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'Rajani Kantha is not a regular Duniya Vijay film'

Last updated on: March 9, 2013 15:03 IST

'Rajani Kantha is not a regular Duniya Vijay film'

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Srikanth Srinivasa in Bangalore

Kannada actor Vijay's success in the industry is a shining example of sheer hard work and a stroke of good luck.

Vijay was born into a poor family in Anekal village near Bangalore. He became a gym instructor before becoming a stunt man in movies and a junior artiste. 

The huge success of Kannada film Duniya (released in 2007), that became a trendsetter in the Kannada film industry, also changed his life forever: today he is popularly known as Duniya Vijay (Viji) to his fans and the people of Karnataka. 

Vijay went on to win the coveted state award for his performance in Duniya.

Blessed with an athletic body, Vijay has earned for himself titles like Black Cobra and Kari Chiruthe ('black cheetah' in Kannada). 

 In his latest release, Rajani Kantha, he has experimented with a much softer, more emotional role. 

Rajani Kantha opened to a mixed response from his fans last week, but for the first time he has won accolades from the media. 

Duniya Viji has been in the news after he filed for divorce from his wife of 14 years, Nagarathna, who is also mother to their three children. Nagarathna has refused to give her husband a divorce and is willing to compromise with him for the sake of their children. 

Recently, he got into a spat with a television channel for holding his children 'captive' along with his wife in the studios for more than ten hours. Vijay has appealed to the Editors' Guild against the channel for this 'misdemeanour'. 

His messy personal life has become the talk of the town sullying his image in the industry.

In this interview with Srikanth Srinivasa, Duniya Viji talks about his makeover for Rajani Kantha and how he intends to come clean in his personal life.


Image: A scene from Rajani Kantha

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'For the first time I got to play a dual role in a film'

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What is it that attracted you to Rajani Kantha?

For the first time I got to play a dual role in a film. The script appealed to me for its emotional content. The relationship that a mother shares with her two look-alike sons is something that caught my attention. 

While one of the boys is born with a cleft lip, the other is born normal. The son who is born with this defect sounds ridiculous to people who listen to him as he talks twice to convey whatever he has to say.

How did you prepare to play the role of the brother who is born with a defect?

I have a friend who has a similar problem. I met him and sat with him for a while for a few days to study his mannerisms. I used to observe his behaviour and how he spoke. 

He used to feel shy when he sensed that people who were listening to him did not understand what he said. It is sad that they convey what they have to in their own way. 

Of course, this defect is curable and we have seen that 90 per cent of surgeries are successful. But there are a few who are stuck with a cleft palate throughout their life.


Image: A scene from Rajani Kantha

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'The character came alive only in the studio when I dubbed for this role'

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What mannerisms did adopt to play this role? 

The character came alive only in the studio when I dubbed for this role. I have changed my voice totally.

What do you think about the mother's contribution to her specially-abled child?

A mother doesn't differentiate between her children as she loves all of them equally. This is a universal truth. There may be a feeling among the siblings that she is more caring towards the others, but this is a misconception.

Why did the making of the film take so long?

The film required some graphics and took some time at the production stage. It was not only physically straining but the effort also mentally drained me. 


Image: A scene from Rajani Kantha

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'I wanted to experiment with my role'

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Why did you go for an image makeover from playing action roles?

At the back of my mind, I always wanted to do a soft role to see how audiences react. As an actor, I wanted to experiment with my role. The film was backed by a good script. It is not a regular Vijay film. 

How was it to work with Tamil actress Rekha who played your mother and Aindrita Ray after Junglee?

Rekha is a senior and a seasoned artiste. It was really good to work with someone so senior. We did have a few combination scenes and that has worked out well.

 Aindrita is a talented and very good actress. After the success of Junglee, we were waiting for the right script to work together. Our combination has worked out well. 

Your personal problems and your family life have become public now...Why did you have to wash dirty linen in public under the glaring lights of television news cameras?

If the television channels are happy selling my story, I am also happy for them.  It has dented our image. It is an unfortunate event. 

Why should I be worried about what they do? Who is going to fight for me? There is no unity and you can do nothing when you have to fight it out all alone. 

If the television channels make an earning selling my personal story, let them do it and be happy. I don't want to take revenge against anyone. I will also get my time to be happy for a long time. I am not in a hurry.


Image: A scene from Rajani Kantha

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'I have done right things all my life and that's why I have become Duniya Vijay'

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How are you going to be a role model for youngsters and your fans, especially when it comes to how you are dealing with your personal life?

I definitely want to be a role model for my fans and youngsters. Whatever I do, I do it right. I have done right things all my life and that's why I have become Duniya Vijay, isn't it?  

How has this episode affected your family and especially your children?

I will talk about this at the right time. I will seek people's opinion and support on whether I had been honest in my dealings. I am concerned about settling this issue soon. 

There is an end to every happening. I am praying for this run to end. I am not sure what time has in store for me. We all need peace of mind and justice that will make us happy.


Image: A scene from Rajani Kantha

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