Vicky Kaushal has proved to be a ‘Hukum ka Ikka’ for all the film he has starred this year. Whether it is movies like Raazi and Sanju or Netflix releases like Lover per Square foot and lust storis, he nailed his role. Getting recognition for his performances for both his feature films despite not being in the lead, Vicky, who started off with impressive unconventional rolesin movies like Masaan and Raman Raghav 2.0, says,“I am not the one who would sit down to calculate, I only believe in being part of great stories that connect with people. There are no small parts.”
He continues, “It feels very surreal and overwhelming. My mom tells me, as a parent I am very happy, I can’t keep my feet on the ground, how do you feel? I tell her that I feel very normal. Just that there are moments when I want to scream with open arms. I want to release that happiness. When you are alone in your bedroom, or driving in a car you just feel like shouting. I am trying to figure out what kind of space I am in but whatever it is, it is a good space.” But the biggest moment for Vicky was when his father, well-known action director, Sham Kaushal was introduced (in London) to three people as Vicky Kaushal’s father. “That was the moment of my year. That is how I can describe my 2018. Unexpectedly, somebody gave me a big compliment,” he says.
Vicky feels fortunate that people have reacted very well to his roles. “Whether it’s Kamli of Sanju, or whether it’s Iqbal of Raazi. Many people came up to me and said they want a friend like Kamli. Somebody asked me for a picture with me. He said, ‘Sir wait for a second' and he went to get his friend. Introducing me to his friend, he said, ‘He is my Kamli’. I hugged both of them for making my day. Though initially, I was asked whether I had apprehensions to play a Pakistani (in Raazi) but when the film released, girls wanted a husband like me. You feel validated as an actor that the connection happened,” says Vicky, who believes in treating every film of his as his first. “Whenever I get done with a film, I try and clean my slate completely. I try and empty my cup so that when I go to a new film, I can start fresh. I let my new director fill my cup with the character he wants me to be or with the vision he has. I try my best to come as uncontaminated as I can. That is my step one after which I approach my new character. I try and reach there slowly,” he adds.
And his latest release is Manmarziyaan, directed by Anurag Kashyap, whom Vicky had assisted in Gangs Of Wasseypur. He plays Vicky Sandhu aka DJ Sand in the film. Calling the character his alter ego, he says, “The colour of the character was very new to me. He’s very carefree, impulsive, eccentric, these were shades I hadn’t attempted before.Vicky is someone who doesn’t think of consequences before doing something and doesn’t understand his responsibility. He’s very afraid of commitment not just in relationships, but even with family or profession-wise, he’s afraid of anything that’s permanent. He’s someone who has blue hair and is tattooed. He’s a wild, flamboyant character.”
“DJ Sand’s vibrancy, the basic flavour of the character is my alter ego. If I go out on streets and feel the world has stopped, people have stopped, nobody is watching or hearing me, then I will quietly make my hair blue, wear these kind of clothes and dance. I’m a Punjabi who thrives on Punjabi music. Behind closed doors I dance in gay abandon. Whenever a Punjabi song is played... I can even now start dancing on the table. Anurag told me that he knew I was that from inside and I should just dive into the character. It feels like hidden Vicky Kaushal has come out. I wanted to bring it out, unleash it and I feel liberated in the process. I felt so relaxed and open. I felt alive. I have enjoyed like no other character I have played so far,” he adds.
Further, talking about his co-star Taapsee Pannu, Vicky says that her unpredictability towards her craft helped him be on his toes. “I never knew what she will do in her next scene, whether she will be happy or sad, or too ecstatic and start dancing. She told me that she wasn’t a trained actor and she didn’t know acting so her every take is different. She doesn’t follow any set pattern so you are alert as her co-star. It helps the scene and something new comes up each time. It was like an exchange of energy mutually. Both of us believe in spontaneity. Both don’t believe rehearsing too much so that we don’t lose that organic flavour,” says Vicky.
Kashyap, Vicky’s mentor, remains one of his favourite directors and he hopes working with him once in every two to three years. “He is the only director, if you go prepared it will work against you as an actor. You have to just surrender to him. He gets the scene in his head only after reaching the sets and you can’t visualise the way he is visualising a scene. So that makes you spontaneous on toes,” says Vicky.
Vicky’s next release is Uri, his first action film which has been shot extensively in Serbia and is almost complete. Directed by Aditya Dhar, the film is based on the Uri attack of September 2016 when terrorists from Pakistan attacked a military base in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir leaving 19 Indian soldiers dead. Eleven days later, the Indian Army retaliated with a series of surgical strikes on terrorist camps across the border. “I have been on the film for last eight to nine months. It has been one of the most physically grilling experiences of my life whether it was action or military training,” he says.
Next, he will start shooting for Karan Johar’s period drama Takht, which also stars Anil Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt, Bhumi Pednekar and Jahnvi Kapoor. “Whenever people asked me my dream role, I said I would love to do a period film at some point. Be a part of that world that doesn’t exist. It is happening with Takht,” says Vicky. And even as there are rumours that he plays a negative role in the film, Vicky says, “I am not committing that. All I can say is that it is about two warring brothers and the Mughal dynasty. It is about relationships, power, politics, love, deceit and betrayal,” says the actor, further adding, “Takht will take lot of time and in between, I am discussing more films which will be announced soon.”
One must say that Vicky’s process of choosing his scripts has paid off so far. “I don’t do too much mathematics or calculations. I listen to my heart, my gut feeling. When I first listen to a script I don’t look at it as an actor, I hear it as an audience, that I have given Rs 300 to watch this story. When the story is over, do I feel telling my friends that today I heard a great story and these were some wonderful moments? Do I spend the whole day thinking about that story or character while I was doing other work? I judge from that. That is my step one. If that gets passed then I see who is the director, producer, what is my role… If I feel good and feel that to be part of this story will be a victory, I take the plunge,” he concludes.