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Vijay Deverakonda: I have been affected by sexual harassment

By Subhash K Jha
July 30, 2019 11:27 IST

'Nine out of 10 women I know have been groped, touched or harassed in some way or the another.'
'We never speak about it.'
'We are embarrassed and ashamed that society will judge us.'

 

Photograph: Kind courtesy Vijay Deverakonda/Instagram

Arjun Reddy actor Vijay Deverakonda returns with another film, which sees him dealing with anger management issues.

Dear Comrade is a love story and it seems to have impressed Karan Johar so much, he's already bought the Hindi remake rights.

Is Vijay excited about a Bollywood debut?

"I don’t look at Hindi cinema as move up or a step forward," Vijay tells Subhash K Jha. 

Dear Comrade has all the trappings of a classic love story -- anger, hurt and rejection. Has it been designed to showcase your stardom?

It's been designed to showcase a story that needed being talked about, and I gravitate towards scripts that have depth, are real and require sensitive performances.

IMAGE: Vijay with Rashmika Mandanna in Dear Comrade. Photograph: Kind courtesy Vijay Deverakonda/Instagram

Like Arjun Reddy, your character, Bobby, in Dear Comrade also has anger management issues. Do you see any similarities?

To me, they were different people.

Their anger was about different things.

How they loved is very different; even how they look at the woman they love is different.

Their energies, struggles and beliefs are very different.

Dear Comrade takes on #MeToo. Why the sudden swerve into sexual harassment?

It was a story we wanted to tell.

What if the person you loved most -- the happy, loving, dream-filled girl -- was being harassed and you didn't even know about it?

 

Photograph: Kind courtesy Vijay Deverakonda/Instagram

Since the film tackles sexual misconduct so strongly, what are your thoughts about it? How can the entertainment industry be made safer for women?

In some way or the other, nine out of 10 women I know have been groped, touched or harassed in some way or the another.

We never speak about it.

We are embarrassed and ashamed that society will judge us.

Why do we live in fear when it is the assaulted who should be s***ting in their pants and be ashamed?

Our fear is the assaulter's strength and we hope to change that.

 

I sense a personal rage in the way you reacted to sexual harassment in Dear Comrade.

I have seen and been affected by it.

I have felt Bobby's rage.

While some of us function on common sense and empathy, others unfortunately function on fear.

When the right people are scared, all industries will be safer.

Your fan following grows with every film. When will we see you in a Hindi film?

The intention is there; the active interest from there from both ends.

The right script has to be found.

I don’t look at Hindi cinema as move up or a step forward. It will be a part of my continuing journey.

IMAGE: Vijay with Rashmika Mandanna in Dear Comrade. Photograph: Kind courtesy Vijay Deverakonda/Instagram

You are being linked to your Dear Comrade co-star (Rashmika Mandanna). What is the truth about your love life?

I like to keep my private life personal. I don't want anyone to have an opinion on it.

I have chosen to be an actor and so I deal with everything my way. But the people in my life need to be shielded.

I have seen how my mum gets affected and am trying harder to keep them safe.

Where is your search for new challenges going to take you next?

I have no idea.

I overcome a lot of stress in the pursuit of new characters.

I get joy at letting my subconscious explore new areas.

Beyond this, I have no long-term plans or goals.

How far have you evolved as an actor?

I am evolving.

I don't know the end destination.

If I knew, I’d be able to say how far I've come or how close I am to where I want to be.

Subhash K Jha
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