'Salman is on television for the last 15 years.'
'Why don't you call Amitabh Bachchan a TV actor? He's been doing Kaun Banega Crorepati for 20 years.'
Vikrant Massey left behind a successful television career to dabble in films. Today, he's one of the top OTT stars.
The actor will be seen in the thriller Gaslight next, co-starring Chitrangda Singh and Sara Ali Khan.
"Even when this insider-outsider debate was right on top three-four years ago, I was still making four films a year. Had there been any truth to this, I wouldn't be here in the first place," Vikrant tells Patcy N/Rediff.com.
"If you're good at your job, you will survive. No matter what family you come from, if you don't know how to work, you won't get work."
What made you sign up for Gaslight?
I enjoyed reading the script.
It was such a smooth and engaging read. I wanted to be a part of this unique world.
I admire Pavan Kriplani; he is a fabulous director, especially in this space. I wanted to collaborate with him for a long time.
In an interview, I read that Sara was the reason you said yes to the film.
Yes. That's because Sara was already on board.
I wanted to work with her; we have really liked each other's work.
I have seen her Kedarnath. In fact, I have seen most of her work and think she has tremendous potential.
She's such a young and vibrant energy.
At the same time, you had felt that 'popular star hai toh hair and make-up' will be her top priorities...
I did have preconceived notions about her.
But I was completely thrown off from those notions on the first day of meeting her, probably in the first 30 minutes.
Chitrangda Singh feels you are senior to her because of the amount of work you have done in films and television. What do you think?
She's a sweetheart, I love her!
I think I've done a lot of good work.
But if I have to go by timeline, she's just couple of years senior to me.
What are the strengths of the two ladies you worked with in the film?
That's a lovely question.
Sara's strength is her confidence.
There was a time when people didn't give her the respect she deserved.
It takes a lot of gumption to admit your errors and she did that.
She is trying to do good work.
She's also very rooted, contrary to the popular perception as well as preconceived notions, like I had.
She's very hard working. She not only puts in the number of hours for hair and makeup, but also for prepping for a particular shot.
Chitra ma'am is graceful and at ease. It is so infectious.
I don't know her personally too well.
Like everyone else, she's gone through her share of ups and downs. To still be able to go out there and maintain that grace and poise and to tell the stories that she wants to, is it's such a great thing.
Everyone did a month-long workshop for Gaslight except you, as you were busy with other projects as well as your wedding.
Pavan is too kind.
Honestly, I would have loved to be a part of that workshop.
I was busy getting married at that time and also shooting for something.
I really wish Gaslight 2 happens or there's another film with Pavan; I will make sure to take time out because I love his process.
We finished filming in 36 days.
The amount of work that goes in prepping for a film of this scale is huge.
You are among OTT's top stars. Don't you want to see yourself on the big screen?
It's not in my hands. And I really would not want to hammer my head in areas that don't require my attention.
I think my job is to act, which I think I am pretty decent at, irrespective of the medium.
I am making four to five different films a year.
People should also start seeing entertainment as a whole and not segregate TV actors, film actors, OTT actors... I find that ridiculous.
I've had this fight because I am a by-product of television.
I remember up until the last three to four years, people would slot me as a TV actor.
I would ask them, why do you call me a TV actor?
Why don't you call Salman Khan a TV actor? He's on television for the last 15 years.
Why don't you call Amitabh Bachchan a TV actor?
He's been doing Kaun Banega Crorepati for 20 years.
Unfortunately, a lot of it has to do with the fraternity.
If you can't call Salman Khan a TV actor, don't call me an OTT actor.
You have been acting for 18 years. How has your journey been so far? Any regrets?
No regrets at all.
I am a byproduct of everything that I have done.
I am so grateful to the audiences for believing in me, wanting to see me, shelling out their money to watch me, recommending my films to other people... It's such a wonderful feeling.
I'm so grateful for everything I have.
I left a successful television career because I wanted to act in films and here I am.
Thank you for saying that I am one of the top actors, it couldn't get better, right?
I am excited, but there's still a long way to go.
Have you ever been treated like an outsider?
All that is noise.
Even when this insider-outsider debate was right on top three-four years ago, I was still making four films a year.
Had there been any truth to this, I wouldn't be here in the first place.
It's one of the most beautiful, robust, democratic and inclusive communities in the world, at least in this country.
If you're good at your job, you will survive.
No matter what family you come from, if you don't know how to work, you won't get work.
Which has been your most fulfilling film so far?
I have a few.
A Death In The Gunj is one of them; it was a beautiful film.
Haseen Dilruba is another; I really enjoyed doing that.
I really enjoyed Mirzapur and it's one of the most popular series on OTT.
I'm also extremely proud to be a part of the TV show, Balika Vadhu. The kind of things we spoke of, not many people are aware of it.
We were instrumental in changing laws for women, whether it's female infanticide, girl child marriage or women's protection rights. Balika Vadhu played a very important part and I feel I have contributed towards something so substantial.
Love Hostel is another film I am extremely proud of.
Are you afraid of getting typecast?
Afraid is too strong an emotion, but it worries me sometimes.
I don't allow anyone to typecast me, not the writers, producers or the audiences.
But it's natural we tend to do that. Aaj agar ek batsman ne century maari toh, we think he will hit a century every time he comes. Aise nahi hota hai.
My audiences have been supportive of my work for the last 18 years.
I think I've tried to break that mold and present myself in a new light from time to time.
What are your forthcoming projects?
Apart from Gaslight, I have Santosh Sivan's Mumbaikar. I have had the good fortune of collaborating with Vijay Sethupati in that.
Then I have Sector 36, directed by Aditya Nimbalkar. It's his first film as a director. He's a fabulous guy, and a very dear friend of mine.
Blackout is a comedy.
I'm really excited about 12th Fail, a biopic that is adapted from a book by the same name.
Finally, how is married life treating you?
So far so good. I don't want to jinx it.