Vijay Varma, the latest ‘hot’ villain

Vijay Varma as the psychopath in Dahaad. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

He began his career with a short film, Shor, in 2008. His first feature-length film was Chittagong four years later. Vijay Varma’s first success was the 2016 Pink, in which he was barely noticed as one of the bad boys. In 2017, the Hyderabad-born Vijay played a villain in the Telugu hit, Middle-Class Abhayi. But it was only with Gully Boy (2019) that he really shot to fame. She and Mirzapur among web series, and Super 30 among his films were others that did well, and he was noticed as the quirky Sasya in the first mentioned.

The actor held a Meet-and-Greet at Mumbai’s One 8 Commune to talk about his latest success streak, and came across as an affable, intense yet easygoing talent who is now set for more triumphs.

Excerpts from a conversation follow:

You have played three fascinating roles as villains in a row with Darlings last year and Dahaad and Lust Stories 2 very recently. How does it feel?

The work that I am doing especially now is exciting me. I feel very nice!

Does all that villainy disturb the person in you?

Not at all! I sleep pretty well at night! When I finish work, I talk to friends, or my mother, and like to be treated normally and not like how I am treated on set like an actor or a colleague. I have done dark characters before, especially on stage and also in a short film I did, and have learnt not to carry my character home.

Simple things are difficult to do, and vice-versa. So was Dahaad more difficult or Lust Stories 2?

Dahaad was way more difficult as I did not know to pitch this character. The idea was to not make him look evil and make it appear that it was his everyday nature. No villain thinks that he is one! I would sit on the monitor to see what I had shot, and I had endless discussions with the director on what to do, and what not to do. As an actor, I create an illusion, just like a magician does.

One positive thing is that your performances are all natural and do not seem to be ‘method’ acting, which I personally feel comes out as too calculated and fake.

Yes, the ease to do it is important, not to go out for method acting. I won’t be able to do method acting even if asked. But learning about a character from the director and others, isn’t ‘method acting’. If I am playing a dancer, or speaking a certain language or dialect, learning them or other skill-sets cannot be called method acting!

In real life, for example, I can’t handle more than two drinks, so I could not understand how my character in Darlings drinks everyday to feel better! I had to know what he feels like! It is interesting to know that when I spoke to some alcoholics and their families, I learnt that the moment they came home they would close all windows and doors and go into a shell.

For Dahaad as well, I spoke to psychologists. It was necessary to psychoanalyze my character, understand mentally unstable people clinically and thus play them. A psychologist I know, Dr. Rushida, was a big help. She gave me tremendous insights.

Which was more satisfying for you—Darlings or Dahaad then?

I think both were exciting in their own ways. Hamza in Darlings saw me as someone witty, sharp-tongued and wicked, while my character in Dahaad, Anand, was introverted, quiet and cool.

So will we see you in more negative roles now?

No. Right now, my upcoming work is not going to be about negative characters. You see, a negative role by itself is not my problem, but playing one serial killer in my life, for example, is enough! I don’t want roles that take away from novelty because of repetition. In one of my forthcoming films now, there is even a hint of unrequited romance.







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