Donning the army uniform for the thriller Uri was more than just slipping into a new character for actor Vicky Kaushal. In this interview, the actor reveals he undertook a personal, introspective journey while shooting for the Aditya Dhar directorial.
As a citizen, Vicky always had his own take on patriotism, but working on Uri made him see things in a new light.
“I always thought that it was more important to feel patriotic. But when you have to play an army guy, it is different from how we sit at home and feel patriotic. This is about action. It is because of our conditioning that we automatically respect our soldiers.
“But for them, it is a job that they do. They are always on the trigger. They have to protect. Their outlook towards patriotism is so much more concentrated. They are so into it. They live patriotism,” the actor said.
Uri, which also stars Yami Gautam, Paresh Rawal and Kirti Kulhari, is based on the Indian Army’s surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the Line of Control, days after the Uri attack.
Vicky Kaushal said the team was aware that this project had to be dealt with a huge sense of responsibility because patriotic films in India are more of a sentiment than a cinema-viewing experience for the audience.
“The topic of patriotism is so relevant today. It is like we are defining what patriotism is. Is it about showing and expressing patriotism or about feeling it? In times like today where we are more vocal about patriotism, it was a huge task to tell this story and convey the message more responsibly. And hats off to Ronnie Screwvala to back this project and to Aditya Dhar for doing this,” he said.
Ruminating on his personal experience of playing an army officer, the actor said the best takeaway from Uri was the long late-night chats that he had with real-life army men while prepping for the film.
“What happened to me personally was something. My outlook towards the military has changed. I always had respect for them, but now portraying their life in such a personal way, it just gave me an opportunity to play so many different shades of their lives – their family life, their life at the war front, their training, and everything to do with them.
“It is when they (soldiers) start telling their stories, you realise how fascinating their stories are. I was all ears. I realised they are not normal beings. They are just something else. Their way of living, the way they follow etiquettes, their discipline, the way they respect women, it is outstanding. After talking to them, when I would come back home, I would be full of stories and would share my experiences with my family and it was all awe-inspiring,” Vicky Kaushal said.
There are still days left for Uri to arrive in theaters (January 11), but the army has already given the film a thumbs-up.
The actor shared, “We have shown our film to them. The biggest validation for us was that they told us that we have made the film with great authenticity. When military guys say that, it is something. These guys are very sentimental about the finer details about their life. And that eye for detail doesn’t come from an arrogant space, it comes from a very personal and sentimental space. They earn this.”