Vidyut Jammwal on being asked about competition in Bollywood: ‘I am top action star in the world, I find these questions a bit weird’
In an interview with Hindustan Times, Vidyut Jammwal talked about his upcoming film Yaara, the insider-outsider debate and being the ‘top action star in the world’.Updated: Jul 29, 2020 13:53 IST
Vidyut Jammwal, who shot for Yaara in 2014-15, believes that this is the right time for it to release. Ahead of the film’s release on July 30 on Zee5, he told Hindustan Times in an interview, “When the time is right, things happen, and I believe this is the right time for Yaara to release. Why it took so much time, I have no idea. Maybe it was meant to be releasing at this time. That is the way I think of it. For me, to work with a director like Tigmanshu Dhulia was the idea and I was fortunate enough to work with him. I am very happy with the way things are.”
Yaara, a licensed adaptation of the French film A Gang Story, has friendship at its core and also stars Amit Sadh, Vijay Verma and Kenny Basumatry. The camaraderie shown on screen is a reflection of the actors’ real-life friendship. Talking about his ‘brilliant’ equation with his co-stars, Vidyut said, “We are friends from the time we started shooting the film till today. We had a few Zoom interviews recently and people have commented saying, ‘It’s amazing to see people being so normal.’ We were at ease with each other. It’s quite cool to have friends like these.”
While director Tigmanshu Dhulia had mixed feelings about a direct-to-digital release for Yaara, Vidyut is quite happy. “I believe that whatever happens, happens for the best and this is how it is. Everyone is just excited that the film is releasing. We all know we did such a phenomenal job, we made such great friendships. I am talking on my behalf, I am very proud and there is no disappointment. The whole nation can watch the film, lots of countries will get to see it. I am happy,” he said.
Another film of Vidyut’s that is heading straight for a digital release is Faruk Kabir’s Khuda Haafiz. Last month, the actor called out streaming platform Disney+ Hotstar for not inviting him or anyone from the team for the digital press conference to announce their new line-up. “7 films scheduled for release but only 5 are deemed worthy of representation. 2 films, receive no invitation or intimation. It’s a long road ahead. THE CYCLE CONTINUES,” he had written on Twitter.
“I read about the release and when I realised we weren’t invited, the first thought in my head was the question I tweeted, verbatim. Disney did not reach out to me in context to why and what but I must tell you that the country reached out to me and that is a bigger achievement than anything else. The response was amazing. I felt very proud of the fact that people have belief in me. That’s more important than anything else,” he told Hindustan Times.
Vidyut, who made a name for himself without any connections to the film industry, said that it was ‘very difficult’ as an outsider. “Of course, it is very difficult. My father was in the Indian Army and I have grown up in an army environment. I didn’t know anything about the industry, the only thing I knew was the craft that I had, which is training in martial arts - kalaripayattu. I had an ambition for it to reach where it is supposed to, that is, everyone should know about it because it is the mother of all martial arts. From kung fu to karate to jujutsu, everything has come out of it. I came with an ambition like that. I started doing very imperceptible roles in films, I worked as a stunt guy. For me, it was only about that and I am still on that path. Nothing can deter me. About the insider-outsider debate, yes, of course, it is a different world altogether but you need to be ready for this world,” he said.
When asked if he ever lost out on films because of groupism in Bollywood, Vidyut said that as a trained martial artist, he is ‘used to being hit’ but knows how to bounce back. “I operate in a very different mode. My answers might not be the way you expect them to be. I am a trained martial artist. I have fought in the rings since the age of seven, professionally. The point here is, I am used to being hit and thrown down but that does not stop me or affect me. When you are a martial artist, you are ready to be hit. I must have experienced these things but the ultimate idea is to win the fight and the fight is to just stand every time you fall. I have done it all the time. I must have experienced it, I must have gotten wounded but I let it pass,” he said.
Recently, Vidyut became the only Indian actor to be part of the list ‘10 People You Don’t Want To Mess With’ in the world, an achievement he is extremely proud of as he brought glory to the country. “You know what the funny thing is? I read about this a week back, when it came up on my Facebook page. I saw this article and there was this very monstrous looking man in the photo and when I first saw it, I thought bohot ajeeb-ajeeb se log honge, people who break walls with their heads and all that. I didn’t even go into that and I moved on to the next thing that I was reading. A few days later, my fanpage tweeted to me saying, ‘Sir, you are on the list.’ I have to tell you, the excitement of going through the list was so much because I was like, ‘Dude, am I one of them?’ I didn’t aspire to be but then I saw the list and I felt very proud of myself and that I represented the nation,” he said.
“This is the second time I have done it. I was the top martial artist in the world also last year. When your name gets associated with your country, it is bigger than anything else, so I felt very proud,” he added.
Call him ‘one of the best action stars in the country’, and Vidyut corrects you. “I am the top action star in the world. You are a journalist, you need to be careful. Someone just asked me sometime back, they gave me an option of five stars from India… This is out of great respect to you, by the way… He said, ‘Who do you think is your competition?’ You can’t say that. The world is saying that I am the top martial artist in the world. You can’t put me in any category. People have to be careful. This is out of great respect, I need you to know this. Last year, I got awarded for the best action in the world by Jackie Chan, who is the biggest action star in the world. It was national news. When people still ask me these questions, I find it a bit weird. I really do,” he said.
Last year, at the Jackie Chan International Film Week in China, Vidyut’s film Junglee won two awards - best action sequence choreographer and special jury prize for best action family film.
Vidyut is proud of his action star image and does not worry about being typecast in a certain image in the film industry. “I have been put amongst people like the President of Russia. Do you really think I would think, ‘Oh my God, I hope the industry doesn’t typecast me?’ No. If you excel at something and you are known for it, you should work even harder so that people don’t get disappointed and that’s what I am doing,” he said.
Follow @htshowbiz for more