He’s the tall hunk who packed a mean punch in Billa 2 and sent a chill down the spine in Thuppakki. But now, Bollywood’s action hero, Vidyut Jamwal, is changing tracks with Anjaan. In the Suriya starrer, Vidyut shows his endearing side. In a long chat with CE, the vegetarian who was declared PETA’s ‘Sexiest Male in India’, talks about his connection with the South...
Partners in crime
In Anjaan, I play Chandru Bhai, don RajuBhai Surya’s childhood buddy. We are partners in crime. For the first time, you won’t see me with a menacing smirk! It’s very different from what I’ve done before.
How Anjaan happened
I was at the SIIMA awards in Dubai when director Lingusamy approached me and said, ‘I’m going to cast you soon’. I didn’t take it very seriously (laughs). But 10 days later, he called, and I met him in Chennai for Anjaan.
Lingusamy is one of the most brilliant directors in India, and my favourite. I admire his calmness on sets. If he has an instruction, he respects the actor and comes quietly to him and conveys it. We both share love for meditation.
My first Hindi film Force was a remake of Tamil film Kaaka Kaaka. Till now, I’ve successfully worked in three Tamil films, and have done films in Telugu too. I am a full fledged practitioner of Kalaripayattu, India’s revered martial art, which originated in the South. My mother runs Punjari Madham, an ashram in Kerala where Kalari is taught. So, I have a deep Southern connect in both life and career.
Action is my passion. I love MGR’s stunts which I watch on YouTube. MGR’s action sequences in those days, beats even the ones of Jackie Chan today! To me, MGR is the pioneer of action. One scene where he wields the urumi is awesome! I have my own team of stuntmen consisting of 21 boys whom I handpicked from the slums of Dharavi. From 9 am to 5 pm they practise other professions. But morning and evening, they train with me. I use this team in all my films. In fact, during Billa 2 shoot in Georgia, the astounded local stuntmasters thought they had been training since childhood! India is a storehouse of untapped talent.
Ajith is most charming, while Vijay is very chilled out. Surya’s intensity is just astounding! What I love most about them all is the way they go out of the way to meet fans.
Cinema conscious fans
The fans here have a deep cinematic sensibility and knowledge. They treat me like family. Even in the biggest crowds, they behave in a dignified manner.
Villain or hero?
In Hindi, I’m currently shooting for Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Yaara. My solo hero film, Commando, changed the way Indian cinema viewed action. So I’m starting Commando 2 soon.In Ram Madhvani’s Bodhidharma, I play the title role. Though I’ve shifted to hero roles in Bollywood, in Tamil, I’ll continue to work with directors who bring out the elusive X factor, like Murugadoss and Lingusamy do. People should see me in a different light each time, not bound by tags of villain or hero.