Vijay Deverakonda’s pan-India film Liger has hit the silver screens today. The film also stars Ananya Panday and Ramya Krishnan and is directed by Puri Jagannadh. The Free Press Journal caught up with the actor for an exclusive chat. Excerpts:
Liger is one of the most extensively promoted films in recent times. Do you think it is the need of the hour?
When I was starting the promotions, I felt the pressure of a big film on my shoulders but later I realised that film was ready by then so had to keep that aside and focus on marketing it. I loved the fans in Patna, I love Bihar and I even want to learn Bihari now. Deep down my heart, I even decided that Liger is a blockbuster. It is released today so the pressure has suddenly gone away but I want it to work. I want to enjoy the feeling now and visit theatres to see audience reactions.
I know we have made a terrific film, I am not worried about it. The only thing I am worried about is the reach of the film since I don’t really know what is happening in different parts of the country. I only know certain things only on the basis of promotional interactions. I don't know if 3,000 people cheered for us in a mall, the rest of the city or the state did too.
Considering fans down South are loyal to the stars, how was the euphoria in Mumbai while promoting Liger?
Mumbai was completely nuts. When I went to promote the film on the first day, I was taken aback to see the crowd who came to support me. It took me some time to process the welcome from the city. I kept on thinking that we have made the film now and have to put it out in the universe.
Apparently, only films primarily produced down South are working these days. Do you feel nervous about Liger’s box office reports?
I have always believed in going all out and pushing things until I see the ceiling. I am young and don’t mind making mistakes. I don’t like being in one place and experimenting with new things. Liger is an attempt to test the waters of India to see how people enjoy you as an actor. I will receive whatever is the comeback of the film humbly.
You are amongst the very few actors from the Telugu film industry to grace Karan Johar’s chat show. How was your experience?
I am a shy person. I generally talk very less and so did the same in the show. It was nice chatting up with him alongside my Liger co-star Ananya (laughs).
Were you scared to face Mike Tyson on camera while shooting?
My mother was stressed as she literally called holy priests and conducted pujas at home. She also tied something in my hand and I worriedly told her that I can’t wear it while shooting. Mike was releasing the videos of his wild training and she thought he would smash my face as my mother is active on social media and tracking Mike. She doesn’t understand the ‘act fighting’ and she cries if she sees me getting beaten up.