A year ago, Anurag Kashyap broke the news of Masaan’s selection in the Un Certain Regard category of Cannes International Film Festival to Vicky Kaushal, one of its lead actors, saying, “Suit silale, Cannes jaana hai (Get your suit ready, we are going to Cannes).” Though ecstatic, Kaushal did not have much idea what the trip to Cannes had in store for him. With Masaan enjoying much acclaim and a standing ovation at the festival, he was busy with screenings and dinner parties. And whatever free time his hectic schedule allowed him was spent in exploring the French Riviera.
Set to pack his bags for Cannes again this year — for the premiere of Anurag Kashyap’s crime saga Raman Raghav 2.0 — Kaushal appears better prepared. He is also more confident about his sartorial choices, which assume great significance during Cannes appearances. “I am fashion handicapped. However, I am clear about keeping it classy and elegant. I don’t want to experiment,” says the actor, excited over the fact that the film will premiere on his birthday, May 16.
A lot has changed for the actor between his two Cannes trips. After starting its journey from there, Masaan went on to collect multiple awards and have an impressive run in the theatres. The movie also earned Kaushal a lot of appreciation for his “natural acting” as a low-caste boy whose love meets a tragic end. Though his second outing as a solo lead in Zubaan was not successful at the box office, from the posters of Raman Raghav 2.0, it seems like he is playing an edgy character. The film releases in India on June 24.
The experience of shooting for Raman Raghav 2.0 has been surreal for him from the start. “On the sets of Gangs of Wasseypur, I was a naive assistant director giving claps before Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s shots. For Raman Raghav 2.0, I was sitting with him and discussing the scenes. Working with him motivated me to put my best foot forward,” says the 27-year-old, who plays a cop in the film. This cop, pitted against Siddiqui’s character of a serial killer, has his own issues with drugs. “He is unpredictable and temperamental yet good at what he does,” Kaushal adds.
Before Kaushal auditioned for the role, Kashyap had his doubts whether the actor, who has not been exposed to the harsh realities of life, could essay it.
To prepare for the audition, which required him to perform two scenes, Kaushal locked himself up in the family’s Madh Island home for five days. Though Kaushal’s take on the cop — who is an insomniac and loner — was very different from what Kashyap had in mind, the director decided to cast him. Kashyap later explained to him that he
had not expected Kaushal to get the character right during the auditions. What convinced the director was the reflection of the character’s complexities that he caught in Kaushal’s eyes.