Vicky Kaushal: I am Drawn to People Who are Compassionate”

In an exclusive interview with Cosmo India, the actor opens up about being a “risk taker,” a “romantic” and about his hidden talents.  

From a shy guy (who found his creative expression on stage) to a self-assured young man carving a niche in the echelons of Bollywood, the 32-year-old actor's life could make for a riveting script. We catch up with Vicky Kaushal to learn more about him, including his 'biggest' achievement so far and why he never mulls over any decision. 

Cosmo: How will the people closest to you, describe you?

Vicky Kaushal: “I think they’d say I’m very stubborn. You know, when people ask me when my birthday is, and I tell them it is on May 16, they’re like, ‘Oh, no wonder you’re so stubborn!’. Honestly, I do think I am headstrong. Also, I am instinctively drawn to compassion...and to people who are compassionate. I like simplicity, and would like to believe I’m an uncomplicated person.” 

C: Would you call yourself a risk-taker, or do you make calculated moves?

VK: “I don't plan things in great detail. I am a very instinctive person, and I truly, truly believe in—and follow—the idea that if you give your 100 percent to your present, your future will be better than you had hoped for. So I think in a dedicated way, and give it my all. Once I have taken something on, I will get into it whole-heartedly—I won’t over-analyse its impact, or sit and calculate how it will add to my life, or chalk out permutations and combinations about where I want it to take me. I just let things take their course.

I also strongly believe in God and destiny, so I have blind faith in karma. I believe if I am doing something with good intentions and honesty, for the right reason, it would not lead me to a place bad, even if doesn’t take me exactly where I had intended to be. That, no matter what the outcome, it will not adversely affect me. Of course, I weigh things before I take a decision—is it okay to do this—everyone does that. But I don’t mull over it. I like to go with the flow. I wake up in the morning, accept whatever life throws at me, give it my all....and hope for the best.”

Vicky Kaushal

C: There have been rumours about you being in a relationship. Are you seeing anyone?

VK: “[Laughs] This is exactly the kind of subject I avoid talking about...”

C: Fair enough. But at least tell us this: are you a romantic? A charmer?

VK: “I would like to believe so [laughs]. I think I am a romantic. But I don’t think I have ever been a charmer. You know, in college, I was not popular with the ladies, at all. To be honest, I have never had the kind of confidence to directly approach someone and be upfront about my feelings. I was really reserved. I was one of those guys who took things really slow, wanting to get to know the other person better first, always a little hesitant... And in that ‘subtlety’, I used to often miss the chance and wouldn’t be able to tell them how I felt.”

C: Have things changed now?

VK: “They have, certainly. I am more confident now, both on the personal and professional front.”

C: When not working, how do you like to spend your day? 

VK: “I am a completely nocturnal person. I love my time at night—I like watching movies, reading a book, enjoying this ‘me time’. So I wake up late. But I can’t be tardy—I need to work out, engage in some fitness activities. I live with my family, so when I am not working, I like to chill at home, spend time with them, maybe call a friend over, or go visit them...the usual.”

C: You seem to love to dabble in all sorts of hobbies, too—playing the veena, learning horseback riding...

VK: “Actually, the veena was part of a professional commitment. I was learning it in the beginning of the year, but had to pause for a bit in the lockdown. Even horse-riding started out for a project, but I enjoyed it so much, that I continued. I’ll need to hone my riding skills further for my upcoming film, The Immortal Ashwatthama, so it’ll resume in a full-fledged way, soon. I also need to learn archery for the same project, that should be exciting, too.” 

Vicky Kaushal

C: And any hidden talents that we may not have seen yet?

VK: “I have been told I am a good dancer. I haven’t been able to explore that in films yet, but when given the opportunity, I would certainly make the most of it.”

C: What are you most proud of?

VK: “The fact that my parents are proud of me. I don’t know how to put it, but there are moments that you know are extraordinary, but they become even more special when you see the happiness in your parents’ eyes. Like, coincidentally, I won the National Award on this day last year. I was ecstatic! But when I saw my parents—and what it meant to them—that was something else. Their reaction took the experience to another level for me. Moments like that are my biggest achievements.”

C: Are you an emotional person, in general? When was the last time you cried?

VK: “I cried just last week... We were shooting for a scene, and I had to cry for it, so I did [laughs]. But I am an emotional person. I won’t say I cry often, but I do. Like, I cry while watching certain movies.”

C: And what gives you strength? 

VK: “My parents always tell me this: there’s only one version of right. A right can never be proven wrong; a right will never feel wrong. Wrong has many shades and colours to it, but right is always just right. So when I know in my heart that what I did or am doing is right, it gives me strength. If I can face myself in the mirror, I have nothing to worry about. If I know my actions are in sync with my beliefs, I know I’m on the right track. And as I said, I’m also a big believer in karma. So, again, if my intentions are good and my heart is in the right place, I know life will only teach me things, it won’t cause me harm. That keeps me going.”