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      EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW! Vicky Kaushal: As Artistes, We Have A Responsibility To Keep History Alive

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      Directed by Shoojit Sircar, film 'Sardar Udham' is streaming on Amazon Prime Video. Vicky Kaushal is playing the role of revolutionary Sardar Udham Singh in the film. Actor Vicky Kaushal, who has left a mark on the hearts and minds of the audience with each of his films, says, "It was an opportunity that comes only once in every actor's life. I am very thankful that I have got this movie."

      The actor says, "It is a bitter truth that many people are not aware of Sardar Udham. Many may not even have heard of the name. And it doesn't surprise me either because there is not much information about him in our history books. If it is not there, then how will people know. That is why it was very special and important for us to bring this story."

      vicky-kaushal-exclusive-interview

      As the film releases, Filmibeat had an exclusive conversation with Vicky Kaushal, where he talks about his upcoming films as well as his career, choice of scripts and the experience of working with Shoojit Sircar.

      Excerpts from the interview.

      Q. During the trailer launch of the film, you said that you have been listening to the story of Udham Singh since childhood in your home. But what is it about the script that made you feel like you had to do it?

      Q. During the trailer launch of the film, you said that you have been listening to the story of Udham Singh since childhood in your home. But what is it about the script that made you feel like you had to do it?

      A. I come from a Punjabi family so obviously there was a cultural connection. I have been listening to their stories from my parents, be it Sardar Udham or Bhagat Singh. So when this opportunity came in front of me to play the role of Sardar Udham, I immediately said yes. I was already looking for such an opportunity. Also, since I entered the industry, I wanted to work with Shoojit Sircar. So finally I was getting that chance. I was getting a chance to play the role of a revolutionary. I think this was an opportunity that comes only once in every actor's life. So to do this film, I didn't even need to read the script. But when I got a chance to read the script, to interact more with Shoojit Sircar on it, I came across a lot of information about Sardar Udham, which I didn't even know. Whether about their actions, or their ideologies. I am very thankful that I got this film.

      Q. Do you think films on freedom fighters and revolutionaries are relevant to the audience in today's time? Or does the audience, apart from entertainment, takeaway something good from these films?

      Q. Do you think films on freedom fighters and revolutionaries are relevant to the audience in today's time? Or does the audience, apart from entertainment, takeaway something good from these films?

      A. I think it is very important for us and somewhere as an artist it becomes the responsibility of all of us to keep our history alive. Many a times we don't understand the value of the freedom we have got, what we are living. Many times we forget to respect that this freedom which we have today, we have got it on the sacrifice of many people's lives. On 15th August, 26th January we hoist the flag and then rest for the whole day thinking that today is a holiday. More than that, August 15 has no meaning for the people. So it is very important that we remember the sacrifices through books, movies, songs, celebrate them and keep the sacrifices alive always in our mind. At the same time, as a matter of relevance, I think a person's relevance can be lost, but relevance of a thought cannot. And this film is not a biopic of a man, it is a biopic of his thinking, about what he was saying at that time. What did he mean when he talked about freedom and equality. So we want to show that to the people through this film.

      Q. Is there any aspect of Sardar Udham's personality that you want to imbibe in your life? Or was there a conflict between you and the character?

      Q. Is there any aspect of Sardar Udham's personality that you want to imbibe in your life? Or was there a conflict between you and the character?

      A. Talking about the conflict, the one thing that was completely different between the character and me.. or what is different from any human being.. was that a person carrying a pain and anger for 21 years. And to ensure that he avenge the massacre he had witnessed, even after 21 years. Today we are living in a digital world, where in every two- five minutes we get new information. Today if we have a argument with someone, the next week he can be our best friend. So we are living in these very changing times. Like I am an actor, you are a journalist, whatever is going on in our personal life, no matter how much pain is going on, but when we come to work, everyone expects us to give our best. Put on a mask that we are happy. But then there was this person, 100 years ago, who kept the emotion completely inside himself for 21 years. So it was getting a little difficult for me to capture that feeling. As an actor, I kept that forcibly inside me.

      Q. The film also depicts the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Was it emotionally exhausting or triggering for you as an actor, or as an individual?

      Q. The film also depicts the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Was it emotionally exhausting or triggering for you as an actor, or as an individual?

