From his first film ‘Dorasani’ to now ‘Baby’ that has brought him much success, Anand Devarakonda is making his own path, and choosing films after his heart, despite the obvious comparisons to his brother, which inspires him more than anything else – he says during an exclusive interview

When I wanted to enter films, I thought it would be enough if I didn’t bring a bad name to my brother Vijay Deverakonda. I think all my friends and family are proud today. Vijay believes in me, and we are like friends – The words are from Anand Devarakonda – the toast of the town as his love story ‘Baby’ with two other young actors, Vaishnavi and Viraj Ashwin, is doing wonderfully well at the box office.

The younger brother has had to start with the huge shadow of his super hit brother upon him – but for him, he says it has been something he enjoys. “It will be there forever. And, I love that. I and my brother are in different places. He wouldn’t be able to pick the kind of films I choose to do,” shares Anand answering one of the most repeated questions during an exclusive interview to Provoke Lifestyle.

Love for films was there forever, but it wasn’t part of the plan for Anand Devarakonda, an Engineer with Masters in Business Administration. It took a theatre workshop to reveal his love for acting. And, today he enjoys being on sets. And, says more than the film it’s the process of he being an actor and acting out the scenes written for him that gives him more joy.

In his latest film – Baby – Anand plays a young lover in school who grows into this responsible adult who has to drive an auto to make his ends meet. His character is the one that shows extreme love, extreme pain of heartbreak, sadness, and extreme anger – Anand says, “I am reserved and reticent kind of guy and this range of emotions that I had to enact made me get out of my comfort zone. I could relate to some of the aspects though – the kind of love I would show if I am in love is what the guy in the film does. Until this movie, my roles were the boy next door kind – who was dealing with inner conflicts. There were no real villains. I play a very different role in this film. I play a wide range of emotions. Infact, there is so much range to each character in this film,” he adds.

Anand began shooting for the film before third wave of Covid – the third wave and other unforeseen issues that cropped up while shooting in the slums of Hyderabad and other live locations delayed the film. And the film director Sai Rajesh was not in a super hurry to wrap it up. According to Anand – Rajesh was more concerned about the quality than the amount of film that was shot in a day. Yet Anand went through his share of distress over the delay, especially during Covid.

“I am at an age and stage where I must be doing films, and working but not being at home doing nothing. Sitting through Covid had been tough. I was quite disturbed and disappointed. But I am happy that I did a great film during the time.” Anand Devarakonda adds that those years from his first film ‘Dorasani’, to ‘Pushpaka Vimanam’ and ‘Middle-Class Memories’ to ‘Baby’ now – have changed him.

“I have changed a lot, and I have learnt a lot. It may sound like a cliché but I think I have broken my shell and more of me has come out. And, there will be more of me. I love doing shoots, being on sets and I figured more than ever that this is where I am meant to be, – he states.

This is how he was usually found on the sets of Baby, where even after the shoot he would hang out around the auto in his costume instead of sitting in his caravan. He says it helped him internalize the character.

As Anand figures out his path in the world of films – he also has learnt his own way to deal with trolling and criticism – “There is a lot of constructive criticism and most of it is also just noise. You have people pitting the opener Rohit Sarma with Virat Kohli online. So, everyone has to face it. I do it my way. I usually don’t follow Twitter unless my film has released and I am trying to see the audience’s reactions. Even then, I try to stay away from the comments, – he states.

That said, Anand has his demons he fights on a low day, the days that are common for everyone when we feel nothing is working in our direction. And, during such times he takes refuge of one thing he loves most besides movies – sports. “I have been majorly into football. But now for fear of fall and injury I do not play as much. But, once in a while I end up playing to enhance my mood,” he shares.

“Who is your favourite footballer?”, we ask and he answers – “Many, I also am happy that our Indian football team is doing so well. I am waiting for the day when a player from India will be in Europe.”

Anand has already started shooting for his next film – ‘Gam Gam Ganesha’ – a comedy thriller. “I am looking forward to it. The film has great cast and I am enjoying working for it. We are aiming for a year end release for the film,” he reveals.