An industry child sans an insider's privilege, Vicky Kaushal didn't grow up believing his calling lies on the sets or silver screen.
Born to Action Director Sham Kaushal whose credits include everything from Gangs of Wasseypur to Gadar 2, Vicky was encouraged for more academic pursuits like a career in engineering.
But when the time to join the 9-to-5 rat race drew closer, Vicky realised only acting would give him creative joy.
Assistant (and minor acting) gigs under Anurag Kashyap followed in films like Gangs of Wasseypur and Bombay Velvet until it was time to slip into leading man shoes in Neeraj Ghaywan's critically-acclaimed Masaan. The Cannes winner proved to be a turning point and Vicky was good to go.
Steadily marching ahead for almost a decade now on the strength of his unassuming versatility, the 35 year old is ready to showcase his mettle in one of the most challenging roles of his career as India's first Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw in Meghna Gulzar's biopic, Sam Bahadur.
Will he ace this role as well? Meanwhile, Sukanya Verma asks you to vote for your favourite Vicky Kaushal performance from his 10 best works.
Neeraj Ghaywan's lyrical meditation on life and loss showcases a pitch-perfect Vicky and his gift for sensitivity as a young man whose romantic bliss is shattered when tragedy strikes.
There's a heartrending innocence to his portrayal, a charming sincerity that makes a solid case for the school of understated.
Although Mozez Singh's strange coming-of-age musical didn't catch anyone's fancy, it earns some brownie points for Vicky's layered performance as a shrewd small-towner with a stutter learning a thing or two about the big bad way of the cities.
Love Per Square Foot
Anand Tiwari's Mumbai rom-com pits Vicky and Ankita Dhar as Hindu-Christian colleagues entering a marriage of convenience to make the most of a housing scheme.
As the inevitable saga of confusion and chaos kicks off, a reliably serene Vicky captures the anxieties and dreams of the overburdened Mumbaikar in love.
Alia Bhatt is the throbbing heart of Meghna Gulzar's moving adaptation of Harinder Sikka's espionage novel Calling Sehmat but Vicky pitches in significant support as its heart-breaking collateral damage.
As a Pakistani army man oblivious to his Indian wife's spy status, he conveys a tenderness that underlines the misfortune of his eventual fate.
Once again lending able support to Karan Johar's woman-centric story asserting a wife's lust as important as her husband's in comical overtones, Vicky succeeds in looking doltish and vulnerable in the same breath.
It's one of his specialities, turning fallible people into harmless, work-in-progress souls.
Usually noted for his understated takes, Vicky goes all out to play Ranbir Kapoor's Gujju bestie in Rajkumar Hirani's Sanjay Dutt biopic.
Any other actor would be all over the place but in Vicky's skin, Kamlesh Kanhaiyalal Kapasi aka Kamli comes across as endearing and emotional.
Figuring a spot-on tone for his characters is a Vicky forte.
The man nails it yet again as the frivolous, flamboyant deejay shying away from commitment until it's too late in Anurag Kashyap's lively love triangle.
Uri: The Surgical Attack
All buffed up, Vicky cuts a solid, sombre picture as the daredevil para commando committed to taking down the perpetrators of the 2016 Uri attack in Aditya Dhar's highly stylised and fictionalised war movie.
Apart from gathering note for putting on a staggering amount of muscle weight, the actor scored his first blockbuster at the box office.
Hailed as one of the best performances of 2021 for 'his turbulent depiction is distinctly slow cooked in tone, turning him into a ticking bomb of sorts wherein his tenacity, obsession and rage over a historic instance of inhumanity shapes his martyrdom,' in our year-end list, Vicky's exceptional work in and as Sardar Udham in Shoojit Sircar's historical drama will neither fade nor be forgotten.
The Great Indian Family
Few can oscillate between comedy and crying as charmingly as Vicky Kaushal.
As the devout Hindu bhajan singer raised by a family of priests suddenly learning his biological parents are Muslim, the actor rises about the script's well-intentioned but flimsy secularism to make all the right noises.
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