File photo of Vicky Kaushal Photograph:( WION )
Ranbir Kapoor may have won the maximum accolades for Rajkumar Hirani's flawed biopic 'Sanju', but if there's one person who stood out amid a crowd of very well-known faces, it is actor Vicky Kaushal. Kaushal performance as the socially awkward Kamlesh or Kamli struck a chord with one and all. He played the inner voice of the lead protagonist, a loyal friend who remained Sanju's harshest critic and strongest supporter till the end.
Kaushal's role was not the main lead. Hirani's 'Sanju' was primarily a father-son story but Kaushal's sheer talent and his on-screen camaraderie with Ranbir made the film also a story of two friends. A biopic usually glorifies the person its based on. Hirani's 'Sanju' is no different. The film is still worth a watch primarily because of Ranbir's stupendous performance. Kapoor, who has over the years become one of the most formidable actors in Bollywood, literally takes a very flawed, one-sided story forward with his acting. Years later, 'Sanju' will be known as one of Ranbir's career best. But the film will also be remembered for Kaushal's endearing act.
Kamli's as a character could have easily been forgotten as just one of the supporting acts in the film. But Kaushal managed to shine and make people sit up and notice his character of a friendly Gujarati businessman in the US who befriended Sanju as he and his family were grappling with the sudden demise of Nargis Dutt. Kaushal's performance left such an impact that it got people curious about the actual person on whom the character was based.
This isn't the first time this year that Kaushal has impressed critics and fans alike with his performance. His last release before 'Sanju' was in Karan Johar's story on Netflix'prodcution 'Lust Stories.' A film primarily about women and their sexual desires, Kaushal's buffoonery struck a chord with one and all. Kaushal played an ignorant husband whose pleasure in bed comes literally in five thrusts much to his wife's (Kiara Advani) dismay. Kaushal's role was an unconventional one. A role that perhaps a lot of actors would be apprehensive to play as it did not glorify his machismo, instead poked fun at his inadequacies in bed. Yet Kaushal's performance stood out despite some the strong portrayals by the women.
2018 can now safely be called Vicky Kaushal's year. A year that saw him in four releases- two for Netflix and two for the theatre which became blockbusters of the year. Of the four films, in three, Kaushal did not play the central character- yet managed to leave a lasting impression in each of these films. Each of the characters was strikingly different but Kaushal was convincing in all these parts. Be it as the supportive husband whose world comes crashing as he finds out his wife is a spy in 'Raazi', or the ambitious guy craving to own a space of his own in the ever-growing city of Mumbai in 'Love Per Square Foot' or even as the enterprising, loyal Kamli in 'Sanju'', Kaushal made each of the characters his own.
Kaushal first appeared in a small role in 'Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana' but it was his performance as the lovelorn Deepak in 'Masaan' that made people sit up and take notice of him. Your heart went out for him as he cried his heart out after cremating his girlfriend. His second film, 'Zubaan', had him playing a conflicted person who finds solace in music. And while the 'Masaan' and 'Zubaan' presented a softer side of the actor, Anurag Kashyap's 'Raman Raghav 2.0' had Kaushal playing a strikingly different role as the antagonist. His character was dark, evil and someone you would easily like to hate. And the actor aced it making Raghav one of the darkest characters that Bollywood has seen in recent times.
It's not over for Kaushal yet this year. He will be next seen in Anurag Kashyap's 'Manmarziyan' which also co-stars Abhishek Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu. And though the story of the film is not known yet, one can be assured that Kaushal will shine in yet another different character.
In Bollywood, it is easy to get typecast soon. Man of the moment, Ranbir Kapoor himself has played the same 'coming-of-age' character in multiple films. So credit must be given to Vicky Kaushal for steering away from the herd and choosing characters that matter irrespective of the screentime.
He may be a few films old, but Vicky Kaushal, in a very short span of time has become one of the most dependable names in Bollywood. He takes risks, he experiments and manages to surprise the viewer with his talent one film at a time.