Vicky Kaushal: I wanted to explore the fun version of myself in ‘Govinda Naam Mera’

The actor shares his reasons for delving into a full-blown comedy film and his process of surrendering to the filmmaker’s vision

December 13, 2022 01:06 pm | Updated 03:37 pm IST

Vicky Kaushal in ‘Govinda Naam Mera’

Vicky Kaushal in ‘Govinda Naam Mera’

To say that Vicky Kaushal is one of the most consummate actors of this generation would be stating the obvious. Right from his debut film Masaan where he played a boy from a socially-backward family to the troubled cop of Raman Raghav, the sensitive Pakistani army officer of Raazi and the brave and determined military officer of Uri: The Surgical Strike, Vicky has proven that when it comes to intense and powerful roles, he is second to none.

Just considering the fact that director Shoojit Sircar cast him in Sardar Udham when the film’s original cast had the late great Irrfan (who opted out because of his health issues), speaks volumes about Vicky’s craft.

So when someone like him decides to play the lead in a full-blown light-hearted masala film, it is bound to create a buzz.Govinda Naam Mera is a comedy-thriller directed by Shashank Khaitan which sees the actor playing background dancer Govinda Waghmare, along with Bhumi Pednekar and Kiara Advani for company.

Entering a comic zone

Speaking to us over a phone call, the actor admits that it was a blessing for him to get films that allowed him to show the audience what he is capable of bringing to the table, but he had also reached a point where he wanted to do something light-hearted and fun. “I am someone who is inherently fun-loving and goofy. Post movies such as Uri and Sardar Udham – which were emotionally exhausting – I wanted to explore that version of myself on screen. Govinda Naam Mera came to me at the right time,” he says.

Vicky Kaushal in a still from ‘Govinda Naam Mera’

Vicky Kaushal in a still from ‘Govinda Naam Mera’

Having grown up watching and loving movies where the comedy is created by situations arising out of the chaos and confusion caused by multiple characters, Vicky  is glad that he is getting to do something that has the same cinema grammar. “I used to love watching films directed by Rajkumar Santoshi and David Dhawan. When Shashank narrated the story to me, I was immediately drawn to it and the ball started rolling from there,” he adds.

Creating Govinda

Unlike intense, powerful dramas that may not always make you teary-eyed, but still manage to strike an emotional chord somewhere, comedy has no middle ground. “It is a double-edged sword – the joke will either land or it won’t,” says the 34-year-old, adding that he relied a lot on the guidance of his director who has dabbled in the genre earlier with films such as Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania and Badrinath Ki Dulhania, as well as his co-stars.

The prep for this role required him to be focussed on the scene and to be as spontaneous as he could. “A month before the film went on floors, I started watching movies from the ‘90s starring Govinda, Kader Khan and Johnny Lever, just to see the kind of conviction they brought to the pitching of the performances and to absorb the grammar of that comedy,” he shares.

Complete surrender

Umpteen learnings from his days as an assistant director to Anurag Kashyap on the sets of Gangs of Wasseypur to his many roles in front of the camera, have brought him to this point where Vicky  believes in surrendering himself completely to the vision of the director. Each film has been a learning but the actor reveals that the movie that truly made him give in to the process was Kashyap’s Manmarziyaan. The actor still remembers how he had reached Amritsar with his hair cut and dyed blue to shoot for the film in the next two days with no idea of the writing or the flow of the script. “I got the script a day before we were to shoot. That night, I had the option of either being frightened of how I would perform the next day or surrender to the process and to Anurag sir’s vision,” he recalls.

Vicky Kaushal

Vicky Kaushal | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Today, even his harshest critics count Manmarziyaan as one of his best performances. “Sometimes, that complete surrender to the director’s vision is needed to bring a little flair and befikri to the performance,” says Vicky, , who has tried to apply that learning to every project he has taken on after that, including his latest.

There is a lot in store for fans of the actor who can expect to see him in almost four films next year. There is Laxman Utekar’s untitled film with Sara Ali Khan, a YRF film directed by Vijay Krishna Acharya, a Dharma film with director Anand Tiwari, and Sam Bahadur, the much-anticipated biopic of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw directed by Meghna Gulzar.

As for what is happening about director Aditya Dhar’s modern day superhero film The Immortal Ashwatthama that was supposed to have gone to the backburner and is now revived, as some reports suggest, Vicky  remains tight-lipped. “It’s better that any announcement about the movie comes from the producers and director because that’s the right channel,” he signs off.

Govinda Naam Mera releases December 16 on Disney + Hotstar  

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