Check out our latest chat with the supremely talented actor, Vijay Varma who rose to fame with his role in Gully Boy!
The Indian film industry has been blessed with several talented actors, artists and technicians who truly enhance the cinematic experience for the audience. One of these gifted actors is none other than Vijay Varma, who knows just how to bring his characters to life on screen. While his journey in Hindi cinema began a decade ago, it was after the audiences witnessed Moeen from Gully Boy that he started receiving his well-deserved recognition. Since then he has been a part of several other projects including Super 30, Ghost Stories, Baaghi 3 and also made his latest stint with Netflix – SHE, where he plays, Sasya, who is brash, brutal and far from the real-life Vijay.
During our latest interaction, Vijay Varma spoke to us about everything that went into perfecting the character of Sasya. We also spoke about his upcoming projects, his take on digital content and a lot more.
Here’s how it went…
Your journey in cinema began around 2010 but Gully Boy brought you the much-deserved limelight. What kind of changes have you experienced post the film?
“There is a stark contrast post Gully Boy in the way I’ve been received, from the outside it’s been a different experience. From the inside it’s pretty much the same mechanism, I still do my work how I did back in 2010 it’s just the acceptance and the recognition that’s come in a large way career-wise and just having the luxury of choice right now with many credible offers coming. Earlier it was probably just one filmmaker who took interest in me and I’d get one film after another. There weren’t many choices but right now the privilege of choices is there.”
Coming to your latest role, Sasya, from the Netflix Original, SHE. He is a gray character and just his gaze is enough to make you hate him. How difficult or easy was it for you to get into the skin of the character?
It was a little difficult. It’s so far away from where I am as a person on it. The only similarity is that I’m from Hyderabad and he speaks a bit of Hyderabadi but the whole idea of his sexuality is something that I could not get my head around as that came from a deep, dark place, so, we worked a bit on it. We workshopped the hell out of it and just like I say it is one of the things that you can’t find a connection with. I had to let go of a lot of inhibitions and judgements that I had about this person. So I just had to psych myself up and just go out and get the job done. My co-actors helped me through that process a lot. So sometimes, you know, it’s extremely collaborative because if the other person is uncomfortable, then there’s no way a scene can come alive. Because you have to consider the fact that it is affecting somebody as a person. So that freedom was given to me and when I was doing this part I just did it and then, you know, apologized right after the take. So, that’s been the process. You go through these things and you go through the suffering because sometimes you just have to tell the story. And that story requires you to show, to depict the person in full honesty.”
Do you find working on a web show any different than working on a feature film?
“It wasn’t really much different because it’s still exactly the same ecosystem. Because it also has filmmakers who make cinema, like Avinash Das or Arif Ali. All the people who are key players in the making of the show, they’ve all been part of cinema. The DOP, Namit Roy, has shot several films, so it was a set up which was full of filmmakers who have actually tried and been prolific in their work. So, it wasn’t any less or more than a film set. And it was given the due respect and importance that it rightfully deserves. I don’t change my effort basis big screen or small screen, the scene remains what it is. It’s the way you portray the character and understand the story and bring everything together.”
Do you get offered gray characters a lot more or do they interest you more?
“I don’t know if I attract them or they attract me. I don’t know which way it works, but yeah, they do speak to me and I just feel like I understand the dynamics. I think I have a sense of interpersonal relationship and I’m able to kind of put them all in my head together when I’m reading it. So, I take it as a bonus and an advantage that I have and maybe if I’m good at it, then I should do it. Having said that, the first couple of films actually had me playing really noble, nice, loving, dignified characters (Chittagong and Monsoon Shootout) and later on, also I got the roles of a real nice chap. Like there’s a Sci-Fi comedy that I’m doing with Anand Gandhi where I’ll be playing a police officer from the future. And it’s really like a really positive character with certain quirks and then there’s A Suitable Boy too. So you’ll see a shade of me that you have not seen before. It’s not like only dark roles attract me, all kinds of stuff attract me. I just don’t like boring stuff basically.
Is there any actor that you admire and would like to work with?
“I’m a big admirer of Irfan Khan and have been a huge admirer of him since my acting school days. He is one of those actors who recommended my name when I was not getting work and I was struggling. So he believed in me back in the day and it was really heartening to see that. He’s one of the actors that I want to share the screen with and or just to sit and chat with him. He has so much wisdom and he’s so profound and philosophical. I mean, he’s the best we have, hands down. So, he’s been on my list. I’ve managed to work with Mr. Bachchan which was great and I keep working with really good actors so the energy exchange that happens is really beautiful. I worked a lot of times with Nawaz (Nawazuddin Siddiqui). I’ve done three films with him – Chittagong, Monsoon Shootout and I played a cameo in Manton. So, yeah, I would go with Irfan Khan.
With the commendable performances and recognition, your fandom has also certainly gone up in the last couple of years. How are you handling the female attention coming your way?
“Yeah, I mean, I’m not complaining about it (laughs). In fact, for Sasya I am getting more love from the opposite sex which is surprising!”
Which is the one film genre that you’re personally looking forward to being a part of?
“There’s one genre that I have not approached at all, which is a romantic comedy kind of thing, which I really dig. Not all kinds, but there are certain kinds of romantic comedies that I would like to do.”
So, we all know that promotions are a huge part of the film industry. Are you comfortable with those yet?
“I’m comfortable with it, but only to a degree. I have a very little quota of myself to give for this, and I give it like wholeheartedly. But I can’t give a lot of myself to this, so I stay away from an excess of it. I just do my bit then I just back off and I go into my personal private life.”
Can you tell us a little about your upcoming projects?
Yes, there’s a Sci-Fi comedy that I’m doing with Anand Gandhi where I’ll be playing a police officer from the future. Then there’s Huddang which is set in the 90s. It’s a campus drama with the backdrop of a political situation. There are characters that are torn between love and duty.”
And lastly, considering the nation is currently in lockdown, how are you going to celebrate your birthday?
“Self-quarantining has taught me how to spend more time with my self. In this whole period, I’ve been reading scripts, spending time in setting up the house, doing chores, cooking for myself & reading a lot of books & watching content on OTT. Every day is a new self-discovery for me.”
Here’s wishing the actor a happy birthday!
We certainly can’t wait to see more of Vijay Varma on the big screen or the webspace for that matter, what about you?