Talktime | ‘I seek truth in stories’

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Talktime | ‘I seek truth in stories’

Sunday, 22 March 2020 | MUSBA HASHMI

Talktime | ‘I seek truth in stories’

Vjay Varma | He is known for his roles in films like Pink, Monsoon Shootout, Gully Boy and Baaghi 3. He speaks with Musba Hashmi about his latest project, She, a Netflix series, what attracted him to the project and his early days in the industry  

What is your role in She?

I play Sasya, a diabolical man who works in a mysterious way. No one knows who he is but is a key figure in the narcotics ring who has important information that can help in nabbing the people involved in the narcotics chain. He is from the Telangana-Andhra belt and is an extremely problematic person.

What made you take up the role?

When I first heard the narration from Imtiaz Ali, I was blown away with the story and was shocked too. Shocked because it is unlike any Imtiaz Ali story that people have seen before. Just to imagine this coming from his mind was an absolute discovery for me. Then he told me my part. It was a challenging one and I was scared to take it up but I am glad that I took the chance. I had an interesting time shooting for it.

From playing Jhunku in Chiitagong to Akhtar Lahori in Baaghi 3, how has the journey been?

Jhunku was my first screen outing and it has been a long journey since then. The journey was neither too tough nor too easy. I kept working and putting my efforts into everything I did. In the first two years of my career, I saw mostly failures. Then films like Pink and Gully Boy happened which were widely appreciated. It feels like it was an impossible journey but I am glad that I made it till here. Because it is not at all easy to come in  the industry, do a minor role but still be able to leave an impact. Gully Boy changed the pace of my career. After the movie, a lot of work came my way. I am in the thick of things right now and I enjoy being here. It’s something that I have patiently waited for all these years and now I am living every moment of it.

What is your approach towards acting?

Whenever I take up any project, the only thing that I look for in my character or for that matter the story is there should be some truth in it. Even if I am doing fantasy or portraying a bizarre situation, I have to find a way to connect to the person in the story. I try to give some insights to the characters I play so that people can relate to them in a certain way. My approach is to say some kind of truth through my craft that people should find some connect with it and they should listen to me.

Your first short film was Shor. How did you come on board for that?

It was on-campus casting. Raj and Krishna DK were looking for some young actors to be a part of that for very little money. I was studying at FTII, they were in the campus, we met and they liked me. Then we went to Mumbai and shot for the film for few days. That’s how it happened.

Your parents were not happy with your decision of becoming an actor. How did you convince them?

I just didn’t bother convincing them because I myself wasn’t convinced that I would be able to do something in the industry. They got convinced once they started reading my name in the newspaper and then eventually watching my film with Amitabh Bachchan. That was like a sense of approval and validation for them.

Was there a dream role that you wanted to play when you came to the industry?

Back then I didn’t know what I want to play but I knew what I didn’t want to play. It is like you are coming from nowhere in the industry with no resources and you are digging your doubts of how things will happen, where to go, what would work for you and what wouldn’t and so on. But to give you the key to make your way in the industry is to figure out what you don’t like. That’s where I started from, I didn’t know what I like or what I could do but I definitely knew what I didn’t want to do. Like, I didn’t want to do TV back then so I didn’t go that way. I kept discarding stuff for some time. Eventually, I started finding what I liked and I started taking up projects. Even today, I still don’t know what I want to do and if I will get what I think I deserve.

What are your upcoming projects?

She just got released. Then I am a part of another series The Suitable Boy and have an interesting role in it. I am also a part of Hurdang. Then I will be a part of a sci-fi comedy with Anand Gandhi. I am also shooting for Fallen, an amazon prime series that will feature Sonakshi Sinha.

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