Interview By: Ankita R. Kanabar
From being the innocent Deepak from ‘Masaan’ to a quirky, edgy cop in his latest, ‘Raman Raghav’, Vicky Kaushal has come a long way. That’s not surprising though, considering the passion and drive for his craft, and that reflects in his eyes and voice as you speak to him. In a quick chat, Kaushal speaks about ‘Raman Raghav’, adapting to Anurag Kashyap’s style and what he aims at doing…
“The thrill of being an actor lies in doing roles that are so different from who you actually are”
You’re getting a lot of appreciation for ‘Raman Raghav 2.0’, but how do you look at your journey on this film?
This film was special to me in many ways. My journey started with Anurag Kashyap since I was an assistant director on ‘Gangs Of Wasseypur’. I had never thought I would be acting in a film directed by Anurag Kashyap, co-starring Nawaaz bhai. It was a very surreal feeling for me when after seeing the audition; he told me that he’s locking me for the part. This role has been the toughest for me, and the toughest project I’ve been a part of, because this was so different from who I actually am, mentally and emotionally that I really had to dive into it, there was no other option. I felt like a kid who has gone to swim for the first time, and on the first day itself he was thrown into the deep end. I was scared when I got the part and I was learning throughout but I was very happy there was a director like Anurag Kashyap who was guiding me throughout, and a co-actor like Nawaaz bhai who never gave me that vibe of seniority. He was very supportive. Hence it was such a great experience.
Deepak from ‘Masaan’, followed by ‘Zubaan’ and now this…so different!
Every actor aims at challenging himself, surprising himself first and then the audience. I want that I should be scared before every film and eventually, I want to surprise myself. I am very glad that so early on in my career, I’ve been getting to work with such great directors who are giving me the opportunity to explore myself. That is a big thing for me. When you get such roles, it’s also a responsibility on your shoulders. When a director like Anurag Kashyap trusts you for such a complex part, you have to give your heart and soul to it. Also, the thrill of being an actor lies in doing roles that are so different from who you actually are. That’s my job also.
What was the kind of preparation needed for the part?
He is a cokehead and a police guy. The guy has become so edgy. He is temperamental and extremely unpredictable in his behaviour. So, the character is very layered. Despite certain bad qualities, he is still a policewala, and there’s a certain way he wants to behave. To learn all that, to learn to play a cocaine addict, get that body language, and get that through the eyes was difficult. I had to see a few documentaries, research a lot and isolate myself from people. I stopped talking to my family for a month, and stopped using the internet for a while. That sort of isolation is important when you have to play a character so different from who you actually are!
How did you adapt to Anurag Kashyap’s style of working?
Anurag sir as a writer and director, improvises a lot. There’s not much scope for improvisation for actors because the script on its own was very good. The thing with Anurag sir is that you cannot prepare and come on the set. You just need to have a basic back bone of your character. Eventually you have to come on the set like an empty cup, surrender yourself to him and he will fill it up. If you read a scene, you start visualising it but Anurag sir thinks so differently that you cannot come prepared in a particular way. You have to mould yourself accordingly on the set. So what happens is that, you as an actor are relying completely on your instincts. Acting is all about reacting and after the whole process you become a much more confident actor.
Despite the accolades that you’ve got, do you think that your films so far have targeted a niche category and there’s scope for more?
Of course! Even if I’ve covered every aspect of film-making, I will still think there’s still more scope. You cannot really be satisfied in that sense and that’s how it should be, because only then the artist in you will keep doing something different. I have given that onus to the audience to decide where I fit. But my effort would be to break every box people put me in and do something new each time. That’s what I am working on.
Do you have a wish list of film-makers to work with?
There are so many directors I really want to work with! Vishal (Bhardwaj) ji, Mani Ratnam ji, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Rajkumar Hirani ji, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Aanand Rai sir, Zoya Akhtar, I can go on and on. The list is endless. I feel I can learn so much by working with such directors.
You’re working in Aanand L. Rai’s production next though…
(smiles). Yes, we are going to start shooting ‘Manmarziyaan’ from July end.