      A. Too much. As an actor, you always keep yourself ready for the scene. You know that you are going to shoot this scene today, it is an intense scene. But when we were shooting for the part of Jallianwala Bagh, I used to come on the sets in hair-makeup-costume and as soon as I step in that world it shakes me from inside. You know that, you're just trying to recreate the incident, you know the corpses lying around you aren't real. But still it keeps you shaken. More than that, what does not let you sleep at night is the thought that people have really seen this. A crowd of 20 thousand was in a field, from where there was no way to get out. There was only one way, where the army was standing and firing bullets. When you think that some people have really lived, some children have seen it. So yes, as an actor, those scenes were the most intense part of my film life so far.

      Q. You have many different looks in the film. Along with this, different phases of Sardar Udham's life have also been shown - from 20s to 40s. Looks can be changed, but internally how was this process like for you as an actor?

      A. To be honest, it was a bit tricky and you are right that the looks can be managed, because you have a whole team of prosthetics, costumes, makeup, who can show you a boy of 18-19 years. You can reduce the weight of 14- 15 kg. But it is not easy to find that innocence inside you and hold it. If a 19-year-old boy goes through the entire Jallianwala Bagh incident and then hold the angst for 21 years, I think he must have been a very innocent soul. If one incident had such an impact on him, he must be naive from heart. So it was not easy to bring that innocence and keep it throughout the film. For this, you have to go a little past of your own that how were you in 19 years and you have to keep that note alive. So it's a little tricky. I have tried it, hope people like that effort.

      Q. Shoojit Sircar's films have a different style. What brief did the director give you about Sardar Udham?

      Q. Shoojit Sircar's films have a different style. What brief did the director give you about Sardar Udham?

      A. He told me only one thing. And I think he gave the same brief to his technicians also; that I want to know the state of mind of Sardar Udham through this film. I don't just want to show that Sardar Udham shot in London, he was imprisoned and he was hanged. Shoojit Sircar wanted people to know the mental state of Sardar Udham through this film. So this was his brief for me. So it became very important for me to capture the emotions. Because the kind of films that Shoojit Sircar makes, there is a lot of silence in them. He does not spoon feed through dialogues how that character is feeling. In such a situation, it becomes a bit challenging for the actor that even when you do not have words, yet you have to convey that emotion to the people. Then you do not have the option, you have to really feel it. It is challenging, but there is a lot to learn from it. Working with Shoojit Sircar makes you grow as an actor.

      Q. Your work has always been loved by the audience, appreciated by critics. Do you now feel the pressure of expectations?

      Q. Your work has always been loved by the audience, appreciated by critics. Do you now feel the pressure of expectations?

      A. No, I don't feel pressure. I want the expectations to keep rising with every film. The truth is that when you become an actor, you have two paths in front of you. One path will lead you where the audience doesn't care about your work, doesn't care about you, doesn't like your work, and therefore doesn't have expectations from you. The second is that the audience will love your work and will have high expectations. So my choice is very simple, I have to stay on second path. Where people have been liking my work and they keep expecting me that if Vicky has done something that he must have done a good job. Because when I know that people are expecting, I will keep working hard on my side and will continue to grow as an actor. So I want the expectations to keep rising with every film.

      Q. What are the things that you keep in mind while choosing the script of the film? What is the process like?

      A. It is very important to see who is the director of the film because cinema is a director's medium. And I believe that any script, it can be made in a hundred different ways, by different directors. So it becomes very important to know the director's vision on a script; how they want to present the story. However, the first thing I notice is that whenever I read or listen to a story, I listen to it as an audience. I listen thinking that I am sitting in the theater watching this movie. When the script ends, if I feel something, then I don't do much calculations. Then I try to enjoy that process.

      Q. Now that cinema theaters are reopening. The release dates of many films have also been announced. How do you see the future of OTT and theaters? Do you think there will be difference in audiences approach after lockdown?

      Q. Now that cinema theaters are reopening. The release dates of many films have also been announced. How do you see the future of OTT and theaters? Do you think there will be difference in audiences approach after lockdown?

      A. I am really happy to tell from my heart that this is a very exciting time, for the audience as well as for those who make films. What has happened in the last 18 months is the way people have adopted OTT. So now it has become an even playing ground. Theatre was the main medium till two years ago, and not importance was given to OTT. But in the last 18 months, OTT was the only medium for entertainment. So I think the future is going to be very exciting, audience will also have the thrill of theater and will also have the option to watch the content from the comfort of their home, as per their wish.

      Q. Would you like to give some information about your upcoming films? Which films are you busy shooting after Sardar Udham?

      A. I have completed one film with Dharma and one with Yash Raj Films this year. I will not be able to tell much about this as the official announcement of both the films is yet to come, from both the studios. After this, next year I am going to start shooting for Sam Manekshaw with Meghna Gulzar.

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