News APP

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  gplay  » Movies » 'People are suddenly treating me like a star'

'People are suddenly treating me like a star'

Last updated on: August 01, 2023 12:56 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

'Once I left my photographs at Ram Gopal Varma's office.'
'I told a friend I was concerned no one had contacted me. My friend said, "Itni jaldi nahin hota idhar. Time lagega".'

IMAGE: Suvinder Vicky in Kohrra.

Until a few weeks ago, Suvinder Vicky was leading a near anonymous life in Chandigarh, acting in plays and occasionally performing in local Punjabi films.

He had a few big breaks, like lead roles in Gurvinder Singh's Chauthi Koot (2015) and Ivan Ayr's Meel Pathhar (2020), but those films stayed within film festivals and smaller indie cinema space.

Everything changed a couple of Fridays ago when Netflix dropped a new series, Kohrra, a thriller set in a small town in Punjab exploring the murder of an NRI.

Kohrra is written by Sudip Sharma (Paatal Lok, Sonchiriya, NH 10), Gunjit Chopra and Diggi Sisodia. It has been directed by Randeep Jha (Halahal, Trial by Fire).

Critics praised Kohraa for the writing, direction and especially for the performances.

Suvinder, 50, has received the most praise for playing the lead, Balbir Singh, a middle-aged cop, handling his personal demons, while investigating a complex murder case.

Leading voices in Bollywood also heaped praises on the show's actors.

Writing on his Instagram account Karan Johar said, 'I was blown away by the performances. @suvindercivky is and will be the revelation of 2023 across film and streaming... his silences can launch a million scripts!'

Hansal Mehta wrote on his Twitter account, 'Some terrific performances by Suvinder Vicky and Barun Sobti.'

Last week, Suvinder was in the news again. The Toronto International Film Festival announced its initial line-up, and it includes Honey Trehan's Punjab 95, which stars Diljit Dosanjh and Arjun Rampal besides Suvinder. long-time Contributor Aseem Chhabra spoke to Suvinder about his career and how he is handling the sudden fame,.

"When I was young, in college or even before that, tab sapne bade sajaye the. Maybe now slowly, I am heading towards that dream."


Suvinder, how has your life been in the last few weeks since people started watching Kohrra?

Life has been very good.

I am still in Chandigarh enjoying this moment with my family.

People are suddenly treating me like a star.

This is beyond my understanding. I was not expecting this much.

IMAGE: Suvinder Vicky in Kohrra.

You never dreamt of being a star?

If I didn't have any hope, I would not have reached this far.

When I was young, in college or even before that, tab sapne bade sajaye the. Maybe now slowly, I am heading towards that dream.

Your films Chauti Koot and Meel Pathhar were shown at the Cannes and Venice film festivals. Did you travel with the films?

I did go to Cannes, but I couldn't go to Venice for Meel Pathhar. My father was unwell at that time.

IMAGE: Suvinder Vicky in Chauti Koot.

You did your master's in theatre studies from Patiala. Tell us about that experience.

When I was acting in plays in school and in college, I always wanted to become a professional actor.

I didn't want to direct or teach theatre, which is what many of my acting colleagues did.

I was interested in applying to the National School of Drama, but I missed the deadline.

I was also late to apply to Panjab University in Chandigarh. That is when a friend told me about the theatre programme offered by Punjabi University in Patiala.

The real understanding of acting you get when you land in the field. But we had guest lecturers from NSD at Punjabi University. They conducted mime workshops and even directed some plays.

I heard that the professors at NSD did not encourage their students to join films, but it is hard to make a career doing theatre in India. You can't make enough money to run a household.

But I wanted to support my family, whether it meant acting in films or on TV serials.

IMAGE: Suvinder Vicky with his family. Photograph: Kind courtesy Suvinder Vicky/Instagram

I suppose you are married. Do you have children?

Yes, I am married and have two daughters. One is 19 and the other is 12.

My wife has been supportive of my acting career from the beginning.

She did her master's in fine arts from Patiala, the same time when I was doing theatre studies.

I saw you in a small role in Udta Punjab. But what was your first film?

My first film was Des Hua Pardes (2004), directed by Manoj Punj.

It was a big film with Juhi Chawla, Gurdas Mann, Divya Dutta and Anup Soni.

I recently got calls from Anupji and Divya Dutta. I was touched that they remembered working with me 20 years ago.

I was doing theatre and occasionally, I would get called to do a few scenes in films.

By 2012 or 2013, if a Bollywood film wanted some actors from Punjab, they would contact us for auditions.

