Going from a villain to the leading man and now a producer, Vidyut Jammwal talks about sticking to his instinct as he backs IB71
A still from the film
Going from the on-screen henchman to the villain to the leading man, it has been quite a ride at the movies for Vidyut Jammwal. Through it all, he has sworn by one mantra — “don’t listen to anyone.” “When I played the bad guy in my Hindi debut in Force , everybody said my career is over, that I won’t be able to become a hero. But I didn’t listen to anyone, and did what I wanted to,” he begins.
It is this self-belief that the actor is sticking to as he takes on the new role of a producer with IB71. Directed by Sankalp Reddy, the film tells how the Intelligence Bureau gave India an advantage in the 1971 war with Pakistan. Hailing from an army background, Jammwal says the story’s importance was not lost on him. “I knew about this story, but somehow no one would talk about it. Now that the government has allowed us to tell this story, I thought we should go ahead.” In Reddy, he found a “crazy, brilliant mind” sharing his enthusiasm for the story. Jammwal says his motivation to launch his production house was to collaborate with such exciting minds. “I wanted to work with people I truly admire, people who aren’t in the ‘circuit’ yet.”
He credits the director’s research that ensured the film steered clear of jingoism. “We wanted to be authentic. For instance, people think that army officers are strict. But that’s not true. My father, who has been in the army, is gentle, as are most of them. Also, whenever we talk about the enemy, we think they are dumb or weak. That’s not the truth. The Pakistani Army is very intelligent. My army upbringing makes me see the opponent as intelligent, but we have to be smarter.”
As a new producer, Jammwal is trying to bring change not only on screen, but also off it. “On film sets, I usually see the actors and director sitting at a separate table, while other crew members are seated away from them. I don’t like that. On my set, I made sure there is no hierarchy, that we have the best food possible and the crew is taken care of.”