Actor Vijay Verma says it’s a classic underdog story, where he went from a wide-eyed boy with dreams who ran away from home and headed to Mumbai to eventually become an actor.
In this interview with indianexpress.com, Vijay talks about how he went through a phase where he didn’t have much work offered to him. He said he was a beggar then who wasn’t supposed to choose, but he made sure to turn things around by choosing the right projects and learning along the way.
About having an excellent filmography with films like Pink, The suitable boy, Gully boy and Darlings, the actor said: “These projects come to me but I had to choose. I traveled a bit. I was in a position where I didn’t have enough choice, so I had to take whatever I could at desperate times. Soon I realized that even beggars could choose. So in the beginning, in terms of auditioning and everything, I used to refuse to audition for parts that I didn’t like.
“I had decided that I had to take matters into my own hands and choose what I wanted to do with my career. I didn’t want to play roles that I couldn’t do justice. I had to start from scratch. And, thankfully for me, i’m in a place right now where i can organize the kind of movies i want to do and the roles i want to play. Now that i have a small body of work, i can’t afford to repeat what I’ve done before. So that becomes one of the criteria when choosing the script. The other is to understand what I’m doing in the film and the third, and most important, is what makes the movie, what it says and how much it says it,” he adds.
Vijay also explained how his characters and Alia Bhatt’s in Darlings are worlds away from what they did in Gully Boy. He says: “I had to make a conscious choice because Alia and I were also at Gully Boy. So we wanted to make sure we created completely new identities. The script was rich enough to give us so much to feed. I went to Byculla, I spent time with the people, I heard their stories, I heard how they party, how they spend their evenings, how they are obsessed with reels, how they like their social networks and what music they listen to. I studied them and realized how much more Urdu there is in their “Bambaiya”, which I love as I’m from Hyderabad. This is how I collected small pieces to become Hamza who is a very respectable man, who has a government job.
Vijay has been an actor for ten years and calls it a journey of learning. “The underdog who came here ten years ago feels seen right now. I took many leaps, risks and chances at the cost of almost breaking my whole family. I ran away from home. So they all feel a lot of respite now they feared how i would get out of it its not easy to go to mumbai and become someone i was told ‘tu shah rukh khan nahi hai’ but now Shah Rukh Khan employed me for his movie,” Vijay shared.
Some of the best films in Vijay’s recent filmography have been directed by female filmmakers. Darlings too, a film about domestic violence, is directed by Jasmeet Keer, a rookie filmmaker. On the female gaze in stories, and whether it made a difference in the way a story is told, Vijay says, “There is no difference per se, but I like it when a female director tells me directs, especially when I’m playing a really bad character. I like it as a director sees it. There’s a certain kind of regard that a female filmmaker even has for mean men, which is very, very compassionate.
“They want to say how freakish that person is, but somehow it always evokes some kind of empathy. But there’s an equal amount of vulnerability that, say, Shoojit Sircar or Imtiaz Ali or Zoya Akhtar brings to their films. They are equally nuanced and compassionate people. So there’s almost no gender difference when it comes to working with filmmakers, but with Darlings I feel like only a woman can tell the story,” concludes Vijay.