Duniya Vijay: I know I don't look like a hero
Kannada actor Vijay, popularly known as Duniya Viji to his fans and people of Karnataka, is the star of Shivajinagar, this week's release.
A major portion of the film has been shot in Shivajinagar, one of the oldest, busiest and most crowded areas in the heart of Bangalore city.
Vijay, who is known for his daredevil stunts, is basking in the success of Jayammana Maga, his maiden production venture, notwithstanding his messy personal life that has sullied his image in the industry.
The actor filed for a divorce from his wife of 14 years Nagarathna last year.
In this interview, Duniya Viji talks about Shivajinagar and clears the air regarding the rumours surrounding his professional career.
Why did it take so long for Shivajinagar despite the success of Jayammana Maga?
I am really upset about people spreading false rumours about me in the industry. There were rumours that I am not physically fit and that I have gone into depression following the bad press I got due to my personal life.
I should thank producer Ramu and director Satya for offering me this film and for showing confidence in me, especially when the chips were really down for me.
I have taken this role as a challenge and worked really hard on the stunts.
Image: Duniya Vijay
'Parul Yadav told me that she was warned to be careful in dealing with me'
What led to these rumours and who is responsible for it?
I cannot name the people who were responsible for this. But, I think these are meant to spoil my name and career as an actor.
Actress Parul Yadav said she was warned about being paired with you. Did she discuss this with you?
I heard from her that there were false rumours spread about me and my behaviour.
She told me she was warned to be careful in dealing with me. It seems people used to ask her about what I did and how I behaved on the set with her.
This went on till the last day of the shoot. I just told her not to bother about what people say about me.
On the last day of the shoot, she told me that she had a lot of respect for me.
Image: A scene from Shivajinagar
'People of all religions are dear to me'
What was it like shooting in the busy by-lanes of Shivajinagar?
It was a fantastic experience. Our Muslim brethren met me while we were shooting amidst their surroundings and they treated me well.
They encouraged me and they said that they had watched some of my movies.
In Shivajinagar, I don Muslim attire for a major portion of the movie. I must say people of all religions are dear to me.
There are some strong dialogues in the movie that talks against your height. Is it an indirect reference to your stature in the industry?
I don’t know. I am not sure about the significance. Director Sathya has written the dialogues keeping the masses in mind.
First of all, I should say I am not hero material. I know I don’t look like a hero.
I work hard and people value my hard work. It is tough to make films these days. The stories have been told many times. What counts is how I am portrayed differently and creatively.
What are the kinds of stunts you have done in Shivajinagar?
I did a bike stunt during which I hurt my knee. During a photo shoot, I burnt my hand.
While doing a jump sequence, I missed the rope and hurt myself. Accidents do happen sometimes in spite of taking precautions.
Image: Duniya Vijay
'It is not a crime to seek a divorce'
Which is the most vulnerable part of your body when it comes to performing stunts?
I think it is the legs because you run, walk and jump and the pressure is on the legs.
Publicity posters of the film showing you smoking a cigarette invited a lot of criticism…
It was a mistake. I apologise on behalf of the poster department.
I respect smokers and non-smokers.
If I tell someone not to smoke, they will not necessarily quit smoking. It is a matter of individual choice.
What is the status of your divorce application?
I think the court case is still on. It is not a crime to seek a divorce. I have immense respect for Indian law and the constitution.
I am only worried about how these issues will affect my children.
I request the media to keep my children away from this and to refrain from publishing our family photographs.
Image: Duniya Vijay