Vijay Deverakonda birthday: Decoding the ‘Rowdy’ phenomenon - Hindustan Times
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Vijay Deverakonda birthday: Decoding the ‘Rowdy’ phenomenon

ByNeeshita Nyayapati
May 09, 2024 06:19 AM IST

Vijay Deverakonda might be synonymous with candidness and Arjun Reddy today, but most forget he had an uphill battle that got him where he is.

Vijay Deverakonda. Or rather, The Vijay Deverakonda, as he likes to call himself. The man, the star. The success story or a cautionary tale? It's too soon to tell. But stardom has its price, and looking back at Vijay’s career would give anyone a fair idea of the way he has always been revered and dissed in equal measures. (Also Read: Chiranjeevi, Vijay Deverakonda get honest about facing humiliation, being ‘middle class’: 5 takeaways from their chat)

Vijay Deverakonda turned 35 on May 9.(Instagram)
Vijay Deverakonda turned 35 on May 9.(Instagram)

Vijay's career might be going through a rough patch, but given how far he has come, it seems hasty to write him off yet. The actor, who once struggled to release films, became a pan-India phenomenon. On his birthday, we look back at what made him the oh-so-desirable ‘Rowdy’.

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The homegrown Hyderabadi drawl

In the early stages of his career, if one thing made Vijay memorable, it was his homegrown Hyderabadi drawl. Be it the laidback Prashanth in Pelli Choopulu or the unapologetic Arjun Reddy; the accent played a significant role in endearing him to the masses who had never seen a mainstream hero celebrate it with such abandon.

Even before him cussing, “Em matladtunav ra m*******d? (What are you saying m**********r?)” was a thing, there was “Samosa ni sauce tho tine vaalu nak assal nacharu. (I don’t like people that eat samosa with ketchup)” What made it even better was that’s how he talked in real life too.

A little too candid for his own good

Right from the beginning, if there’s one thing Vijay has been known for besides his acting skills or looks, it has been his candour. In an industry that was fast becoming PR-driven, with carefully curated lines being the norm, Vijay was like a force of nature, speaking his mind.

It might have often gotten him in trouble, but he still seemed unapologetically himself. Because who can forget him calling out people on-stage at an Arjun Reddy event for dubbing him ‘overconfident’ and saying, “I would like to apologise to no f*****g body because I don’t give a f**k.”

Went through an uphill battle

When one thinks of ‘outsiders’ making it big in Tollywood, one usually thinks of Chiranjeevi. Vijay’s father, Govardhan Rao, directed TV shows, but he quit due to lack of success. So, to have a hero who didn’t belong to the Konidela/Allu, Nandamuri, Akkineni/Daggubati, Uppalapati, etc families find such resounding success was long overdue.

But the journey wasn’t easy for Vijay, as despite saying yes to numerous projects like Nuvvila and Dwaraka, only Arjun Reddy made him a phenomenon. He did theatre, and even starred in films like Life is Beautiful and Yevade Subramanyam, before getting his due. Some of his films even struggled to find enough theatres initially.

Vijay Deverakonda with Nani and Malvika Nair in Yevade Subramanyam.
Vijay Deverakonda with Nani and Malvika Nair in Yevade Subramanyam.

Worked to set himself apart

When Vijay initially received recognition for playing a free spirit in Yevade Subramanyam or a boy-next-door in Pelli Choopulu, he needn’t have played a brash doctor in Arjun Reddy which could’ve gone downhill. Despite his newfound fame, he also surprised many by choosing to play a cameo in Nag Ashwin’s Mahanati.

Films like Geetha Govindam, NOTA, Taxiwaala, and Dear Comrade required different skillsets from him. At a recent event, he also revealed that he had been paid peanuts for all those roles. However, his choices since World Famous Lover have been quite unfortunate, with Liger, Kushi and The Family Star not making much of an impact.

Remember The Deverakonda Birthday Truck?

Unlike most stars, it felt like Vijay always found innovative ways to give back after he tasted success. He started The Deverakonda Foundation in 2019, helping many like the kickboxer Ganesh Ambari, who won the Vaco Indian Open International Kick-boxing Championship Title in 2020.

He also founded a Middle Class Fund during the Covid-19 pandemic for families struggling to make ends meet. And it’s hard to forget The Deverakonda Birthday Truck that he sent out to various cities to distribute free ice cream on his birthday or the DevaraSanta initiative for spreading joy during Christmas every year.

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