‘Not looks, but people praising my acting skills give me a high’
Actor Vikrant Massey has no connection with Lucknow. He was born and brought up in Mumbai but still feels a special connection with the state capital. “I have had over a dozen trips to Lucknow — for work or personal visits. Not just this city, I have a special relation with UP. Door-dook tak yahan se koi connection nahi hai par kasam se lagta hai ek ajeeb sa rishta hai (Not even a remote connection with UP but I feel as if there is a strange bond),” the actor said.
He is currently shooting for Seema Pahwa’s directorial debut film ‘Pind Daan’, for which Massey has been camping in the city for around 1.5 months.
“In the last 10 years, I have spent an average of two months in the state. When there is no work, then I come and stay here with friends. I love the social fabric of the state. I don’t consider Mumbai-Delhi as India. The grass-rooted diversity of UP-Bihar is the real India. Yahan ki mitti se, dhool se, struggle se lagav hai humein (I am drawn to the everyday dust, grime and struggle of life here).”
Spending so much time in Uttar Pradesh, he has picked up the local lingo as well. “When I converse with people here, they mistake me for a UP-ite. Barabasti, Barabanki, Faizabad, Ayodhya, I have stayed here a lot. Banaras to puri tarah chaat liye hain (I know Varanasi like the back of my hand). Real stories live here which need to be told. And, if everything goes as planned, I will again spend four months here (Kanpur) for my next film,” he said.
In the same breath, he says, “I have a lot of complaint with UPites too. Road accidents, which are avoidable deaths, happen most here. People don’t follow traffic rules, don’t give way to an ambulance and don’t keep the house and vicinity clean.”
ON A DIGITAL HIGH
Two of his web series were launched in the second half of November. Talking about crime-based thriller ‘Mirzapur’ he said, “Public feedback of the web-series has been outstanding and critics too have liked it. There are few critics who have not liked it that much but then that’s fine as you can’t please everyone. You can’t be perfect and these experiences make you better.” They shot it in Bhadoi, Mirzapur and Varanasi.
His second web series for the month ‘Broken’ launched a week ago. “AltBalaji, on which it has been released, is a small platform and still the response has been overwhelming. It’s a very simple and sweet relatable story about two persons who are broken and shattered. I feel lucky that two shows have released in a month and both are so contrasting.” His next series is ‘Criminal Justice’ has Jacky Shroff and Pankaj Tripthi, and directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia and Vishal Suria.
His last film ‘Lipstick Under the Burkha’ ran under censor controversy and now it is planned to bring digital shows in the ambit of the censor board. “In 202 countries our shows are being watched which is 70 per cent of the world and the height of hypocrisy is that you are going to censor the web now. On one side, we want to digitise everything and on the other side this sensor thing for which the government is preparing a law. The nature of moral policing and mothering is not right to me. Today, the world is talking about ‘Sacred Games’ and we are stuck with few explicit shots only,” Massey said.
He says that only certification should be issued by the board and rest must be left on the audience.
NO TO REGRESSIVE TV SHOW!
Vikrant has shot to fame with iconic TV show Balika Vadhu but is currently not in the mood to do daily soaps.
“I have a complaint with regressive shows. The kind of stories I want to be a part of are not happening. I can’t under utilise myself. I miss the money that we earned on TV. Had I been doing it religiously, I would have made a bungalow for myself by now. With what I earn today, life badhiya chal rahi hai (it is reasonably good),” he said.
Explaining his kind of work, Vikrant said, “You are answerable to yourself. People loving my performances give me a kick. If someone says ‘kya dikh rahe they (You looked awesome)’ is a waste, mazaa to tab hai jab koi kahe mazaa aa gaya kaam dekh kar (Pleasure is in someone saying ‘wow, you acted so well’).”
He said that ‘Death in the Gunj’ gave a fillip to his career. “Everything fell in place due to that one project.”
He has a lot of films coming up. “I have shot ‘Yaar Jigri’ in Ghaziabad. I have also completed sci-fi ‘Cargo’ with Shweta Tripathi. Then, I did Alankrita Srivastava’s ‘Dolly, Kitty Aur Chamktey Sitare’ in Greater Noida, in which I have a supporting role. So, a lot of work will come up.”
The actor is not allowed to talk about ‘Pind Daan’ which stars Naseeruddin Shah, Konkona Sen Sharma, Manoj Pahwa, Vinay Pathak and others. “All I can say is that it has an ensemble cast and script of the film is its protagonist. I am enjoying the shoot and my stay in Lucknow.”