Meet acclaimed actor Vicky Kaushal, who is unfazed by success and failure, instead, allowing destiny and karma to take over
It's a menacingly scorching summer day as I enter the studio for a chat with Vicky Kaushal, but the man’s calm, collected demeanour brings a much-needed coolness to the atmosphere - that and perhaps the powerful split AC of our favourite Andheri studio. We shake hands and straightaway get down to talking, with Vicky’s PR team constantly stressing about his other urgent commitments and reminding us of the clock. The man himself though is rather nonchalant and unfazed about the unnecessary drama around him. We begin with the fantastic response to Vicky’s recent film, Raazi, and the accolades that his performance is garnering. “I feel humbled. Raazi has reached out to a much wider audience, and it feels surreal. Honestly, it was a surprise to the whole team – the way the audience, the critics, almost unanimously, have praised the film. Such a surge of positivity is always overwhelming,” he says with a smile. I ask Vicky whether it’s his conscious choice to choose offbeat cinema, such as Masaan and now Raazi. “Not at all. I only slot the word cinema into two categories – good cinema and bad cinema. For me, the story needs to be the hero. When I started off, however, I was in a situation where beggars can’t be choosers. When Masaan came my way, it wasn’t such that I had ten other scripts on my table. I was just looking for that one window of opportunity. Someone else was to do the role and then dates changed, I happened to audition, and I found myself on the sets. I am a huge believer in destiny and karma. I feel lucky and grateful that Masaan chose me,” he says candidly.
Vicky is open, rather keen, to do a potboiler comedy film. “I don’t consider them mindless comedies honestly. In fact, I love the Golmaal series. I’ve watched the latest one twice! Ultimately, you need to acknowledge what your responsibility is as an actor. My job is to entertain, and it’s my duty to reach out to a larger audience and show my versatility. I would never like to be slotted into one particular flavour,” he says. Vicky elaborates, “At this stage of my career, I’m trying to walk. I will get up. I will fall. Then I’ll get up and perhaps run. Or fly. That’s the journey and there’s a beauty in it. You can’t live in fear.” Do expectations wear him down, I ask, to which he confidently asserts, “Expectations are great. They’re wonderful. I want them to be there. I believe that if people are expecting something from you, they care for you. I never want to reach a stage where the audience has no expectations from me. I want to raise the bar with every film I do.”
Vicky was doing engineering when he decided on acting as a profession and he’s firm that this is what he’d rather do all his life, come what may. “I feel I’ve climbed the ladder at a steady pace, not just as an actor but even as a human being, and I’m satisfied with my journey so far. Even if it’s not acting, I would do something to do with films. That’s my life.” Vicky’s mantra for a happy life? “Success and failure shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Success is a phase, and so is the failure; the reality is what you’re working on right now. The journey needs to be fulfilling and satisfying, and then everything else is just a by-product.”
A film that defines him? “Masaan,” he quips. “It put me on the radar.” Vicky’s panicky PR team begins to hover around us at this time. “Last question. Last question,” says PR lady so I feel like one of those TV journalists outside politician’s offices asking for a bite. Vicky, as usual, is smiling and happy to continue speaking, but I realise that our conversation is rather enjoyable and in the process, I’m late for another meeting too so we quickly wrap up. I ask him for some advice for people out there looking to make a mark in the industry. “Go out there, test yourself, and imbibe new experiences. You can watch countless movies and read several books on cinema but it amounts to nothing until you actually face the camera. That’s the moment of reality,” he signs off as I ready myself to embrace the reality of the summer heat outside.