Playing a messed up cop in 'Raman Raghav 2.0' took a toll on Vicky Kaushal but the actor considers it as one of the most satisfying and fulfilling experiences of his acting career.
The movie, Anurag's contemporary take on India's most notorious serial killer, played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui, screened in the Directors' Fortnight sidebar at Cannes today.
For Kaushal, working with Kashyap and Siddiqui on this project has been like completing a circle as he started his career on 'Gangs of Wasseypur' as an assistant director.
"It did take a toll on my personal life... This part was polar opposite to me. It was very demanding to get under his skin, he is poisoned from within and has destroyed himself but it is also his mode of coping," Kaushal told PTI in an interview before leaving for Cannes.
"A character like this mentally and emotionally affects you. You just can't switch off and switch on because you have to maintain that rhythm and tone throughout the shooting. The isolation was important. You can't be comfortable and tap into the vulnerable state of your character."
Kaushal, who turned 28 today, said his family understood his need for isolation and kept out of his way as he struggled with sleep deprivation and exhaustion for days while shooting for the movie. "One of the reasons you love this profession is because you can do something that is beyond the realm of your usual reality. Having the opportunity to see things from someone else's perspective is also the most satisfying aspect of being an actor. And I could search something within me with this movie," he said.
Kaushal did a brief role in Kashyap's last film 'Bombay Velvet' but it was for the first time that he got a chance to work closely with the director, who did not immediately offer him the part of Raghav.
"Anurag sir told me that he was making a movie about a serial killer and a cop and he was considering me for the role of the cop but there were other names. After preparing for five days, I gave the audition.
"He knew that my upbringing and life experiences were different from this messed up character, who has mental issues and is unpredictable. He has lived through harsh circumstances which have shaped him."
The 'Masaan' star said it was quite a learning curve to be on Kashyap's movie set as the director's approach towards his actors is very protective.
"It was dream like to work with Anurag sir as I started my journey in the industry as an AD to him. He is a very intimate director who treats his actors really well and tries to understand them.
"He gives you freedom as a performer while also giving you the clarity as a director to understand the part. He is always incorporating new ideas so you can't have a fixed notion about your part," Kaushal said while discussing Kashyap's process.
The young actor has a similar experience to share about his co-star in the movie, Siddiqui. As an assistant director on 'Gangs of Wasseypur', Kaushal had a chance to observe Siddiqui just before he became famous. The actor says 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' star has not changed at all despite the fame. "He is a simple person and not very complicated about his craft and life.
He comes well prepared on the sets and weaves his magic each time. It was a great experience to observe him. It felt surreal to be doing a scene with him. He is an inspiration and his simplicity is the first thing that hits you."
'Raman Raghav 2.0' will release in India on June 24.