Not many know that before playing the baddie in Pink, Vijay Varma’s first project as the protagonist and lead was in Amit Kumar’s Monsoon Shootout. But the film’s release got delayed in spite of making its way to several international film festivals including Cannes.
Monsoon Shootout releases today after a delay of four years. With its release, Vijay can finally get some peace of mind. Says he, “I cannot explain the state of mind I’ve been in during the last four years. Sometimes I experienced quite intense feelings.
I felt disheartened, angry.” The actor had not signed a single project after Monsoon Shootout because he thought the industry will perceive him in a certain manner after playing the lead. “But I realised that it wasn’t the case. So I had to start off again. I wanted to sign roles that were meaty for my graph but I was unable to. So I started picking up whatever films I was being offered,” he adds.
In Monsoon Shootout, Vijay plays the character of a police officer who faces the dilemma of whether or not to shoot a suspect.
“This idealistic and ethical man joins the crime branch. He wants to follow the system, but then he gets acquainted with the functioning of the crime branch,” he says while promoting the film, which also stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui.
He says that the script was thoroughly written, which made working on the project really exciting. “When I was offered the film, I found the writing thorough. After watching the film, you will realise that there are deep layers between the stories. Also, we haven’t seen such a gangster-police film before,” he says.
Monsoon Shootout is one of the films that Vijay had done at the beginning of his career. “You rarely get to play the lead as a newcomer and that too with a talented actor like Nawazuddin. I knew I will be sharing the screen with some great actors and the project had everything that was needed. Though it was no Yash Raj film, it was a big deal for me,” adds the actor who has passed out from Film and Television Institute of India.
Sharing more about his co-star, Vijay says that Babumoshai Bandookbaaz actor is focused and instinctive. “It was a delight working with Nawazuddin because he is so consumed in his work. He would always remember the character graph after the narration and knew what to do and how to do it. On the other hand, I would come to the set with lot of preparation. It was a great learning experience,” explains Vijay.
Has his outlook towards approaching a character, or being prepared before reaching the set, changed after collaborating with filmmakers like Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury and Tigmanshu Dhulia? “I have become more flexible. In case of Monsoon Shootout we had a bound script and I had trained for the character in order to get the posture, salute, body language right. With some filmmakers like Priyadarshan, the lines are written on the sets and we have to understand the character and finish the shoot. There is no preparation involved. While working with Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury for Pink, I had to prepare because the set up was real. On the other hand, Tigmashu doesn’t like his actors to do too much research or prepare and prefers spontaneity. He says, ‘You know your job, so come and do it’,” adds Vijay.
The actor has another reason to smile — his short film Counterfeit Kunkoo directed by Reema Sen Gupta has been selected for the Short Films competition category at Sundance International Film Festival. Vijay says, “It is the largest independent film festival in the world. And Counterfeit Kunkoo has an absolute indie spirit. We hustled our way into making this film in difficult emotional and physical spaces. I am looking forward to the audience response now. And if time permits, I hope to attend the festival.”