Vicky Kaushal made an impressive debut as a leading actor with Masaan (2015). While he left a mark with films like Love Per Square Foot (2018), Raazi (2018), Sanju (2018) etc, Uri: The Surgical Strike (2019) catapulted him into the big league and ever since, his films are keenly awaited. Govinda Naam Mera is no exception and for the first time, he’ll be seen in an out-and-out commercial role. The talented and dashing actor exclusively spoke to Bollywood Hungama about his film, journey, upcoming films and a lot more
Govinda Naam Mera EXCLUSIVE: “We have grown up watching commercial Hindi films starring Akshay Kumar, Govinda, Shah Rukh Khan etc. Woh dekh ke hi maine sapna dekha tha ki I want to become an actor” – Vicky Kaushal
In Govinda Naam Mera, you are playing a dancer who is dominated by his wife at home. Was there any real-life reference to this character?
It was an amalgamation of many people that I have come across in my life. He’s a background dancer and I have come across many such people, being a part of this profession. I have known their life stories, how they have to keep their pains behind and give their heart out while dancing in front of the camera. Govinda also goes through it but he has other issues in life as well – ghar ka panga chal raha hai, he has a girlfriend, his wife also has a boyfriend, the maid has made his life hell, he has a best friend jisko dekh ke laga tumko lagega ki usse acha toh tumhara dushman hai, and there’s also the angle of step brother and stepmother. Now, I have come across many such characters or seen these incidents happening while growing up in Mumbai. So I remembered it and acted accordingly.
In Govinda Naam Mera’s trailer, we see that the husband is okay with the wife having a boyfriend, while the wife also seems to be fine with the husband’s girlfriend. Moreover, the trailer is very well-cut. One can’t guess what has happened or who got murdered…
Oh yes. We had various versions of the trailer as we were trying to figure out how much to show, how much to hide from the trailer etc. From the trailer, the viewers need to get the vibe of the film and it should also not give away the plot. Viewers shouldn’t know who died, what is the confusion etc. As for the wife having a boyfriend, the husband having a girlfriend and them knowing about it all, it’s all done in the garb of comedy. At the same time, where whose loyalty lies and for what reason is still unclear.
At the trailer launch, you revealed that your relatives in Punjab would ask you when will you do the song-and-dance routine in films. Although you did get to dance in Manmarziyaan (2018), it was not a full-on commercial film. Were you waiting for an offer like Govinda Naam Mera to come your way?
100%. We have grown up watching commercial Hindi films starring Akshay Kumar, Govinda, Shah Rukh Khan etc. Woh dekh ke hi maine sapna dekha tha ki I want to become an actor. My entry into the film industry happened with Masaan (2015). I am so grateful that a different voice was getting a space in cinema. It showed that it’s not like only a chocolate boy hero can only become a hero. There was scope for other actors as well. I was lucky I did films, which helped me evolve as an actor and make me a confident performer today to take up a film like Govinda Naam Mera. If I was offered this role earlier, I might not have had the confidence to take it up, or I might not have had the conviction to pull off the role. But at this point in my career, I was hungry to explore this shade in me. I knew I had the masti because, in real life, I am that guy who wants to have a lot of fun. I rarely socialize and don’t believe in having small chats with people. I’d rather sit at home. But if I am going to a party, then I am dancing and having a good time. So, I was waiting for a film where I get to explore dance and comedy and where I don’t have to cry. I got to do all of that in Govinda Naam Mera. I am very happy that Shashank Khaitan and I could collaborate.
What was your reaction when you learnt that Govinda Naam Mera will not release in cinemas?
For me, this was not the first time as Sardar Udham (2021) also had an OTT release. More than the demarcation of OTT or theatrical film, the audience in its mind only demarcates a film as good or bad. Shershaah (2021) is a great example. Today, you don’t remember it as an OTT film. The way people have loved it, the perception is that it’s a great mainstream film enjoyed by everybody. You just have to focus on making sure the film is good and ensuring that it reaches a maximum number of people. I am too small a player to understand the logistics and mathematics that goes behind taking the decision of taking the theatrical or digital route. It’s the producer’s call and Karan Johar is a guy who’s knowledgeable and an expert in this business. Their main aim was to put it on a platform where maximum people can watch it and they have achieved that. Audiences would either say ‘bahut maza aaya. Dekh tu’ or else ‘Bakwaas film hai. Mat dekh’. The medium becomes irrelevant then.
Was it tough shooting for this film, considering you and Bhumi Pednekar got infected with Covid-19?
We started filming just before the second wave started, in March-end 2021. It was the fourth or fifth day of the shoot. Bhumi and I were shooting together. Since morning, I was feeling odd. By afternoon, I told the unit that I feel sick. It was also a time when nearly everyone was getting Covid. Soon, Bhumi and I tested positive. The shoot was stalled and we were going to resume once we recover from it. By then, the second wave exploded. So, the shoot halted for nearly two months. We resumed in the last week of June and completed the shoot in early August.
At the trailer launch, you mentioned that Shashank Khaitan is a brilliant actor and director. Did he ever enact a scene for you?
Yes, Shashank indeed is a brilliant actor and a dancer. We used to do theatre together. We were a part of Motley theatre group, run by Naseeruddin Shah. We acted in a play called The Caine Mutiny Court Martial. Naseer saab directed it. I had a very small role while Shashank was the main lead. This was way back in 2013. Later, we got busy with our respective careers and lost touch. A year later, I read ‘Directed by Shashank Khaitan’ on the poster of Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania (2014). I was pleasantly surprised! Then, we kept in touch and hoped to collaborate. I worked on BHOOT: Part One – The Haunted Ship (2020), in which he was the creative producer. Finally, Govinda Naam Mera happened.
He is also a fantastic dancer. He was a trainer for Shiamak Davar’s dancing academy in Nashik, before he wanted to become an actor. Mujhe choreographer se darr nahin lagta tha. Mujhe Shashank se darr lagta tha. He would throw terms like ‘Tera solar plexus aur tera core theek nahin hai’. I would scratch my head, wondering ‘Yeh solar plexus kya hota hai’! He would also dance and show it to us. You have to see him dance. In some scenes, I’d simply copy his moves and act as he gets his commercial comic grammar right. Also, for me, it was a new space. So in a few places, I’d ask Shashank ‘Yeh line padh ke dikha’. I’d observe his timing and get the hang of the scene.
Speaking about your upcoming films, a lot has been written about The Immortal Ashwatthama. What’s the latest update?
I can’t speak much about the film. The director and producer should talk about it. But I can confirm that the process is on in a very positive way to get that film on floors. Soon, you’ll get to know the details about how, when and what is happening.
You have six films in your kitty right now. And I believe after Govinda Naam Mera, you’ll be seen in another comic role in Vijay Krishna Acharya’s film, produced by Yash Raj Films (YRF). Is that correct?
Yes. In 2023, a few films of mine might be coming back-to-back. There’s one with Laxman Utekar sir, opposite Sara Ali Khan. There’s another one with Victor sir, produced by YRF and I am also doing one more film with Anand Tiwari sir, co-starring Triptii Dimri and produced by Karan Johar. Finally, there’s Sam Bahadur.
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