When hydrophobic Vicky Kaushal was asked to jump in Ganga for Masaan: ‘Maine socha ye kya hogaya’

Vicky Kaushal became a national heartthrob with Uri: The Surgical Strike. But people recognised the actor in him way before, with the 2015 release, Masaan. The Neeraj Ghaywan film established him as a credible performer. Even now, it is among the frontrunners when his best performances are recounted. Vicky, however, was not sure if the film will ever release. It was the first full-fledged Hindi feature that he did.
“When we were doing Masaan, we were not even sure if this film will release. We were just shooting. It was a time when I was desperate for work,” Vicky told acting mentor Atul Mongia during a conversation for The Art Collective. Calling himself lucky to have landed a good script like Masaan, Vicky expressed how he never expected the film to “breakout” and open the doors for Bollywood. However, he admits to have learned a lot about the craft of acting on the sets. “But it was there when I realised the importance of being a part of a good story because you don’t make a film, a film makes you a star. It was on this film that a lot of my myths (about acting) were shattered,” he revealed.

But while Vicky did not fret much about Masaan release, he was scared if he would continue to be on board of the film. The actor was unsure about pulling off a scene in the National award-winning film. Remembering the Masaan days, Vicky recalled how he lied to the filmmakers about knowing how to swim for a scene. The actor revealed he overcame hydrophobia in order to learn swimming and perform a scene in which he had to dive into the Ganga.
In a conversation with Radio City India, Vicky said, “Bachpan me swimming seekhne ka bilkul mann nahi karta tha because mujhe deep water bodies se bohot darr lagta tha. Maine pehli baar swimming seekhi thi Masaan se pehle because unhone bol diya tha ki tumhe Ganga me koodna hai. Maine socha, ‘Arre yaar ye kya hogaya.’ Darr ke maare maine bol diya ki aati hai swimming taaki nikaal na dein picture se. Pehli film thi‘ (From childhood, I never wanted to learn swimming because I was scared of deep water bodies. I learned swimming while shooting for Masaan because they told me that in a scene I will have to dive into the Ganga. I thought to myself, ‘Oh god, what do I do?’ But out of fear that I might lose out on the one acting project I learned how to swim. It was my first film).”

Post Masaan, Vicky received immense love and tasted huge success with Uri: The Surgical Strike. The film’s massive victory at the box office opened gates of many leading Bollywood production houses. However, as per Vicky, it is not Uri but Sanju that made people take notice of him. In the same conversation with Radio City India, Vicky agreed that his role as Kamli in Sanju changed his career’s trajectory. “This film reached every corner of the country and because that character was so under wraps, when it came alive on the silver screen, people accepted it wholeheartedly,” he said. Sanju was a biopic on Sanjay Dutt’s life. The Rajkumar Hirani film saw Ranbir Kapoor playing the lead role, while Vicky played a fictional supporting character.
Currently, Vicky, who is in New York with Katrina Kaif, has interesting projects in his kitty. The actor will be seen in Meghna Gulzar’s next, titled Sam Bahadur. He will also be seen in Govinda Naam Mera, which reunites him with Bhoot co-star Bhumi Pednekar. He will also be seen in Dinesh Vjian’s next with Sara Ali Khan.

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