“This is all I am doing currently. I wake up and from 9am to 9 pm, all I am doing is talking about Sardar Udham Singh. Strangely, it is not tiring too,” says an excited Vicky Kaushal, who stars in the film Sardar Udham. Based on the life of the revolutionary, the Shoojit Singh directorial is releasing across 240 countries on Amazon Prime Video on October 16.
Here are excerpts from an interview with the 33-year-old:
Shoojit has revealed that he wanted to make Sardar Udham for two decades. How did you come into the picture?
I reached out to Shoojit da, and didn’t know he lives in Kolkata, not Mumbai. I messaged him, ‘Sir, I would really love to come and meet you in the office’. He happened to be in Mumbai, and I got to meet him, where I voiced out my eagerness to collaborate with him. I have always admired his work as a filmmaker. Little did I know that I would get a call back from his office, and he started discussing about Udham Singh, he wanted to know if I had any familiarity with that. We started jamming about it, and he later introduced the fact that he was planning to make a film and cast me.
Was it an instant yes?
There was a yes in my heart before he even pitched that film to me! I had gone to him asking for work.
What sort of prep went into playing Udham Singh, because from the looks of the trailer, it is certainly not a run of the mill film?
The pointer I got from Shoojit da for this character was very plain and simple: ‘through this film, I want to get into the state of mind of Udham Singh’ Whatever actions I did was all going to be sketched in the script, but he wanted the audience to take back the state of mind of this person. It became a beautiful process for me as an actor, because I had to completely empty my cup and let Shoojit da fill it with his version. I had to surrender to him as much as I could. We need to realise it’s taken the sacrifice, blood of so many great personalities because of whom we are living today in a a free democratic country. We lose the gravity of that in the constant bombardment of information in this digital world.
The news about theatres reopening in Maharashtra came just days after your film’s Amazon Prime Video release was announced. Do you wish you would have waited a bit more and opted for a theatrical?
It is a great sign that theatres are opening up, and people will go there. What protocol would be followed, if there would be full occupancy, I don’t know. I feel for a film like Sardar Udham, it is important that it reaches out to every Indian across the world, we need to know the history of the sacrifice done by these heroes. If you see the West, they keep making films on atrocities by the Nazis and the camps, they keep reminding the world of the horrific incidents in the past, so we as human beings do not end up making those mistakes again. It was very important for the film to have that kind of reach, which we are getting through Amazon Prime Video.
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