Monday, April 22, 2013

Vidyut Jammwal

“Everything has its own beauty. The idea of sexy has to change; it’s not about being fat or thin”

By Ankita R Kanabar

(This interview has been published in the April 13, 2013 issue of Super Cinema)

While all of us are passionate and devoted towards something in life, Vidyut Jammwal’s dedication towards action is at a different level all together. It leaves you amazed. When I tell him that action must be his first love, he quips, “Not my first love. Action is my only love.” Now that says it all. But, there’s also so much more to this man! He’s warm, philosophical, and intimidating. No, it’s not just his chiseled body, or the ‘action guy’ image that intimidates you, it’s his intense eyes that do the job. Post his baddie act in ‘Force’, he is back with some never-seen-before ‘dhishoom dhishoom’ in ‘Commando’. On a bright Sunday afternoon, over a cup of coffee, Vidyut seemed completely at ease, with no sign of nervousness, as he spoke about ‘Commando’ and so many other things. Also, you could try and get a glimpse of what lies beneath this tough man. Here we go!

‘Commando’ must be a special film for you, the whole experience on this film must be good…
It’s been incredible. And I’m not just saying it because it’s an interview. For me, when people ask what’s your dream role and what is it that you wanted to do, this is what I wanted to do. There’s no pressure, before the release. Not even an inch of it. And that’s the best part because what I had to do, I’ve done, now I’m doing everything that my producer wants me to do, in terms of promoting the film.

You’ve been training for martial arts ever since you were three years old…so did the film still require any preparations from your end?
I didn’t really have to prepare for the movie. But the way you fight on the streets, for real, is different from what we have to do in cinema because the action has to look larger-than-life, so the most difficult thing was to make it look real. For that we trained extensively for like four months, because I may be a superb fighter, but there were other fighters who had to be trained to get the kicks and the punches. The regular fighters from the union had to be trained because, if I hit the man, I’m actually hitting a man, if I kick the man, I’m actually kicking him. For them to be well-trained to take the kicks and punches, we had to train them for about four months. And that is what makes the film special. I feel more like a person who’s representing India in martial arts than somebody who’s just promoting a movie. That makes me feel proud.

Talking about action in Hindi cinema, the current trend is the ‘larger-than-life’ action that seems absolutely unreal but you think ‘Commando’ might change that trend?
There’s always a time in life where change has to come. Change is the most natural process. And I’m so glad that I’m a part of that change, because, people are really bored seeing that kind of action. I’m one of those people, who doesn’t like the over-the-top action. I don’t like seeing people being punched on-screen and then 50 people flying or cars flying, because I haven’t seen cars flying in real. I’m so glad that I can be somebody who’s representing the youth who doesn’t want to see it. I was just coming and met a man downstairs who came and told me, ‘Sir I’m so happy to see what you do. And how do you do it?’ So, for me it’s an achievement that I can reach out to the common man. People on the streets can recognise the fact that what you’re doing is unreal. For me, if I’m getting the change in a very small part also, then I’m very glad I’m the part of the change.

Most actors aim for being a part of different genres for the fear of being typecast. You’re completely the opposite.
I have a very simple motive. I want to be typecast. But, I want to be typecast as the ‘Action guy of India’. Whether it is a negative role, whether it’s action-romance, action-drama, action-comedy, or whatever, till the time I’m being typecast with action, it doesn’t bother. I realise, action is what I want to do, and that is what I’m born to do. So, when I was being cast for ‘Force’, I wasn’t thinking it’s a negative role, I was just thinking that when I do that kind of action, the whole country will sit back and watch. It didn’t matter to me if I was doing a negative role or playing the 10th lead. I was just happy doing action and that got me everything that I wanted. When I meet youngsters and when I meet people who are already here, they have learnt dancing because they wanted to be a part of films, they’ve learnt action because that’s what sells in movies. I’m in the industry because I do martial arts, it’s not like I joined films and then learnt martial arts. Basically, what I’m trying to say is, I’m an actor today, because I’ve been called to do what I do, and I love doing what I do. Nothing bothers me, because anything about action is good for me.  

Do opinions from people deter you?
Encouragement of any form is superb, and criticism of any form has to be taken too. In my case, I’m taking both of them in my stride, but I’m still doing what I love doing. That is, thinking the way I think, behaving the way I think. You know people go to temples and say, ‘If this happens, I will do this and that’, when ‘Force’ happened, I had already achieved my dream of doing action, so I told God that if action is going to be the USP of the movie and if it works for me, I promise you, I’ll work for every human being on the street, I won’t shy away from going out and meeting people, or clicking pictures for them, or doing every small thing for them. And if ‘Commando’ does well, I’m saying this, and you’re the first person I’m saying this to, that every person who wants to learn martial arts, I’ll make sure he learns, I’ll make sure that anybody who wants to meet me in any form, I’ll go and meet them. If I can be of any help to any human, I will be there. So, if it just works, I’m going to help humanity and me. And Kalaripayattu, if it works, then I’m representing India, I’m representing an art which is dead for the longest time on planet earth.

