Vijay Deverakonda on link-up with Rashmika, Sara: ‘I’d rather have rumours about me than be a nobody’

In the last one year, Vijay Deverakonda’s public image has been a heady mix of his rising pan-India popularity and increased attention to his personal life, with relentless reports about who the actor is dating.

While link-up rumours with actor and close friend Rashmika Mandanna, also his frequent co-star, have been a constant for a long time, Vijay’s entry to Hindi cinema with the upcoming Liger has spiked interest in his personal life as actors Sara Ali Khan, Janhvi Kapoor and Ananya Panday, also the co-star of his latest, have publicly confessed fondness for him.

But Vijay Deverakonda, whose name brings to the mind his popular hot-headed and territorial on-screen avatar Arjun Reddy, appears nonchalant about almost everything in his real life, including dating speculation. Rumours, the star says, are just “collateral damage”.

“I think it’s just collateral damage of being a public figure. When people love you and want to know more about you, they’re just interested in your life. If there are news articles coming, I’m ok with it,” the actor says in a group interview ahead the release of Liger.

Vijay has been fiercely protective about his private life, rarely commenting on the rumours with Rashmika, with whom he worked with in Dear Comrade and Geetha Govindam, and chooses to look at the scrutiny from another perspective: That at least he is not a “nobody” who people are not interested to write about.

Hence, the actor insists, the spotlight on his neatly guarded love life, never makes him uncomfortable. “I’d rather be who I am and have these rumours written about me than be a nobody and have nothing written about me. So I’m ok with the not necessarily true stuff, or not necessarily productive stuff. I’m comfortable with it, it does not bother me,” he says.

Vijay’s Zen-like calm to respond to intrusive media glare is also reflected in his evolution as a public figure, where he has realised that just like his love life, some opinions need not go public.  The actor has famously received flak for some of his statements–from voicing that not everyone should be allowed to vote to his defence of Arjun Reddy, the 2017 blockbuster widely panned for being misogynistic.

“I am vocal, but the more popular you get, you decide not to speak your mind always. People don’t need to know what I am thinking, my opinion on everything does not matter. There are already endless opinions on a topic, there is no use adding mine to it. Nothing great will come out of it anyway.

“Earlier I would speak a lot more on everything I felt about, but now I have learnt that you don’t need to always vocalise everything you feel. Sometimes it is better to shut up and talk to your friends about what you feel. At the core, Vijay Deverakonda, who is not the actor, is still the same boy,” he adds.

In Liger, directed by Puri Jagannadh, Vijay Deverakonda features as an underdog fighter from Mumbai, who competes in an MMA championship. The film is set to release theatrically on August 25 in Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam.

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