Vicky Kaushal: My father is a self-made man and told me to make a name for myself
Finding himself in the limelight again for his act in Sanju, Vicky Kaushal says he's lucky to be working in the industry at a time when parallel characters are carefully crafted
Still receiving accolades for his Sanju peformance, Vicky Kaushal talks of playing the 'supporting actor'.
You’ve played a variety of roles, but Sanju has surpassed expectations. Are you elated with the love it’s receiving?
It’s ironic but I haven’t seen the film yet. I’m in Serbia, shooting for my next, Uri, for the last one month, and, unfortunately they don’t screen Bollywood films here. I am missing out on celebrating the success with the entire team in Mumbai. However, I’m overwhelmed by the reaction that the film has received. I have been receiving congratulatory messages constantly. People have been saying that they all need a friend like Kamli [his character in the film]. For me, being a part of a Rajkumar Hirani film was a dream come true.
What has been the best compliment you’ve received so far?
It came from the man himself, Sanjay Dutt. Raju sir held a screening, and after the film got over, called me to say that Sanjay sir wanted to talk to me. We communicated in Punjabi. He said, "I got really emotional with your performance. You have truly portrayed the meaning of friendship, and your act is accurate when I think of the friends I have had. Puttar, tune dil jeet liya [Son, you have won my heart.]" Sanjay sir is all heart. He loves to share happiness and love.
Vicky and father Shyam
People have also been saying that you outperformed Ranbir in it...
[Interrupts] I don’t think so. Ranbir is one of the most secure actors that one can come across, and that is even evident in his body of work. What he did in Sanju is unbelievable. His honesty towards the craft could be seen in his performance. I don’t think we can be compared. I am glad that I got to work with him and would love to collaborate with him again.
Do you think that concepts like ‘lead actor’ and ‘supporting actor’ have lost meaning?
I feel the lines between a lead actor and the parallel lead are blurring. Today, films are not only about the hero. Every person associated with it is appreciated. We are living in a time where the focus is shifting from an ‘actor’s responsibility’ to the result of great teamwork. Every actor who is part of a film affects the performances of the others. You tend to feed off from each other. I want to be part of films where the story is the hero, and today such films are being made. With the digital platform coming in, the audience will not come to the theatre if they aren’t interested. They have other options available to seek entertainment.
Vicky Kaushal and Ranbir Kapoor in Sanju
2018 has been an incredible for you. You had two releases (Raazi and Sanju) and two Netflix films (Love Per Square Feet and Lust Stories). Do you feel the pressure of delivering better acts?
I’ve always been aware that success and failure are not permanent. You live with and learn from both. It feels surreal that I have worked with some of the biggest names in the industry, but that doesn’t make me lackadaisical. The only thing that it does is motivate me to do better. I have to be fearless to make some choices, but that emotion comes with an awareness of my work. I feel blessed to be a part of the industry in this phase, where I know that parts are being written for me, or that I am being considered first for a part. At the same time, I am aware it’s not an easy job and you have to work really hard. My father [Shyam Kaushal] has been a part of this industry, but the only way he helped me was by giving me the address of Anurag Kashyap [whose film, Gangs Of Wasseypur saw Kaushal as an assistant]. My father made it clear that he would not help me. He is a self-made man and told me to make a name for myself, on my own. I wasn’t delusional; he made me aware of the harsh reality [of trying to make it in the industry]. I am aware that the struggle is real.
Despite being an action director’s son we have hardly seen you perform full-fledged action scenes?
[Laughs]. There is a joke I share with my father. He says, "Main action director hoon, aur tune aaj tak ek thappad bhi nahi mara." But that is about to change. I am currently shooting for Uri, which is an out-and-out action film. I’ve undergone military training for it. I was working out for almost five hours every day.
There’s also Kashyap’s Manmarziyaan.
Yes. I wrapped up the film a couple of months ago. It’s a love triangle, a romantic drama which sees me play an energetic Punjabi character. Initially, I was scared. This character is at odds with how I am. But, it was a blast to shoot for it. I have enjoyed watching Abhishek’s [Bachchan] work, and had a lot of fun shooting with him.
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