So, you’re happy with what you’ve got so far?
I’ve got more that I thought I would. When I was doing ‘Force’ and the character of Vishnu which was so negative, I’d never thought I would get the best debut awards. Life has treated me much better than what I thought it would. For me being here and doing action, and people saying that he’s the next action hero, I didn’t ask for this. I don’t know what positive and negative is. I don’t look at life like that. I just go through every emotion and enjoy it. It’s like, when you sow a seed, water the plant and wait for it to finally grow and bear fruits. For me, I’m eating my fruits right now. When I’ll finish those fruits, I’ll start sowing new seeds. That’s what I’m doing right now, relishing each moment. Still, the best phase for me is when I’m sowing the seeds. That’s incredible too, because that time, you have hopes, hopes for something good to happen. Eating is a difficult phase, because you know the fruits will get over, someday. You know what I mean! (smiles).

You said it’s important to accept criticism too, so what kind of criticism have you faced so far?
I’ve been criticised by people around me saying that, I behave in a very similar manner with everybody. I should keep some distinction. They tell me, ‘ you’re supposed to behave like a star and all!’ That’s the only criticism I get and that’s from people immediately around me. If that’s criticism, then I haven’t accepted that as yet, because, I think, for me, stardom sunk in when I was three years old. I felt like a star since then, so there’s nothing new happening with me. I haven’t changed at all.

You were happy doing martial arts, so when did you think that you wanted to be a part of films?
I had different ambitions like a lot of people, I wanted to be an army officer, and a squash player, a gymnast and a swimmer, I was not born saying, ‘I want to be an actor or I want to be a hero’, but apart from all those ambitions, I was sure that I wanted to do action. So, the ambitions kept changing but what I was doing didn’t change. At one point of time I realised that the best way to inspire people, the best medium that I could figure out was cinema. I’ve been inspired by a lot of people, like Jackie Chan, Jet lee. I realised that they inspired me through cinema and so if I get into cinema, I would be able to inspire people. When I go for a run sometimes in the morning to Juhu beach, I see people practicing my stunts. The high that I get that time, I don’t think I get that high anywhere else. It’s nice to know that I can inspire people in some way. I want to inspire people, make their lives healthier, and even if ten people can feel it, it fulfils my idea of action.

But what’s your idea of fitness?  
People on social networking sites tell me that they think of me as one of the fittest guys in the country, I want to explain them that fitness is not about being fat or thin. I know so many thin people who are dying of anorexia or have heart diseases and all that, on the other hand, I know fat people who’re fitter. They can walk longer, have a better digestive system, and can do things better. The idea of sexy has to change. It’s only about fitness. Everything has its own beauty. We can’t be looking at things just in a particular way, we can’t be thinking that this is how things must be. You know this whole thing, this whole perception of beauty is messed up. I know so many women, who are heavier, yet so radiating. And the base is, fitness is the most important thing.

It takes a lot to have your kind of determination towards something, isn’t it?
No, I don’t think it takes a lot. You don’t need anything. You just need to be doing what you love doing. And when you read in the philosophical books or when people say that you should do what you love doing, I’m living that whole experience. I believe that if you do what you really love doing, everybody else will love you. I’m still just doing what I’m supposed to be doing.

People who wouldn’t know you would associate your tough on-screen persona with you, for real. So, tell us, what lies behind this tough, action guy?
I’m still figuring that out. I personally feel that I’m just a happy man, because I’ve fulfilled everything that I wanted to so far. So, I’m happy and content and at peace. Actually, I’ve always been at peace. But at the moment, there’s just too much excitement that I have for everything, because I’m getting to meet and interact with so many people than I used to. I’m just enjoying that. Earlier, my life revolved around waking up in the morning, training, coming back home, eating like a body builder, and go to train again. I had very little interaction with people. At the moment, physically, I’m at my peak, and mentally also I am. I’m enjoying things around me. I’m not really like what people may perceive me to be. Like, if I’m going somewhere, people expect me to be this guy, who flaunts his body by wearing tight t-shirts and behaving like that. But here I am, wearing a pink shirt, sitting and chatting with you. I have to tell you this, you’ll never see me wearing tight t-shirts. I believe, power can’t be displayed; it has to be from within, it should be felt. And every human being is sensitive enough to feel it. You don’t have to show off.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for Sharing this interesting as well as informative post.In my view Gym should be an important part of human's life because if our body is perfect then we can do any work.

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