Mukesh Chhabra came to cast for Hansal Mehta's Shahid (2013), and I was cast in a small role. When Rajkummar (Rao) goes for training in Pakistan, I was in that sequence.

That connection with Mukeshji helped.

Every time anyone would come here in search of actors, he would suggest that they should audition me.

While working on Udta Punjab, I got to know Sudip Sharma. I had a small role in the film, but whenever we took breaks for meals, or in the mornings, I would say hello to him. I suppose after that, Sudipji must have thought I was to play Balbir Singh in Kohraa.

IMAGE: Suvinder Vicky in Meel Pathhar.

You give a solid quiet performance in Meel Pathhar. The way you act using your body and face to depict the personal tragedy of your character.
I really hope more people watch it since it is on Netflix. And they can also find Chauthi Koot somewhere.

I hear people are watching my earlier films including Kesri.

But yes, Ivan (Ayr)'s Meel Pathhar was a turning point in my career.

Sudip recently said in an interview that he wants to make more OTT shows because he can cast you in the lead. It is harder to cast fine actors like you in lead roles in films.

It is true that for actors like us, OTT shows have been a blessing.

When people were locked up at home, they had nothing else to watch other than OTT shows.

Then there was almost a kranti, where such good shows were being written and directed, like Mirzapur, Maharani and Sacred Games. And they found actors who were unknown.

If you look at Kohrra, 90 percent of the casting is from Punjab. This is a big thing for us.

Photograph: Kind courtesy Suvinder Vicky/Instagram

You said you were cast earlier on in Kohrra. By the time you started working on the show, did you sense that the crew treated you as a star?

No, nothing like that. I have never thought of myself like that.

Let me tell you something interesting.

Sudip, Randeep (Jha) and my co-actors like Barun Sobti knew the role I was playing.

The first scene that was shot is also the opening of the show, when our team arrives at the crime scene.

The master shots had already been taken. Now, they were about to take the close ups.

The unit was entirely made up of people from Mumbai.

The cameraman knew me, but the focus puller and the trolley man had no idea who I was.

I was there with my beard and turban.

I heard one of the lighting man say, 'Yaar, woh chacha par reflector do.'

I looked around thinking they are referring to someone else as chacha. Which is when I realised that he didn't know who I was and was calling me chacha.

So these things happened.

Of course, sometimes I would feel I was being treated differently when an assistant would come to my van and inform me that the shot was ready.

It would make me happy, but I would always remind myself to stay controlled.

I don't want to change and bring that feeling in me that I am a star. I just want to do good work.

IMAGE: Suvinder Vicky in Meel Pathhar.

You got a vanity van for Kohrra. What about the time you acted in Chauthi Koot and Meel Pathhar?

During Chauthi Koot. I was sharing a van.

For Meel Pathhar, I was on the shoot every day.

I had a van from the beginning, but I had to share it. One day, when it rained, the entire costume tent was brought into the van.

As an actor, I have not figured out how to zone in and out during some intense scenes.

There were times on the Meel Pathhar set when I would feel I needed to focus on my character. So I would make an excuse to get tea and leave the van. Sometimes I would go hide between trucks.

Luckily, for Kohrra, I had a van to myself, so I could concentrate on my role.

Have you started getting more offers in the last couple of weeks?

Not yet. But when Hansalji called me, I told him I wanted to work with him again. I would be grateful if he could include me in a project.

Vishalji (Bhardwaj) is another film-maker I would love to work with.

Photograph: Kind courtesy Suvinder Vicky/Instagram

Do you have plans to shift from Chandigarh to Mumbai?

I have traveled to Mumbai for work, including 10 days for Kohrra.

Also for Meet Mila De Rabba and a few other shows.

Each time I would stay back for a few days to meet people and see if there were any other opportunities.

Once I even left my photographs at Ram Gopal Varma's office.

Then I told a friend I was concerned no one had contacted me. My friend said, 'Itni jaldi nahin hota idhar. Time lagega.'

But I kept thinking maybe I should go and ask again. So I went back, and they told me they will contact me if something comes up.

The good thing is they don't get upset and push you away.

Now, at least, quite a few people know my work.

If I call Hansalji, that I am in town, he will ask me to come to his office and talk.

I was in Mumbai for the dubbing of Kohrra and met people at the studio. So now, I don't have to ask for work. It will come my way.

It is not like I don't want to move to Mumbai.

I like that city and it keeps pulling me there.

Get Rediff News in your Inbox: