Vidyut Jammwal is an unconventional Bollywood actor and ticks most of the boxes for being a non-conformist. The actor never attends parties nor invites stars to the screening of his films. Nepotism is something he simply does not care about. And in his spare time (which he does once a month) he calls sick people at his home and treats their back and neck bone issues. The promotional campaign of Junglee, that released last week, gives scribe that rare window of opportunity to know more about the action star.
Junglee, touted as a family action adventure, will showcase his martial arts capabilities. Judging by the trailer, it is apparent that the actor has challenged himself once again when it comes to stunts. “I don’t know how I do it but in reality, I work very hard. I educate myself every time. I try find my weaknesses and then do my best to cover them up. For me, there is no tomorrow, and I try finish the task then and there. I watch and I listen to myself, and thus I feel there is no competition because the biggest competition is me. As an army officer’s kid, I came here to become an action star and now I have become one. In future I only have to make sure that I do better than what I have done in past,” says the actor.
Vidyut considers himself as someone who is a true martial artist and not someone who does it only for his films. He is proud of his roots and small-town upbringing, and believes that he is someone who is unaffected by pressure. “Recently, I was awarded and recognised as one of the topmost martial artists in the world but none of the Indian actors, barring Shatrughan Sinha, congratulated me on social media. I didn’t feel bad at all. It was a big achievement for a person who has been doing this since the age of three. I represented the nation but no one complemented me but it does not stop me from doing my thing and actually making you believe further that I am strong,” reveals the Commando actor.
In a very short span of time, Vidyut has carved his own place in the industry based on his martial arts skills. He says that whenever he travels to small towns, people often ask him about how one can become ‘hero’ in the industry and his answer always has been to develop a skill that nobody has. In the actor’s case, it is his gravity-defying stunts. “If the audience wants you, you will always be in theatres. The Indian audience wants to watch me and I know it, and it’s a belief. Though none of my films have made Rs 100 crore, yet I have been here since 2011 and they have not been able to throw me out. When I say ‘they’, I mean people who don’t believe in me.”
Judging by Vidyut’s response, one can also deduce that the pressure of delivering a Rs 100 crore blockbuster is somewhere in his mind. So how true is it? “I am very sure that Junglee will cross Rs 100 crores and I say this with great belief because it has content, the right director and the right producer. Though I have not done many films, I do get offers out of which most are risky propositions. You will be offered an insane amount of money that you have never heard of and it’s very tempting. You will get employment for six months but what after that? I was pretty sure that irrespective of the fate of the film, I would shine in Commando. With Junglee, I know that everything is just alright.”
About Junglee, he reveals there is neither VFX nor CG effects in the film, and what one witnesses on the screen is something that is real and raw, including a real snake. So when asked if he suffered any fractures while shooting, the response is met with a guffaw and surprise. “I am a trained martial artist and I ensure that I receive no harm, and nor do others get a chance to harm me.” He adds that the experience of Junglee also transformed him as a person as it traverses a new path. “Commando was an out an out action genre and was more like Terminator, where the protagonist is a one-man army. But in Junglee, I am not the same guy who was in Commando. I have learnt so much from this film and it has also transformed me as a person.”
One also has to accept the fact that in the past few years, talents have mushroomed in Bollywood in dozens. Now, filmmakers have plenty of options for their projects. How does he view himself as part of the current crop of actors in terms of defining his own slot? “As a top martial artist, representing the country,” says the actor in a jiffy. “I have Chuck Russell with me who came from Hollywood to Bollywood to make a movie. As arrogant it might sound but he believed in Jim Carrey, The Rock and now, it’s me.”
Finally, an interview with Vidyut will remain incomplete without asking him about his in-absentia nature from Bollywood soirees. “Well I do have friends and I won’t deny the fact that they do invite me. But I don’t believe in parties and stuff. For the screening of my own films, I don’t call anyone. I stayed away from parties even when I was a model. Apart from it, I also have people come to my house for healing. Now, my schedule allows me just a day in a month but people come to my house, and I fix their back and neck bones. One of my closest friends’ mother had a back problem for the past 20 years. When she met me, I fixed it in five minutes. That requires training and that requires time,” signs off Vidyut.