With Sanju, Lust Stories, Raazi, Love Per Square Foot, 2018 is Vicky Kaushal's breakout year
With every film, Vicky Kaushal has broken the mould of how the industry and the audience see him
It’s been an unusually busy year for Vicky Kaushal. We’ve just crossed the halfway mark and the 29-year-old actor has already had four noteworthy releases — Love Per Square Foot (LPSF), Raazi, Lust Stories and now Sanju. His four outings have been on screens of all sizes and in roles that have showcased his versatility.
The actor’s stellar lineup started with Bollywood’s first Netflix-only release LPSF. The Anand Tiwari film is a breezy urban romantic comedy that revolves around two people’s dream and desperation to own their own home in Mumbai. Kaushal played Sanjay Chaturvedi, a software engineer and son of a railway announcer with equal parts of desperation and charm. When he dreams the impossible dream, you root for him. His joy is infectious. Which is why when he falls in love, you fall in love with him as well.
This isn’t the first time that Kaushal romanced on screen. In his debut film – the award-winning Masaan — he played Deepak, whose father is the Dom Raja of the burning ghats of Varanasi. When he is not in college studying for a diploma in engineering, Deepak helps his father burn corpses, sweep up ash and smash skulls. His fledgling romance with Shaalu (Shweta Tripathi), a girl from an upper caste family, unfolds over Facebook, long bike rides and an appreciation for modern Hindi poetry and literature. There’s a purity and hope to their young love but it’s impossible to shake off the shadow of death that looms large over the city and the film.
Kaushal followed Masaan up with an even-darker serial killer film. In Anurag Kashyap’s Raman Raghav 2.0, Ramanna (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) a psychopathic, copycat modern-day killer finds his ‘soulmate’ in a coke-snorting, sleep-deprived cop Raghuvendra Singh Ubbi (Kaushal) who has no qualms about killing people. Even as the body count rises and cocaine takes control of Raghu, Kaushal made an impact despite Siddiqui’s overpowering presence.
With every film, Kaushal has broken the mould of how the industry and the audience see him. After playing the small-town innocent Deepak to the reckless Raghav and LPSF’s ambitious Sanjay, he was seen next in Meghna Gulzar’s Raazi. In the espionage drama, Kaushal’s Iqbal Syed, an officer in the Pakistani Army provided the perfect foil to Alia Bhatt’s Sehmat, his new bride and also an Indian spy. Even in a brief and under-written role, the actor gave us a vulnerable and understated military man from across the border; the kind Bollywood hadn’t seen before.
In just the last month, we’ve seen Kaushal in two works on the either end of the spectrum. In a short film directed by Karan Johar for Netflix’s Lust Stories, he played the witless, new husband Paras who is utterly hopeless in bed. And, then here is Rajkumar Hirani’s hagiographic biopic on Sanjay Dutt’s tumultuous life where the actor plays New York-based Kamlesh Kanhaiyalal Kapasi, who is Sanju’s (Ranbir Kapoor) longtime ally and moral-compass. The film might have opened to mixed reviews but Kaushal’s performance has found praise from all quarters.
Before the year ends, we’ll see Kaushal once more on the big screen in Manmarziyaan. The film, which is described as a small-town love story, reunites him with his Raman Raghav 2.0 director Kashyap and also stars Abhishek Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu. There is also producer Ronnie Screwvala’s Uri that’s based on the Indian Army’s surgical strike in Pakistan occupied Kashmir that was carried out after the September 2016 Uri terror attacks. This is Kaushal’s first full-blown action film.
This is just Kaushal’s third year in the movies and to quote a recent Johar tweet: ‘Vicky Kaushal is emerging to be such a bonafide movie star. There is nothing this talented actor can’t do’.
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