Raazi, Masaan, Raman Raghav: With Alia Bhatt-starrer, Vicky Kaushal is entering his golden phase
If directors like Rajkumar Hirani, Anurag Kashyap and Karan Johar can spot his potential, rest assured Vicky Kaushal is here to stay.
In Bollywood lexicon, Vicky Kaushal’s image should be listed right next to the word "charmer". With his sensitive eyes, affable smile and an ability to deliver the goods in front of the camera, he really has become the new poster boy for charisma. The promo of his upcoming film Raazi once again gives us reason to believe that Alia Bhatt is in good company. From afar, it seems like an understated and restrained role with subtle nuances, where all boxes have been ticked by the 29-year-old actor who this year also featured in Forbes India’s 30 Under 30 and was aptly described as ‘the silent performer’. The journey from Masaan to Raazi has only seen an upward trajectory in the career of this natural actor, just as his father’s journey from a chawl in Malad to a 26th floor high-rise in the suburbs of Maximum City.
The ‘nepotism’ tag may haunt Vicky Kaushal for years to come but credit must also be given to him for carving his own path and following an unconventional route. The journey till now has been peppered with interesting career choices ranging from a soulful Masaan to a gritty Raman Raghav to now a subtle yet intense Raazi. In short Vicky is the underdog who can now start worrying the current heartthrobs. The dash of simplicity and the natural flavour he brings along in his performances have also made him part of a club which currently boasts only a select few. It’s a pity that most missed out on his last release, the charming Love Per Square Foot which released only on Netflix.
The engineering degree that’s part of his CV had to yield in front of a strong urge to be in front of the camera. The good company that Vicky has maintained over the years has ensured that he continues to imbibe all that’s good and useful in honing his skill. And thus while he sharpened his knowledge by assisting Anurag Kashyap in Gangs of Wasseypur, he also polished his acting skills by doing theatre under the tutelage of Naseeruddin Shah and Manav Kaul. Thanks to the friendship he developed with his fellow assistant director Neeraj Ghaywan on the sets of Gangs of Wasseypur, he managed to snag a role in Masaan. When released, the film was a revelation. The role of a Banaras boy did not come naturally to a guy born and brought up in Mumbai coupled with a Punjabi ambience at home. However, he completely aced the role and this was certified when three award shows conferred upon him the trophy of best male debut. It’s a different matter that the oldest award function in the country deemed Sooraj Pancholi the winner for the award that year.
Raman Raghav was helmed by Anurag Kashyap and the role of Raghavan was a challenge, to say the least. This time too, the odds were against him. He was pitted against Nawazuddin Siddiqui and the then 26-year-old was required to play a mature cop addicted to drugs. Though Raman Raghav failed to create ripples at the box office, the film did allow Vicky to show off his acting chops.
Despite being from the industry, the flamboyance of being an ‘insider’ is missing from the actor’s personality. The credit for ensuring a firm head on shoulders goes to his father Shyam Kaushal, the action director of films like Krrish, Dhoom and Dangal. The journey of his father — from a stuntman to an action director took almost a decade. In an interview, Vicky had remarked that his father made him aware of the harsh realities that Bollywood often presents to actors. In the same breath he had also spoke about having a reality check all the time and how Bollywood is not always benevolent.
The assumption that Raazi marks his entry into a golden phase is not wildly unbelievable. While his fabulous performance as a Pakistani army officer in Raazi is already being recognised, Sanju is bound to ensure that more directors will seek appointments with him once the film is released. Anurag Kashyap’s Manmarziyan with its intriguing plot gives another opportunity to the young actor to show off his craft. He also features in the second part of Bombay Talkies, this time christened Lust Stories and is part of Karan Johar’s story. If directors like Rajkumar Hirani, Anurag Kashyap and Karan Johar can spot the actor’s potential, rest assured Vicky Kaushal is here to stay.
Vicky Kaushal’s judicious selection of films too needs to be lauded. After having shouldered the initial films of his career as its lead, now he is content not being the protagonist. Barring Kashyap’s Manmarziyan, none of his upcoming films revolve around him. This reveals a facet of the actor where the plot of the film remains sacrosanct and not the length. The problem also arises from hesitance on part of directors to cast him in meaty roles who don’t see him as a conventional actor. A slight reluctance to be in the limelight and an aura that oozes a certain seriousness has only added to his mystique. Love Per Square Foot was a perfect continuation to his previous avatar in Masaan, Zubaan and Raman Raghav. While the first three films showcased a persona in tune with what’s normally associated with an Indie film, Love Per Square Foot was a welcome change. It was a film which displayed elements that were missing from his initial films. The film showcased his knack for comedy, romance and dancing in the staple Bollywood commercial format. Sadly, the film failed to become Mumbai’s own Band Baaja Baaraat.
Finally, let us rest our case with this: Vicky Kaushal has a three film deal with Ronnie Screwvala. And if he's good enough for the man behind Lakshya and Rang De Basanti, he's good enough for us.
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