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Home > Entertainment News > Bollywood News > Article > Vicky Kaushal As soon as I was in uniform I knew this was it

Vicky Kaushal: As soon as I was in uniform, I knew this was it

Updated on: 29 November,2023 02:12 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Mohar Basu | mohar.basu@mid-day.com

With Sam Bahadur director deciding against using prosthetics, Vicky Kaushal recalls the elaborate two-day look test that sealed his place as on-screen Sam Manekshaw

Vicky Kaushal: As soon as I was in uniform, I knew this was it

A still from the film

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Vicky Kaushal remembers two incidents of Sam Bahadur vividly. The first, when director Meghna Gulzar met him in April 2019, and over cold coffee, told him about her biopic on Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw. The actor recalls, “Her first line was, ‘They don’t make men like him anymore’. I didn’t want to even read the script, I was firm that this is one film I have to do. [Eventually], I read the script on a flight to New York.”


It strengthened his belief of stepping into the shoes of the flamboyant Manekshaw. But would he be able to look the part? Kaushal remembers the second incident, the look test that the director conducted with him in May 2019. “The look test was important because we had decided to forgo prosthetics. It was a make-or-break [situation]. If I didn’t look the part, they would’ve got another actor,” says the leading man. “Look tests are usually not elaborate. But here, we did two days of prep with Shrikant Desai [make-up artiste] and Aalim Hakim [hairstylist]. The obvious things were complexion, moustache, lenses and hair. But then there were little details, like thinning of eyebrows that adds years. As soon as I was in the uniform and the first picture was clicked, I knew this was it. We knew the movie would happen.”


Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw


It was uphill thereon, as Kaushal immersed himself in becoming the war hero. “With any character who has lived an expansive life, it’s impossible to find his seven decades in seven months. Till the last day, you’re trying to find the soul. I would never listen to jazz, but Sam loved it. So, now, I have a playlist of jazz music. Every day before the first shot, I’d spend 15 minutes looking in the mirror and telling myself, this is Sam. It’s hard to not be shaken up by his spirit. Playing him was a big opportunity and a big responsibility.”

Set against the backdrop of the 1971 India-Pakistan war, Sam Bahadur—also starring Sanya Malhotra and Fatima Sana Shaikh—celebrates Manekshaw’s courage. For Kaushal, it is one of those few roles that have left him transformed. “My take-away is that now, when in doubt, I ask myself what would Sam do in the situation. He had the ability to make decisions. I’d spend so much time in limbo. But with this film, there has been a switch [in my personality]. I’m so much more courageous today. I can make hard decisions and stick to them.”

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