Chiranjeevi, Vijay Deverakonda get honest about facing humiliation, being ‘middle class’: 5 takeaways from their chat

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The Telugu Digital Media Federation (DMF) held an event titled Original Day in Hyderabad on Sunday evening. The event, which was attended by Telugu influencers, apart from Tollywood celebrities, saw Vijay Deverakonda and Chiranjeevi take to the stage to discuss everything from family values to their careers. Here are five takeaways from their conversation. (Also Read: Vijay Deverakonda on auctioning his first Filmfare for 25 lakh: ‘A nicer memory than a piece of stone in my house’)

Vijay Deverakonda and Chiranjeevi at Origin Day hosted by Telugu Digital Media Federation
Vijay Deverakonda and Chiranjeevi at Origin Day hosted by Telugu Digital Media Federation

‘I am still a middle class boy’

Vijay and Chiranjeevi might have come a long way in their careers, with their economic status also improving. However, the duo admitted to being ‘middle class’ on the inside, even today. “My life has changed a lot, but in my head, I’m still that middle class boy,” said Vijay, adding, “I still have the habit of putting water when the shampoo bottle is almost empty so I make the most of it before throwing it away.”

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Chiranjeevi agreed, stating that he does the same with soap. “I combine pieces of little soap to use it for another week instead of throwing it away. My family habitually wastes electricity, and I go around switching off lights. (Ram) Charan recently went to Bangkok without switching off their lights, I did it for them. I am also particular about conserving water,” he said.

‘I love to look after my family’

Vijay pointed out that Chiranjeevi has a huge family of numerous siblings and their children. “You are the guiding light of the Mega family today, but who was your Family Star before that,” he asked Chiranjeevi. The actor replied, “My father (Venkat Rao), I learnt from him how to look after my family. I grew up seeing him look after my mother’s (Anjana Devi) family too as his own.”

He elaborated, “Surekha (his wife) and I love to look after our family similarly. We ensure the whole family comes together at least a few days every year, no matter how busy we are. We recently did that for Sankranthi, it took effort to coordinate that because everyone was busy. But it inspires others to spend quality time with their loved ones.”

‘It’s important to know your strengths’

Citing the example of the 2002 film Indira, Vijay asked Chiranjeevi how he feels when he looks back on his work. “When I see Yevade Subramanyam or Pelli Choopulu clips, I remember how scared I was. I now know I had no reason to be that worried. I watch Arjun Reddy; I remember how young and rash I was,” he said.

Chiranjeevi however claimed that he doesn’t like to glorify his past work because it would mean he was ‘nothing’ today. “I am only focused on what I can do today. I know I can still pull off the dance steps I used to. Sure, I was physically stronger then but I am still as energetic and passionate,” he said.

Chiranjeevi also revealed how he felt when he first saw Vijay during the promotions of Arjun Reddy. “I loved how you looked; never let that go. Keep the attitude alive also, it’s your asset, it’s important to know your strengths. That’s what kept me successful all these years,” he said.

‘I was lucky to get films back-to-back’

Chiranjeevi told Vijay that, unlike most actors, he has been lucky enough to get back-to-back work early in his career, “I accompanied my friend Sudhakar, who wanted to turn down a role in Punadhirallu. When he turned it down, I was asked if I wanted to do it. But I was sceptical too because I was still studying at the Madras Film Institute. However, they convinced me and I dropped out.”

He added, “That film was the first time I stood in front of the camera, with my new name (he was named Sivasankara Varaprasad at birth), in Rajahmundry. Before I wrapped up that film, I got to act in Pranam Khareedu. Similarly, Bapu roped me in for Mana Voori Pandavulu, and Balachander soon roped me in. It’s thanks to the almighty, that I was bound to be here.”

‘Humiliation fuelled my ambition’

Vijay revealed in lieu of conversation that he and his family still get emotional when they think of his success because they never imagined he would make it. Chiranjeevi however stated that he was adamant that he wanted to not just be an actor, but a superstar.

“I loved it when people pointed me out in college as the one who would act in plays. I craved that adoration from people. I prayed to Anjaneya Swamy (Hanuman) every day, and I negotiated with him for my success. I nurtured my dream which helped me reach my goal,” he said.

But the going wasn’t always smooth because the actor reveals, he was humiliated on the sets of Nyayam Kavali, which only fuelled his ambition. “I was working with prominent actors like Jagayya and Sarada, apart from numerous junior artists. I was yelled at on set one day. ‘Do you think you’re a superstar?’ they asked me. I felt humiliated, it wasn’t okay I was talked to like that,” said Chiranjeevi.

He added, “However, that was the day I decided I would become a superstar. I used the incident to fuel my ambition. Only I know how hard I’ve worked to be here today.”

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