijay Deverakonda, while addressing the media, spoke about what makes Dear Comrade special, how reporters should quit using the term ‘lip-lock’ and watch the film in its entirety, and his plans to do another Tamil film.
The actor’s earlier Tamil film NOTA, a satire on the present political crisis in the state, received rave reviews.
Your next movie has the word ‘ Comrade’ in it. So is it a political one?
The word comrade came from the Army. It was someone who was fighting along with you for the same cause. Later, communist parties took that word.. and (initially) when these parties started, they were fighting against inequality. In this film, comrade is about a friend in your life. Here he is a regular college boy who fights for what he believes in. This is not a political story. A straightforward love story.
How many retakes did you take for emotional scenes and how many for lip-lock scenes ?
Till the shot is right. For us, cinema is very serious. It’s storytelling and it’s my career, it’s my producer’s huge money, my debutante director’s entire life is dependent on this. There are 40 new actors who struggled to get a break and are playing smaller roles, it’s this girl’s (heroine Rashmika Mandanna) career.
“And the amount of hate an actress gets just because we can take their case and feel better about ourselves... the amount of people who abuse her and judge her... we don’t want to do this. But when it comes to the film we feel like, the film is bigger than all of this.”Vijay Deverakonda
When you see the poster of the film, it says ‘Vijay Deverakonda in...’ but in this film, Rashmika has a very significant role. Why doesn’t her name feature in the posters?
Lily is very important to this film and she absolutes deserves a ‘Vijay Deverakonda and Rashmika Mandanna in...’ What we did is out of our interest we made some posters for her. Not a (specific) Rashmika Mandanna but a ‘Vijay Deverakonda and Rashmika Mandanna in...’ bunch of posters. But I think having the lead actor’s name is a business call.
We saw you in NOTA in Tamil. When will we see you again in Tamil cinema?
I need a script that is super duper exciting that I would want to put my all in it. In three months of doing NOTA, like Dhoni, I got some 35 grey hair from the stress I go through. So, I grow old quicker.
Why are you not doing as many films in Tamil when you have a bigger audience/fan following here?
On 26 July, I will decide if there is a lot of audience there or not. All of you keep saying lot of fans. If I see tickets sold like, then I will believe you.
What is this ‘Comrade Anthem’?
‘Comrade Anthem’ is a really special song for us because Dulquer, a friend, and people’s favourite Vijay Anna... I’ve never even met him, but been very fascinated by the man, by his process. One call and they came together and sang this song. Why this song is so important is that it is the entire philosophy of the film, it’s the philosophy I believe in life. It talks about fighting for what we love, fighting on an everyday basis, for survival, for money, for respect in our professions, for respected in our families. On a low day, when I hear it, it’s been a favourite of mine. In the gym when I am not able to do enough reps I put this music and do two more reps and it’s a very motivating song. It shows the camaraderie when two stars from their respective industries come forward and do this I feel absolute love and gratitude.
In the last three movies, you’ve acted as the ‘Angry Young Man’. So is that a formula which you have aced so you are acting in those?
Untrue. I don’t blame you because the previous movie where I acted as an angry young man left such a lasting impression that you don’t remember the previous films. In Geetha Govindam, I’ve acted as a scared soft man, in Taxiwala I played a very scared innocent taxi driver. People ask if I enjoy doing such roles and to them I say I am not doing only these (roles).
The stars of Dear Comrade have been traveling to Kochi, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru for promotions, and setting the stage on fire with electrifying dance performances.