Vicky Kaushal - Liberated By His Approach To Making Movies And Managing Frame
The MAN|November 01, 2021
On the revolutionary road with Amazon Prime Video's Sardar udham | Vicky Kaushal attacks stereotypes to balance expectations, films and family —crafting an ecosystem that is public and private in equal measure
Sonali Velinker Kamat

Textured suit, Dinkar Aneja; Knit pullover and snood, Selected, Sunglasses, Stylist's own

BIOGRAPHICAL films make Vicky Kaushal feel boxed in. “It’s like enjoying yourself in a playground, while being acutely aware that there’s a fence,” says the actor. Given that Vicky has hit it out of the park with his performances in Sardar Udham, on Amazon Prime Video, and Uri: The Surgical Strike, and is now heading into filming for Sam Bahadur (all biopics), his statement is laced with irony. “There’s a responsibility that comes with essaying a part that is based on a real-life character and you do feel the weight of that — especially when the person is a national hero. You can take certain cinematic liberties, but only while being constantly conscious that this isn’t fiction,” he clarifies.

Yet, somewhere along this revolutionary road, Vicky Kaushal has found freedom: he doesn’t dwell on whether he will be typecast as an actor, he won’t commit to a romantic comedy just to break the mould and he can’t be bothered with updating his Instagram page daily just because someone expects it of him. That’s the sort of freedom that comes on the back of one box office blockbuster after another and Vicky is grateful for it.

For a boy who had no acting aspirations whatsoever, Vicky seems born to the spotlight. “I was very shy as a child, but I always felt liberated when I was on stage,” he recalls. Academically inclined, he was pursuing engineering in the field of electronics and telecommunications when an industrial visit in his second year of college catalysed a hard reset. “I entered that workspace and realised I didn’t belong there. I have never felt something so purely and so strongly in my life. I stood there and knew I could never do that. I would never be happy there. That was the first time I asked myself, ‘What gives me happiness?’ and the answer presented itself as another question: ‘Acting?’ It was a given that I had to finish my graduation properly, which I did. I scored well, I participated in a campus interview, I even had a job letter in hand, but then I took a complete detour. I finished college in May 2009 and, two months later, I was sitting in an acting institute in Mumbai. It was like I had graduated and then enrolled for the junior KG of a completely different life,” he laughs.

ON BROTHER SUNNY

I AM THE GUY WHO WILL CHOOSE THE SAME FLAVOUR OF ICE-CREAM FOR YEARS ON END, WHILE SUNNY WILL EXPERIMENT ALL THE TIME. HE WAS THE KID WHO WOULD BREAK TOYS JUST TO FIGURE OUT WHAT WAS INSIDE!

Why Vicky took the engineering route to arrive at an acting career is more of a mystery when you consider that his father is acclaimed action director Sham Kaushal. Yet, his proximity to Bollywood never lured him into that life at an early age. We laugh about the fact that the only two occasions when he tagged along to work with his father were to see Hrithik Roshan and Shah Rukh Khan. “I was in Grade 10 and Hrithik Roshan was this phenomenon that had taken the world by storm. I was also a victim of that storm — I still am — and so I visited the sets of Fiza with my Dad. I didn’t really want to see how a shooting is done… I was only interested in seeing Hrithik Roshan in the flesh. That was the first time I realised that a three-hour film is not shot in three hours! I found being on set thoroughly boring though, because they just kept doing the same thing again and again and again,” Vicky chuckles. “The second time was when Dad was shooting with Shah Rukh sir for AÅ›oka.”

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