‘The story is the film’s hero’

Barely three years old in Bollywood and Vicky Kaushal is already collaborating with Karan Johar, Rajkumar Hirani and his mentor Anurag Kashyap

Updated - May 09, 2018 02:12 pm IST

Published - May 08, 2018 08:38 pm IST

Even before his next film Raazi has hit the screens, Vicky Kaushal is busy prepping for Uri, his next project. “This time, I am playing an Indian Army Major. The film is based on 2016 militant attack in Jammu and Kashmir and the surgical strike that followed. It’s an out-and-out action film,” he reveals excitedly. The actor has been filming non-stop for the last one year and moving on from one role to another is something he has adjusted to early on in his career.

Apart from his debut film Masaan (2015) and Raman Raghav 2.0 (2016) where the characters stayed with Kaushal long after the projects wrapped up, he can now “quickly change gears”. “You need time to get over the intense characters you’ve played but when you have a project commencing within a month, you have to get on with it,” says the actor. who has Rajkumar Hirani’s Sanju, Karan Johar’s Lust Stories and Anurag Kashyap’s Manmarziyaan on his roster, among others. “For someone who began his career three years ago, I am very fortunate,” he shares .

Working partnerships

Raazi, based on Harinder Sikka’s book Calling Sehmat is a film about an Indian spy (played by Alia Bhat) who unearths valuable information during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Kaushal who plays Iqbal, her husband, was asked by Karan Johar (who is bankrolling the film) to meet director Meghna Gulzar. “She gave me a gist of the film and narrated two scenes. The moment I read the script, I wanted to be a part of the film that is based on those anonymous people who risk their lives for their country. It’s the most thankless job ever,” he says.

Like Gulzar’s earlier film Talvar (2015) , this one also threads the thin line between reality and drama. “Toeing the line is a big responsibility for the director as well as the actors. It’s like walking on thin ice when you are working on a true story. You don’t have the liberty to take characters out of the story and place them wherever you want. There’s a certain way the story progressed and you have to take that into account,” says Kaushal adding that making such a film is not “everyone’s cup of tea” and one has to take up the responsibility “of owning it and really living with it” which his director has “done with such an élan”. He adds, “Meghna gives her actors enough space to get into the skin of the characters. The more you discuss with a director like her, you realise how clear it is in her head as she is living the story. All you have to do is believe in her and surrender.”

On cinematic track

In Rajkumar Hirani’s upcoming biopic on Sanjay Dutt Sanju , Kaushal plays the reel-life role of one of Dutt’s close friends. Despite the limited scope of his role to influence the story or to make an impact, Kaushal is “grateful” that he got a chance to work with Hirani early in his career. “For me, the story is the hero of the film and to get such a role is a blessing. If Rajkumarji would have called me for only a scene, I would’ve still felt fortunate,” says the 29-year-old actor who recently reunited with his mentor Anurag Kashyap for Manmarziyaan . Kaushal says he was always part of the project, although it’s a film that’s been in the news for its changing cast and a switch in directors, until it was entrusted to Kashyap. “I was a part of this film right from the beginning and in every director’s version. I believe that every film has its own destiny and we’re all happy with how Manmarziyan has shaped up,” he says.

After Love Per Square Foot, Kaushal’s second film for Netflix is Lust Stories , a sequel to Bombay Talkies and based on the themes of love and lust . Kaushal who is a part of Karan Johar’s short reveals that the film “talks about an important subject but spices it up with comedy.” “I always aspired to work with Karan and it feels great when a filmmaker like him casts you in his films. It boosts your confidence when good filmmakers are willing to work with you,” he states.

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