His first film as lead "Uri: The Surgical Strike" will test Vicky Kaushal's commercial viability as a Bollywood actor and he says the box office collections are not an indicator to suggest whether a film is good or not. The 30-year-old actor, however, believes that the numbers are important for the business.
"It is a privilege and an honour for me to reach a stage where you get an opportunity to be tested. I am glad I got this opportunity with such a credible subject. Box office numbers can't decide whether it is a good film or not. But it is important, it is showbiz. A producer invests in a film and expects good return," Vicky told PTI in an interview.
The actor had a great 2018 with back-to-back hits in "Sanju", "Raazi" and "Manmarziyaan" among others and he hopes the trend continues in the new year.
"In 2018, only the films that were good and appreciated did the numbers, irrespective of the cast and crew. The math has simplified a lot. If it is a good film, it will do the numbers," he added.
Vicky said he enjoys prepping up for the roles he plays.
"I love the prep time. The reaction or emotion comes from you and you realise it was there within you and it was untapped. This is the most beautiful part of this profession that you come to know about yourself and that is how you evolve not just as an actor but as a person."
The actor underwent extensive military training for "Uri", based on Indian Army's surgical strikes across the LoC on Pakistan as a retaliation for the Uri attack in 2016.
"When you really prep a lot, it makes you think like the character subconsciously. You might be learning 20 different things for a film and you might be using just 10 out of it. All of the extra things are embedded in you on a subconscious level.
"Those are the things that make you think like that character. We create back-story for a character or an emotion even though it is not going to be part of the film, but it is for us to respond to a situation," he said.
The actor said there is a lot of pressure and responsibility on the team to portray these stories correctly. "We have tried our best to put out the story in the most honest way possible," he added.
Vicky said he had conversations with people from the armed forces but as per the protocol, they were not allowed to interact with those who led the strike in real life.
"We could not meet those who were involved in surgical strikes but we met para-commandos who are trained for such strikes and have been part of covet missions in the past but not this one.
"It was all about understanding their psyche and headspace before, during and after the mission. It was interesting to know their human side like how they face their fears," he said.
It is ironic that the actor played Iqbal Syed, a Pakistani Army major in "Raazi" and in "Uri" he is playing Major Vihaan Shergill, a commander-in-chief, who led the surgical strike.
Drawing similarities between them, Vicky said, both are patriots but in a different milieu.
Asked to comment on Naseeruddin Shah's video interview that a cow's death was being given more importance than that of a cop, Vicky said he is not aware about the veteran actor's remarks in detail but believes everyone's opinion must be respected.
"He said it with his honesty. He is a proud citizen of this country and it is coming out of care and love for this country. He should be heard and not attacked. We need to hear out and respect each other's opinion, otherwise it is not a democratic country," the actor said.
"I feel a human causing harm to another human is a very sad state. It is something we need to introspect, question. Lynching is something I would say is wrong.
We are part of a democratic country but that doesn't mean we take law in our hands. Law has to step forward to see such incidents don't happen," he added.
"Uri" also features Paresh Rawal, Yami Gautam and popular TV actor Mohit Raina among others.
Produced by Ronnie Screwvala's RSVP, the film is slated to release on January 11.
(With PTI Inputs)