Vidyut Jamwal is one of our handful few action heroes. The actor is trained in Kalaripayattu, an Indian martial art form, and has been in films such as Force, Commando and Khuda Hafiz. The latter now has a sequel. Ahead of its release on July 8, he was in conversation with Anupama Chopra. He spoke about the importance of kindness in an action star, why he’s the best martial artist in the world, and being honest about his private life.
John Abraham said to me once, “Attitude is what makes an action star.” Do you agree with that?
It’s like saying martial arts is about just one kick. There are zillions of them. So, I agree with this one drop of information but there’s so much more to it. It’s not only the attitude. A real action star or a person who does action has to be really kind. If you invoke this kindness in you, you could be anything — you could be Shiva. You gotta be able to be really kind in order to destroy things; the yin and yang. So, I agree with this thought, but you just have to be the person you have to be at that very moment.
There are times I meet professional fighters — I’ve been trained in the ring — and they could get a person down in a second. But when it comes to being on the street and they have to save a girl from being abused or eve-teased, these guys won’t go there because they’re very careful about being fighters. The real fighter is someone who will fight any situation, anywhere. What John says is right, but to be there for anybody is what makes you a great action star.
Being an action star is often what defines you — when I walk into your movies, I want to see you fight. How do you differentiate yourself from all the other actors doing action at the moment — John Abraham is still in the game, Tiger Shroff has taken the bar to another level, Aditya Roy Kapur has Om: The Battle Within releasing soon. In this environment, how do you keep honing your skills and pushing forward?
All the gentlemen you’ve referred to are great action stars but I’m the top martial artist in the world. Officially. I work all the time — whether I’m sleeping, or awake — I’m in awareness and that’s how I hone my skills. Sometimes, people compare me to Jackie Chan or Tony Jaa or other legendary people. It’s amazing that they compare me to the best. It’s like saying, “Vidyut, you’re as good as Michael Jackson when you move. Wow.” So for that, you gotta be aware all the time. I’m honing my skills not only physically — as an action star, I keep thinking, “If this happens what would I do?” and keep putting myself in these situations all the time and that’s what I show on screen. When you watch Khuda Hafiz, there is a scene with the butchers and I thought, “Okay, this is a situation a lot of people have been in. But if I was in it, how would I fight?” And that’s what we’ve done. So, when I think of an action scene, when I choreograph or direct it, I always think of what I would do — and I’m someone who is skilled, so I would try to do something different.
Vidyut, you’re very romantic in life as well. I’ve seen your Instagram posts for your fiancee, Nandita. There’s a video for her birthday and your proposal was out there for the world to see and I was wondering, do you ever wonder about what is public and what is private? Do you ever think, “Should I share this, should I not?”
I read about our movie actors and they never admit to a relationship that they are in. They’re always “friends”. And I don’t know if it’s okay with the girl and the guy but I don’t think it’s a cool thing — why aren’t you being honest? Everybody knows you guys aren’t just friends. And why are you embarrassed of it? So, in my case, when it came to the engagement, I wanted to do it in a way that the girl has never imagined it. Do the best of it! I think everything you do has to be the best effort. Every moment of your life, everything you do. If you’re not giving your 100% in everything you do then I’m not very sure if you’ll be happy.