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'I want to keep putting myself in uncomfortable spots'

By Ravi Bansal
April 08, 2021 11:50 IST
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IMAGE: Vijay Varma in Ok Computer.

Vijay Varma says he feels blessed to be at a point in his professional life where he has the option to choose from different offers.

With critically-acclaimed performances in movies and shows like PINK, Gully Boy, Mirzapur and A Suitable Boy, Varma has emerged as one of the go-to actors in the industry for film-makers with unconventional parts.

The actor prefers to go 'with the flow', thanks to the momentum his career has gained post Gully Boy and Mirzapur.

"I want to keep putting myself in uncomfortable spots and in pursuit of newer performances. I want to have a long lasting and impactful presence as an artist on the screen and keep surprising myself," he told PTI in an interview.

IMAGE: Vijay Varma in Mirzapur.

Though the option to choose is a boon for him, it does not always make things easy for the actor.

"I feel blessed to be finally at a place where I have a choice. But it's not easy because sometimes, when you have two or three decent options, then it gets a little difficult to make the choice.

"Also, sometimes personal equations come into picture and people might not like my choices. So it comes with baggage, but I'm happy to carry it as long I get to do the stuff that I want to," Varma said.

IMAGE: Vijay Varma and Ranveer Singh in Gully Boy.

The actor, who hails from Hyderabad and is a graduate from the Film and Television Institute of India, started his journey with the 2012 movie Chittagong, which he followed up with films like Rangrezz and Gang of Ghosts.

He was first noticed in the Amitabh Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu-starrer PINK, but his big moment came in 2019 when he starred as Moeen in Zoya Akhtar's critically-lauded movie Gully Boy.

When asked if he has mapped out a plan for his professional life, Varma said, "There is a plan in place, but then I have also seen plans fall apart at the very early stages of my career. So the plan is to not stick to the plan.

"Also when you have certain things in your kitty, then you want something else. I was at a different stage in life a few years ago."


Photograph: Kind courtesy Vijay Varma/Instagram

Varma currently features in Anand Gandhi's sci-fi comedy series OK Computer, which is streaming on Disney+ Hotstar VIP.

Created and directed by Pooja Shetty and Neil Pagedar, the show imagines a near future where, for the first time, the Homo-Sapiens meet the Robo-Sapiens.

It places viewers in the middle of a crime scene when a murder is committed by a self-driving car.

Varma plays cyber cell agent Saajan Kundu, who is trying to solve the complex case.

The 36-year-old actor said he was attracted to the show's novel concept.

"It was the first time that I read anything in which there were elements of science fiction, satire, comedy and mockumentary, all rolled up into one in an Indian context and milieu. So it was a very tempting script for me and I just grabbed it."

IMAGE: Radhika Apte and Vijay Varma in Ok Computer.

Another reason that made Ok Computer special for him was that it was Varma's first project as a leading hero.

"The feeling that I can lead a show or a film has been inside me for a while. And then, it was also the audience that gave me the confidence to go ahead and take this chance. They have been showering love on me for what I have been doing for the past few years. They wanted to see me in more capacity.

"Also, it was Anand's conviction that I could do this. It was a genre and a performance, which is out of my comfort zone. So I'm so glad that I took that chance."

With his performance as Saajan Kundu, Varma said he has tried to break the stereotype of 'brooding and loner' investigating officers shown in films and shows.

"We have a lot of stereotypes for investigating officers on the screen. It is always a brooding, loner kind of a man who doesn't talk too much. We took all these stereotypes and we made fun of it because it's a comedy.

"Buster Keaton was a key reference for me as he was also straight-faced and melancholic vibe to him. There's also a certain kind of innocence and brokenness in his performances."

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Ravi Bansal
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