Vidyut Jammwal, Bollywood’s Commando is a trained martial artist and learned kalaripayattu. He is now known as ‘The New Age Action Hero’. He has also worked in south movies and now will be seen in Junglee directed by Chuck Russell.
Q. Finally after much delay, Junglee will be releasing and that too in advance, so how’s your excitement?
Vidyut: I am very excited. It’s going to be good result, I have watched the movie, its different from what I have done, this is something I would love to watch, we made it for kids and families. It’s such a good movie, its educative, teaches you about everything that we are not aware of.
Q. Was your approach towards the role very different this time? We have seen so you doing action in the past but this time apart from the action there is also very strong emotional story going parallel.
Vidyut: No, it’s not different.
Q. There is a combination of man and elephants which were seen in 70s or 80s movies, that were always been a hit combination. So do you feel that you are going to get back the entire genre?
Vidyut: I don’t know, I hope so. After around 30-40 years we have got animal human bonding. We had Chuck Rusell, who is very cool with animals. It is very impressive that he knows animal so well, he understands how to make cinema with animals. I was very proud when he thought I could be the next big thing in the world. So for me everything seemed right, there was somebody who believed in me.
Q. How long did you take to connect with elephants?
Vidyut: Zero, It’s a myth that they take time to connect. I love pets so there is no comparison between dogs and elephants. With humans you can just look and say wow sir nice shirt you are wearing and he will be happy, tell them anything good and they will be happy. This doesn’t apply to animals, animals are different, they feel you, and they understand more than you even have an idea. There is no practise they cannot train you in this. There was a change that happened to me, I had been in martial arts since I was born, I think my understanding for animals is lot than a lot of people. What changed me was they are more human than us. The movie educates people about animals, we don’t only have elephant, the elephant is the primary character of the movie but it teaches you about how to conduct yourself, it teaches you that they are more sensible than what we think. I am happy that I am part of this project, apart from what I have done, this teaches you so much.
Q . Why Chuck Russell chose to direct a bollywood movie?
Vidyut: He has worked with animals, he understands animals. Since the time he has been working, his movie has animals. So producer did a great research to collaborate with him. The script was already made and the producers were looking for a director who knew animals. When Chuck Russell came onboard he had great inputs.
Q. How content do you feel with the fact that you are irreplaceable with the kind of stuff you do and the kind of dedication you have towards your craft?
Vidyut: I am a mumma’s boy, I have grown up in an ashram with 800 women around me all the time. I came to Bombay to be a hero and I did it. I became a hero when my Commando 1 was released, though it did not do 100 crores but I became hero because when I travel, people recognize me and love me. So now I work harder, now I have infrastructure too, earlier I had to think for gym but now I have my own gym. I have used my success to better myself and I am working very hard. In my movies the producer or director can be faultier but not me, I give my 100 – 150%. And that happens when you are an outsider, there is no chance of failure. Somebody asked me why don’t you do many movies, because whatever I believe will do good for me or what I can do good in so I just sit and wait for something right to come. I don’t go out for parties because if I will go to party I will look tired in movie which I cannot afford. Yes it is a different route and I am very proud of it and very satisfied.
Q. What was your research for this movie and your role?
Vidyut: There is no research. Animal firm have been there for more than 3000years. It is said that 36000 births you have to take to be able to experience the pleasure of earth. There is a saying in English, ‘put yourself in my shoes.’ Similarly if you try and imbibe all the qualities of animals, like I have been trained in different animal firms, apart from leopards I have been trained with monkeys, dragon, lizard, tiger and everything. So once you get to know their qualities you get the courage and confidence, it’s not only about physical fitness. So point being, animal firm we have used in movie I would be 1st actor in the world who has done it in cinema. But it not new, it’s been there for more than 1000’s of years, it’s just that I have put it forward.
Q. Any message you would like to give through movie?
Vidyut: The message is not in my hand, it is directorial thing.
Q. Do you think south films can explore your actions more?
Vidyut: No, the problem is when you know the hero so he will not let you beat him up and when you can’t beat up the hero then what are you doing.
Q. This animal firm it is a part of Kalaripayattu or it is a combination of different forms of martial arts or what it is?
Vidyut: Kalaripayattu is mother of all martial arts. Kalaripayattu is a firm that was apparently taught by lord Shiva. It has healing, so when I learnt martial arts I was not trained to punch and kick, we were taught about every bone in the body. In animal firm you are taught to be everything else apart from you.
Q. You are also doing a film with Mahesh Manjrekar so how is he?
Vidyut: He is brilliant actor. He is coming after vastav in hindi cinema to do something which he did. He is a great person and does great job.
Q. Are you ever going to do different role besides action?
Vidyut: If you would have asked me 2 years back will you do movies with animals, I would have said no. So I don’t know.
Q. Did you come to Mumbai to become an actor or to expand your fitness and love for action?
Vidyut: I never thought I would become an actor. I wanted to be an army officer, I wanted to be table tennis player, I wanted to be a squash player, I wanted to do so many things but I wanted to do action. Earlier I used to do very small roles in south where I was not even seen, but never got ashamed of it. To be an actor you should have talent that nobody else does and that could be anything.
Q. Who is your favourite action hero?
Vidyut: I cannot deny Akshay Kumar, I remember his first poster of Khiladi and thought even martial arts people can also be a hero so for me it was inspirational.
Q. Commando was like a blank sheet of paper but now we have discovered you over the years. So now is it more difficult to probably meet your own expectations?
Vidyut: I am not like other people. Somebody asked me do you get angry, I do but I am trained to take care of all the situations. I don’t get nervous. It’s a big achievement, trailer is out and movie is about to get released. I don’t have any competition, the idea of success is wrong.
Q. What is your fitness mantra?
Vidyut: My fitness mantra is very unusual. I don’t believe in discipline at all, I don’t wake up early. I wake up at 10 o’clock and then I decide what I have to do. There is no discipline as such to wake up at 6 and go to gym. It is you who decide whether you have to work for 5 hours. There is no discipline to finish what you have decided.
Q. Your fan club is majorly dominated by kids so are you planning to do something for them?
Vidyut: No, I don’t plan to get them attracted or anything.
Q. How do you look at somebody like Tiger shroff?
Vidyut: He is brilliant. I have respect for everyone who does action because there is hard work that goes in.
Q. Don’t you feel it’s unfair that the hardship which you have been doing for action and still people are not aware?
Vidyut: It’s not unfair and people know it. I started my career in acting in 2011 and its 2019. There are many come here for 1 or 2 years and get out of it. If you are not cool enough than you are out, so I sustained.
Q. Have you been approached for a digital show or web series? Do you have interest in such kind of show?
Vidyut: I get approached for everything. Yes I would love to do but it has to be great production and direction, I have to believe in it.
Q. With this movie are you planning to venture into international forum?
Vidyut: I didn’t plan to work with Chuck Russell also, but it happened. My strategies are bit different. There are 2 ways – one is you go and meet everybody, you do PR. With me I don’t have ability to do all these things, I sit and I work on myself. Somebody finds that talent and they keep giving me work. It’s a slow process but its easier process for me.
By Rupal Purohit