Vicky Kaushal has truly become a sought-after actor ever since his breakout role in Rajkumar Hirani's Sanju. In his 5-year-old career, he’s gone from supporting actor to a Netflix staple to a full-on movie star.
His last release Uri: The Surgical Strike was one of the highest grossers of 2019. The film, helmed by first time director Aditya Dhar, brought several accolades and appreciation for the actor, and subsequently helped him cement his place as one of the most bankable young stars in Bollywood.
In his next, Vicky is dabbling with horror genre. Titled Bhoot - Part One: The Haunted Ship, the film follows the story of a surveying officer Prithvi (Vicky), who is assigned the job of investigating a dead ship which has suddenly anchored at Mumbai's Juhu beach.
“When I read the script, what fascinated me was its geography. It was almost like Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. This is the same geography where there is a dilapidated big container ship. There are 10 floors, 300 rooms, engine room, pump room, staircases. So there are many textures in this geography, and anything can happen. You can fall, you can get trapped. There are so many possibilities that get created, and we have juiced out everything.
“And if you are stuck on a huge ship, how much ever you cry for help, it won’t reach out. And if there is paranormal presence then the stake for me was very high that how would I ever come out? The conflict is too rich so all of this attracted me to the script. Also, we have stuck to the genre. There is no side-track, there is no album of song or comic relief which is usually inserted to lure the audience. So far, we are in a very eerie space playing with human emotions in horror films. But this film is kind of a mix of both. It is a psycho-thriller as well as pure horror. There is a paranormal entity, and it is not something that is going on only in your head. If this is liked then we can keep evolving further,” Vicky said.
The actor also revealed since he was working on this genre for the first time, he would go and check the monitor after every scene in order to check if he was giving the right expressions.
“Usually, when I am performing drama or comedy, I go by my director’s decision. But here, there was a need to check how is the expression of fear looking because when we are shooting, there is no background music or visuals, it's just the expressions. If I don’t react or if I over-react to the 'ghost' then that fear won’t reach you. I used to keep jamming with the director asking what are the visuals, how will he edit, what's the background score. I was discovering all this while I was shooting but otherwise, I don’t interfere," Vicky added.
Even though Vicky has signed on a jump scare movie, the actor said he's too scared to watch any horror film on the big screen.
“I go for horror movie maybe once a year. I like watching with a set of friends and preferably with someone who gets more scared than me. On a serious note, while I was reading the script of Bhoot, I really got sucked into the story. So once that happens then it's about following your heart,” he says, “But yes, I would love to overcome my fear because I get very jealous of people who say that they enjoy watching horror films. I tell them that they don’t have any imagination. When somebody says that they have experienced ghost, I am not someone who would say that I don’t believe. I can’t sleep alone after listening to somebody’s ghost experience. I also had a phobia of water, and after doing Bhoot, I could overcome it. But if I am able to do scuba diving in the night then I will overcome fear of water completely.”
On experimenting with genres, Vicky said, “As an artiste, I won’t be able to justify my work if I plan because it will make me very rigid as an actor. What is more important for me is to be part of good films, made by good filmmakers because people want to see good stories. If you give them five back-to-back good romantic films, they won’t get bored. Before Uri, I had not explored action, and I had the hunger to do that. Similarly with Bhoot, I am understanding horror genre even as I am not the audience of this genre. This way, I will remain alive as an actor, and not become complacent, thinking this is my home ground."
Bhoot - Part One: The Haunted Ship, directed by Bhanu Pratap Singh and produced by Karan Johar's Dharma Productions, is scheduled to release on February 21.