BY ANUJ RADIA
Vicky Kaushal began as an assistant in Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur. After his selection as an actor in Masaan, the 30-year-old actor has not looked back.
His film roles have been quite out-of-the-box and realistic – be it a man afraid of music in Zubaan or a sinister cop in Raman Raghav 2.0, Vicky does not enact his part but lives it.
In an exclusive interview with Asian Style, Vicky Kaushal talks about his journey in Meghna Gulzar’s Raazi.
Vicky, what drew your attention to such a gripping and intense film like Raazi?
When I read the script and turned the last page of the film, the first emotion I felt was disbelief and at the same time, I was in awe.
I was in disbelief because it was difficult to believe that there are individuals who live and exist in anonymity for the security of their containment.
They do such a selfless act of bravery, for people they may not even know or who they are related to. I was completely in awe of this.
After reading the script, I was filled with a sense of patriotism and to be knowing that I have been approached to play a part in this beautiful story, was an honour for me.
You play a Pakistani major named Iqbal. Tell us a bit more about your line of duty in the movie?
In the film, I belong to a family who is active in the army. My father is a brigadier and elder brother is a major.
It is set during 1971, where there is tension between two countries [India and Pakistan] and there is a possibility of a war.
What I enjoyed about playing Iqbal, is a beautiful contradiction to his character. On one hand, you’re playing an army guy that so there is the quintessential approach.
There is a certain style you walk, talk and the costumes give the effect of an Army guy.
The beauty of playing Iqbal is that he’s such a gentle and tender guy at heart. So I had to play a guy who has a strong spine but with a soft heart.
I’ve never seen an Army guy portrayed like that. I instantly felt something for Iqbal, I just completely related to him.
As an actor, what did you learn from working with Meghna Gulzar?
I did not want to miss this opportunity especially when you know the film will be helmed by a director like Meghna Gulzar, who handles these subjects with such sensitivity and responsibility.
The pursuit of perfection that she [Meghna] has is so inspiring as an artist. During testing times at shoots, especially on shoots like Raazi – where you’re shooting 7-9 shots, per day, is a mammoth of a task.
During such mammoth of a situation, it is easy to veer into compromising and get done with the work.
But Meghna is so passionate and loves her work so much, she is dedicated to narrating her story, the way she conceptualised and visualised it. That, for me, is very inspiring.
Meghna Gulzar is an amazing human being. As an actor, you feel nurtured when you’re working with her.
We must talk about your co-star Alia Bhatt. In an interview, you cited that she is a “very secure” actor. What was the highlight of working with Alia?
Firstly I would say that she is an actor who doesn’t come along with any kind of baggage of being a star.
The most beautiful part about Alia is that she knows about her stardom, but she never takes it for granted. When you see her so focused and working so hard on her character, you realise this.
Alia is such a real person. There is no effort or process to actually break-the-ice with her as a co-actor. You start talking to her and it’s always the real Alia talking to you.
That’s why you feel that honesty in her performances as well. Alia is so gifted, but at the same time, she doesn’t take it for granted and works so hard at giving her best. It’s really inspiring to see this.
Vicky, what makes you ‘Raazi’ (willing) in life and why?
I get Raazi just by seeing a simple smile [laughs]. You could give me a smile with a clean heart and I then I’ll be willing to do whatever you want.
That’s all you need. We all just need to believe in each other, be compassionate to each other and give time to each other.
A smile is one of the simplest things to do, yet it is effective. It’s a beautiful thing to do and people should never stop it!
Listen to our full interview with Vicky Kaushal here:
You already have covered a wide-spectrum of acting. What determines you in a story and script?
Whenever I read a script or hear the narration of a story, I always treat it from an audience’s point-of-view.
It’s like I’m watching the film. I don’t consider myself to be an actor who will be a part of the film.
So, by the end of it [the script or narration], if I enjoyed it or felt affected by the story, I judge and take a call depending on that. I have to be an audience and need to know what I feel as one.
There’s this quest of not repeating yourself or exploring new territories so that there’s growth in me as an actor, it’s just about working with good filmmakers.
Vicky Kaushal is undoubtedly a hard-working and sincere actor.
With a fantastic lineup of films in the kitty – including Karan Johar’s Lust Stories, Rajkummar Hirani’s Sanju and Anurag Kashyap’s – we are certain that Vicky will continuously impress us with his acting prowess.