Anand Deverakonda interview: ‘Cinema does affect the psyche but censorship isn't the solution’ - Hindustan Times
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Anand Deverakonda interview: ‘Cinema does affect the psyche but censorship isn't the solution’

ByNeeshita Nyayapati
May 28, 2024 06:04 AM IST

In an interview with Hindustan Times, Anand Deverakonda gets candid about his upcoming film Gam Gam Ganesha, the influence of cinema and more.

Anand Deverakonda is feeling ‘confident and excited but nervous’ right now. The actor is busy promoting his upcoming film, Gam Gam Ganesha, directed by debutant Uday Shetty. Anand had a busy 2024 shooting for his next film Duet, vacationing in Vietnam with his brother Vijay Deverakonda and a few of their friends and dreaming big. (Also Read: Vijay Deverakonda: Anand and I would prank girlfriends because we have the same voice)

Anand Deverakonda talks about his upcoming film Gam Gam Ganesha and more.
Anand Deverakonda talks about his upcoming film Gam Gam Ganesha and more.

“It has been a crazy ride since Baby (2023) released and was a massive hit. Now that I'm recognised as a performer, now that people have expectations of me, I feel like I need to be careful with my choices,” says the actor in a chat with Hindustan Times. Excerpts.

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‘I wanted to break away from boy-next-door roles’

A look at Anand’s career from Dorasaani (2019) reveals he has excelled at playing variations of the soft-spoken boy-next-door. But his role as a thief in Gam Gam Ganesha is a conscious choice to break away from that. “I’ve never attempted this kind of character. He’s loud, speaks, walks and looks differently from the roles I’ve played. He’s very over-the-top, and I wanted to explore that as an actor,” he explains.

Anand Deverakonda on exploring a new genre with Gam Gam Ganesha,
Anand Deverakonda on exploring a new genre with Gam Gam Ganesha,

Anand adds that with the film he’s also exploring a new genre - crime comedy, “I’ve done comedy before in Middle Class Melodies (2020) and Pushpaka Vimanam (2021), but this was different. Uday’s sense of humour is wacky like Nelson Dilipkumar’s (Kolamaavu Kokila). I enjoy watching films like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005), The Nice Guys (2016), Swamy Ra Ra (2013), Agent Sai Srinivasa Athreya (2019) and Run Raja Run (2014). This was my chance to explore the genre.”

 

‘Vijay helped me get buff for the role’

In fact, the role is so different from the rest, that Anand even bulked up for it and ‘put on some lean muscle’ as he puts it. He took his brother’s help to get it right. “I am someone who plays sports, not works out at the gym. But I’ve been working out consistently for two years now, eating clean and focusing on strength training, agility and mobility, focusing on my abs and muscle,” shares Anand.

Anand Deverakonda on taking Vijay Deverakonda's help while working out.
Anand Deverakonda on taking Vijay Deverakonda's help while working out.

He was so nervous about doing it right, that he knew he had to rope in his brother for help. “Vijay has been doing this for so long, so I would bother him and ask him questions. I was so nervous initially but he would laugh and ask me to just do what feels right. He helped me a lot in getting buff, from the diet to the kind of workouts I should do, I took his help for everything in the last year or two,” he adds.

‘We need to be responsible but not censor people’

And lately, it's not just workouts that Anand followed in his brother's footsteps. Vijay is not new to making films that generate conversation, be it Arjun Reddy (2017) or his latest release The Family Star (2024). Anand's Baby was a massive hit but received polarising opinions for the way it showed his co-star Vaishnavi Chaitanya’s character - as a girl easily wooed by the better things in life.

“I remember feeling proud whenever I thought of Baby, just knowing we made something good. But it was overwhelming after it was released when there was so much conversation around the film, which happened for Arjun Reddy too,” he says. Ask Anand if he believes cinema should be viewed as ‘just entertainment’ like some of his colleagues believe and he says, “No, I believe cinema has a way of shaping culture and everyday behaviour. I will not deny that.”

Anand Deverakonda on cinema and censorship.
Anand Deverakonda on cinema and censorship.

He contemplates before adding, “But, cinema takes from life and life is pushed forward by cinema. I loved Joker (2019), but to make a film like that in the US where gun violence is prevalent. Does that show irresponsibility on the part of the filmmaker (Todd Phillips)? As an actor, I know I am socially responsible and I also know there can be a chain effect to censorship, so I feel it’s much more complicated than that.”

‘It’s pessimistic to think theatres are dying’

These are things Anand thinks of often. Like how everyone believes the reason single screens shut down for the summer in Telangana and parts of Andhra Pradesh is more than due to lack of movie releases. “We also have a theatre (AVD Cinemas) so I feel their pain. As an actor too, it’s quite worrisome to see screens shutting down, even if momentarily. But it's pessimistic to think theatres are dying,” he says.

Anand Deverakonda on the dire state of summer releases in Tollywood.
Anand Deverakonda on the dire state of summer releases in Tollywood.

Anand thinks the current scenario is more out of a lack of coordination than anything else. “During summer, we have always padded the big releases with good, mid-tier and small films every year. But this year, we just seemed to have dropped the ball. Because, let’s be clear. Films like Virupaksha, Baby, Samajavaragamana and HanuMan have proved that the audience will come to theatres for good cinema, we just need more of that” he adds, claiming that the big releases this year (Kalki 2898 AD, Pushpa: The Rule and Devara: Part 1) will drive people to theatres again.

 

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