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Meet Bollywood’s new best friend, Vikrant Massey

The Bombay boy, who is overshadowing filmdom’s most popular, has a smile that warms the heart

brunch Updated: Jul 29, 2017 23:54 IST
Aanchal Tuli
Aanchal Tuli
Hindustan Times
Vikrant Massey,Lootera,Half Girlfriend
Vikrant Massey is best remembered for his role in Lootera, where he played Ranveer Singh’s best friend and assistant. (Vikrant wears jeans and T-shirt from Zara, check shirt from G.H Bass & Co.)(Shivangi Kulkarni)

Most recently, you’ve seen him as Arjun Kapoor’s best friend in Half Girlfriend (2017) and in Dil Dhadkne Do (2015) as the rich kid whose good looks gave Ranveer Singh some serious competition. Noveau film lovers will remember him from the brilliant Death in the Gunj (2017) as the leading man with complexities that each of us have faced. Yet, it is his role in Lootera (2013) that people remember Vikrant Massey for. He played Ranveer Singh’s best friend and assistant, and that’s how Vikrant became Bollywood’s favourite best friend.

“In all honesty, I didn’t even know the script of the film or what I was going to be doing. All I knew was that I was going to be Ranveer’s friend,” says Vikrant. “But back then or even now, that did not bother me. I needed the platform to showcase what I could do and that’s all that mattered. That and the fact that it was being directed by Vikramaditya Motwane. Those were the two reasons I signed the film.”

Small to big

Playing the best friend was never a problem for Vikrant, who came from almost 10 years of television experience. (He debuted as a school boy in Disney Channel’s Dhoom Machaao Dhoom in 2007.) “Like any other aspirational actor, I wanted to be a part of films,” says Vikrant. “So, auditioning for the hero’s best friend was not a deal breaker. Despite my television years, I knew nobody was going to invest any amount of money for me to showcase my skills. I was just happy with getting hired. In all pomposity and humility, I just wanted to show what I could do as an actor and I jumped when Lootera came my way.”

Getting noticed in Lootera seemed easy, especially when compared to his next project, Bollywood’s biggest ensemble blockbuster of recent times, Dil Dhadakne Do (2015). But even there, Vikrant managed a comfortable spot in a frame that boasted Anil Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh, Farhan Akhtar and more. For that, Vikrant credits director Zoya Akhtar.

“She stuck by me and wanted me to be a part of the film. It’s very important for actors to feel like a part of the puzzle and not the puzzle itself. If they go amiss, the puzzle will never be complete, but they are still not the entire puzzle itself. And that’s something I learnt from Dil Dhadakne Do,” he says.

Just three films old, Vikrant landed his first protagonist role with Konkona Sen Sharma’s A Death in the Gunj. Konkona first noticed Vikrant in Lootera, and wrote the critically-acclaimed character of Shutu with him in mind. The movie, which has recently been acquired by Amazon Prime, has already done great things for Vikrant’s career and confidence both

Auditioning for the hero’s best friend was never a deal-breaker. In all pomposity and humility, I wanted to show what I could do as an actor

“I’ve really been fortunate in terms of the love and recognition I’ve got,” says Vikrant. “At the end of the day, everyone appreciates appreciation. Even within the industry, people have been very kind and appreciative. Whatever I have is because of the people who are watching me. I don’t have a PR agency, I don’t have a manager, and I don’t even have a professional portfolio. People who hire me are people who, just like the audience, have just seen me in a small role here or in an ad there.”

Character analysis

Vikrant debuted as a school boy in Disney Channel’s Dhoom Machao Dhoom in 2007. (Vikrant wears a shirt from Zara) (Shivangi Kulkarni)

Vikrant was Arjun Kapoor’s best friend in Half Girlfriend (2017) a week before playing Shutu in A Death in the Gunj. In the former, he’s a Bihari student among a sea of judgemental Delhi University kids, who eventually becomes a corporate hotshot. Basically, this character was Shutus’s opposite in every way.

“People acknowledge what I bring to a character and they’ve been impressed with my ability to do that with every film,” says Vikrant. “That is more important to me than, say, doing one great film followed by five bad ones. There’s very limited room for failure for anyone like me and I understand that. Having said that, I’m very happy with how things have shaped up. I really don’t know what the future has in store for me. I don’t know if I will go back to playing the best friend roles as they’re called, or whether I will get to play the protagonist more. If I get offered another such role, I’ll do it as long as it’s a good role.”

He adds, “I’ve always admired people like Irrfan (Khan), Anupam Kher or Om Puri who don’t care about ‘screen time’. To these people and to me, the length of the part never matters. I want the part to challenge and excite me as an actor, whether as the actor’s best friend or his brother. I understand it’s a slow process. Yes, I want filmmakers to know that I’m ready to shoulder the responsibility of a protagonist. I’m also ready for smaller yet important parts but there’s more I can do.”

An optimist, Vikrant’s looking forward to his recently released and controversial film Lipstick Under My Burkha. “It’s another important film and I hope that it gets the love it deserves,” he says. He’s not the hero in this heroine-oriented movie but then again, that’s never a problem. “I have always believed that no matter what the medium, no matter how big or small your role is, if you work diligently, there is no way that you’ll skip people’s observations.”

His career graph, which Vikrant is not analysing currently, seems proof of that statement.

From HT Brunch, July 30, 2017

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First Published: Jul 29, 2017 22:44 IST