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Why I proposed at an army camp

By ROSHMILA BHATTACHARYA
October 14, 2021 09:39 IST
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Popping the question to Nandita Mahtani, Commando style at an army camp while rappelling down a wall. Surrounded by 300 army men...

Photograph: Kind courtesy Vidyut Jammwal/Instagram

Exactly a decade ago, he exploded on screen, taking on John Abraham. If John has been taking Force ahead, since then Vidyut Jammwal too has spun his own franchise, Commando, with three successful instalments.

More recently, Vidyut announced that he is turning producer with an espionage thriller. There are also plans of journeying to Hollywood.

What has been grabbing headlines is his engagement to Designer Nandita Mahtani. Vidyut tells Rediff.com Senior Contributor Roshmila Bhattacharya why he popped the question at an army camp.

To borrow a line from the trailer of your upcoming action drama Sanak, are you bad when you are mad?

If you don't live your emotions, you will never really be happy. So, when you are happy, you should be on the top of the world. And when you are mad, you should be bad.

When I am angry, I make sure I don't keep it bottled up inside me because that would only make me anxious and depressed.

But some people even when they are mad are cold, calculating and still very dangerous...

To quote Michael Caine, they are like ducks. Calm on the surface, but always paddling like the dickens underneath.

You are the best action hero in India...

I am officially the top martial artist in the world. You can Google that if you want.

India, I represent, with great pride. And I'm proud to see that all the international action reviewers are loving the trailer of Sanak.

That, for me, is the biggest achievement, everything else will fall in place.

With every film of yours you have been upping the action. What's daringly different anout Sanak?

During the shoot of the film, we were in the hospital gym where they have physiotherapy sessions. I was sitting on one of those big exercise balls and we were brainstorming on how I could defend myself.

Should I throw the dumbbell or maybe the exercise bar? Suddenly, I looked down at the ball and said, "Why not use this?" And the ideas started flowing...

Next time somebody goes to a hospital, he will observe all that we used from real life to

 

Photograph: Kind courtesy Vidyut Jammwal/Instagram

In the wake of the pandemic, the hospital is no longer perceived as a safe place but has become a place of uncertainty and terror. How do you see it?

I haven't really thought about this, but life itself is the reason for uncertainty and terror and whoever believes otherwise is delusional.

For me a hospital is a place where you go when your grandmother nuskas, your mother's advice, the suggestions of friends, nothing has worked.

Do you think people have learnt anything from the pandemic?

One important thing is that people are no longer reckless with their time. They have become very particular about whom to give their energies to and take from. And that is a positive change.

 

Photograph: Kind courtesy Nandita Mahtani/Instagram

You are officially engaged now. And you had to do it differently, popping the question to Nandita Mahtani, Commando style at an army camp while rappelling down a wall.

(Cuts in) Surrounded by 300 army men.

300... That's quite an audience

Yeah, and I remember asking her if she was aware that there were so many men around her. She said "no" and I pointed out that this is what the army does. They train men in such a way that you are never nervous around them because they respect you so much.

You could have proposed to Nandita anywhere in the world. Why an army camp?

She knew me as a person, but I also needed her to know where I came from.... How I was raised... Why I don't like some people, no matter how successful and powerful they are, is because they don't respect women.

At that army camp, I made Nandita meet officers who are gentlemen, who respect other people's daughters, sisters and wives.

After proposing to her, we visited the Taj Mahal during a two day break in shooting.

Photograph: Kind courtesy Nandita Mahtani/Instagram

When is the wedding?

Kya wohi typical mummy wala...

Kaise naa poochoon...

We've just got engaged and we want to enjoy this phase in our life. The wedding will happen very soon, I just don't know when.

IMAGE: Vidyut with Sankalp Reddy. Photograph: Kind courtesy Vidyut Jammwal/Instagram

You recently turned producer and your first film in collaboration with Reliance Entertainment is an espionage thriller, IB 71, reportedly based on true-life incidents during the 1971 War. What prompted the move?

The primary reason to launch my Action Hero Films is that I see a lot of talent around me. And that talent is more talented than the talent already working but doesn't get a chance to showcase itself. So, I thought, why not bank on this talent?

Is that how Hyderabad-based film-maker Sankalp Reddy came on board to direct it?

I've been a huge fan of Sankalp Reddy since I watched his The Ghazi Attack which bagged the National Award for Best Feature Film. It is an amazing film and resonated with me.

So, when this idea came to me and we were thinking about whom to approach, I remembered Sankalp and wondered why he had not worked in the Hindi film industry since his first big hit.

When I didn't get an answer to my question, I went to meet him in Hyderabad.

And?

And I discovered that the man doesn't talk much. He doesn't socialise, doesn't do PR, yet has all the qualities of a National Award winner. We connected immediately and he was on.

My second film will be helmed by my Commando 3 director Aditya Datt.

Photograph: Kind courtesy Vidyut Jammwal/Instagram

A few months ago, you took off on a holiday to Serbia alone. The next vacation will undoubtedly be with your fiancée Nandita Mahtani. Where are you planning to whisk her off?

We are planning to shoot Khuda Haafiz 2 in Egypt. I don't have a break and will be starting our own production next. So, it will have to be somewhere there.

And when is your Hollywood journey starting?

I can't say what will happen in the future, but things are happening. People are watching me, I'm watching what people are doing. But I don't know when...

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ROSHMILA BHATTACHARYA