Vicky Kaushal is just three films old, but the actor has already made a mark in Bollywood. Vicky is best known for his performance in his first Bollywood release "Masaan," which won the National Award. With his debut film itself, he proved that he is the dark horse who is here to stay.
In "Masaan," he played the role of a boy who belongs to a family of corpse burners in Varanasi, in "Zubaan" (his second movie) he plays the role of a boy who loses faith and develops a fear of music and in his third movie "Raman Raghav 2.0," Vicky plays the role of a dysfunctional cop.
In a telephonic conversation with International Business Times India, Vicky talks about his role in "Raman Raghav 2.0," how he prepared for the role, his equation with the director Anurag Kashyap and how his Bollywood journey shaped up in seven years.
Here are the edited excerpts from the interview:
International Business Times: How did you bag "Raman Raghav" and what was your first thought after reading the script?
Vicky: When I read the script, I was obviously shaken up because of the storyline and because of the director I had met. Anurag sir's films are always good and always character driven film. The whole script reading session was really hard because it shows a serial killer from a different perspective and a cop from a different perspective, so that way the script was really refreshing.
IBT: How difficult was it for you to prepare for the role of Raghavan (a dysfunctional cop) who does drugs?
Vicky: Well, the most challenging part for me was to understand the mindset of Raghav, the cop, because he is not the ideal cop you see in films or you see around yourself. He is a cop who is going through his own problems and who is living on the edge and is really disturbed from inside. He tries to be really macho and behaves like a sane cop, but actually, he is psychologically intrigue, because of what he sees and what he goes through. He is twisted, he is demented, he is unpredictable, he has temperamental issues and he abusing himself with drugs, so he is going through a lot in life and how a person like this who is being on the right side of the law, then the question arises how safe is the law and how safe is being on the right side of the law, which I thought added a lot of complexity to the character and understanding the mindset was important. So because the character was so different from what I am and how I behave, I had to cut off myself from my world, my family and friends. So in order to understand this person, I had to stay in isolation to get into the skin of the character.
The other thing that helped me a lot was the clarity Anurag sir gave me of the character. He told me what he exactly wanted from the character of Raghavan. He gives you that space to explore as a performer, but he also goes to the boundary of the character really really well, so that really helped me.
And there were other things and technicality I needed to incorporate, like you said, a person who is into drug and substance abuse, so doing that you need to learn a lot, because Anurag couldn't show the technicality in all the frames to just put forward the thought that he has a habit of it. So I studied about substance abuse through a lot of documentaries, its use and harmful effect and how the mentally of a person's change after you start taking drugs. Also, the product we used was a combination of starch and Glucon D, so that was also a great team effort that they made Glucon D look like a cocaine. And Anurag sir wanted me to really reduce my fat and look dehydrated because looking dehydrated was not something you could achieve from makeup, so for that, there was a specific diet that I followed and I was on less water, less salt and less food to get the perfect look. The whole process was really intense and it was just shot in 21 days and I was cast only two weeks before, so there was really not much time in my hand, so that is why the whole process was really difficult for me.
IBT: Then the whole process must have really affected your health?
Vicky: Well yes, but I really don't think about that when you are portraying the character. It's okay, you get back to normality once the film is over and you start living your normal lifestyle again.
IBT: In "Raman Raghav 2.0" you play the role of a cop; are you happy that you are doing dark roles so early in your career?
Vicky: I am very happy and I feel very fortunate that a director like Anurag Kashyap has a faith in me. This is only my third film and Anurag sir is very particular about the casting in his films, so when a director like him shows a faith in you to portray a complex character like Raghav, then you feel responsible and also, your role gets boosted a lot. The reason why I wanted to be a part of this film is because I knew that this would be the toughest process I would go through and it is always good for you and good for your growth as an actor and I have learnt a lot from this films.
IBT: Generally an actor tries hard to make his/her debut with an out-and-out commercial film or with a big director, but you chose a film like "Masaan;" was it a deliberate attempt to make a debut with a movie like "Masaan"?
Vicky: I don't know. Actually, I feel nice about the script I chose. I feel nice when I look back and see that I made a debut with a film like "Masaan," which was the hero and because people liked "Masaan" my work got appreciated.
IBT: Tell us about your Bollywood journey...
It started in 2009. There was this guy Vicky Kaushal who had just graduated as an engineer with a job letter in hand, but I wanted to become an actor, so he quit that life that secured life he had and eventually came to this world. I knew nothing about filmmaking, so the first thing I wanted to do is see how a film is made, how 200-300 people come together to make a film. So I got an opportunity to work as an intern assistance on the sets of Anurag Kashyap's "Gangs of Wasseeypur" and that I feel was the best schooling and foundation I could ask for because shooting for "GoW" for four months in 2010 thought me a lot of things. That was the film that was made with limited constrains, with tight location with almost 300 actors. It gave me a lot of technical knowledge because when an actor is performing in the medium of cinema there is lot of technicality he or she needs to understand, so that first-hand experience I got on the sets of "GoW." After that my next step was theatre. I spoke to Manoj (Bajpai) sir, Nawaz sir, Richa Chadha and everyone else, I got to know the importance of theatre, so I started exploring that and alongside I started giving auditions.
I used to leave the house at 11 in the morning and used to roam around in the city where auditions used to take place. I used to stand in line and audition for several roles, and then "Zubaan" happened and "Masaan" and now "Raman Raghav 2.0."
IBT: Since you wanted to join film industry, did your father Shyam Kaushal, who is an action director, help you in getting movie offers? Was he supportive of you joining Bollywood?
Vicky: No, he never wished to or I never wished to that anything in my life comes through his recommendation. First of all, that is not even possible because nowadays films are made and huge investment that goes into making a film and nobody would spend that much amount on you only because you are somebody's son. So I knew that I have to concentrate on my acting so that the makers are impressed with my talent. Also, my father is a very self-made and I wanna follow footsteps. So it was always a deal between me and my dad that I quit engineering and I told him that I want to achieve on my own strength. He told me one line that 'I will be standing by your side always not as an action director, but as a father.'
IBT: You have done three offbeat films, and now you are doing a commercial love story "Manmarziyan;" Tell us about the transition...
Vicky: I never categorised myself, it is up to the audience to do that. I just wanted to be a part of cinema and storytelling and play a different character. Whatever happened, happened on its own. I gave auditioned for the films which I have done and I got the part and when I read the script of "Manmarziya" I loved it and wanted to work with Anand Rai ji and I feel Ayyushmann and Bhumi are a great talent. So I feel that I learn something with the new film. I just loved the script and accepted the role and I am also liking how directors and other actors are helping me to shape up my career.
IBT: What do you prefer more – a commercial film or an offbeat film?
Vicky: I really don't categorise like that. As an actor, I don't restrict myself to one particular thing. My sole purpose is to entertain the audience and I want to reach out to larger base with every film I do and I want to surprise them and myself as well with each performance. So I am not categorising anything and only looking for great scripts.