Darlings actor Vijay Verma was told ‘your Shah Rukh Khan nahi hai’ during the fight: ‘Today SRK has hired me for his movie’

Actor Vijay Verma he says his is a classic underdog story, in which he grew from a wide-eyed kid with dreams who ran away from home and headed to Mumbai to eventually become an actor.

In this interview with indianexpress.com, Vijay talks about how he navigated a phase where he wasn’t offered much work. He said that then he was a beggar that he wasn’t supposed to choose, but he made sure to turn it around himself by choosing the right projects and learning along the way.

On having a huge filmography with movies like Pink, The Right Boy, Gully Boy, and Darlings, the actor said, “These projects come to me, but I had to choose. I’ve had a bit of travel. I was in a position where I didn’t have enough to choose from, so I had to take as much as I could in desperate times. Very soon, I realized that even beggars have a choice. So from the beginning, in terms of auditions and everything, I used to refuse to audition for roles that I didn’t like.”

“I had decided that I had to take matters into my own hands and choose what I want to do with my career. I didn’t want to do roles that I couldn’t do justice to. I had to start from scratch. And luckily for me, right now I’m in a place where I can select the kind of movies I want to do and the roles I want to play. Now that I have a small body of work, I can’t afford to repeat what I’ve done before. So that becomes one of the criteria when choosing the script. The other is understanding what I’m doing in the movie and the third, and most important, is what the movie is doing, what it’s saying, and how well it’s saying it,” she adds.

Vijay also explained how his and Alia Bhatt’s characters in Darlings are polar opposites of what they did in Gully Boy. He says, “I had to make a conscious decision, because Alia and I were also in Gully Boy. So we wanted to make sure we created completely new identities. The script was rich enough to give us plenty to eat. I went to Byculla, I went out with people, I listened to their stories, I heard how they celebrate, how they spend their evenings, how they are obsessed with reels, how they like their social networks and what music they listen to. I studied them and realized that there is more Urdu in his ‘Bambaiya’, which I love because I am from Hyderabad. This is how I put little pieces together to become Hamza, who is a very respectable man, he has a government job.”

Vijay has been an actor for ten years and calls it a journey with many learnings. “The underdog who came here ten years ago, he feels seen right now. I took various leaps, risks and opportunities at the cost of almost separating my entire family. I ran away from home. So now everyone feels a big breather, they were afraid how he would make it, it’s not easy to go to Mumbai and become someone. They told me ‘your Shah Rukh Khan nahi hai’ but now Shah Rukh Khan has hired me for his movie,” shared Vijay.

Some of the best films in Vijay’s recent filmography have been directed by women filmmakers. Darlings too, a film about domestic violence, is directed by Jasmeet Keer, a debut filmmaker. On the female gaze in stories, and whether she made a difference to the way a story is told, Vijay says, “There’s no difference per se, but I like when a female director directs me, especially when I’m playing. a really evil character. I like the way a director sees it. There’s a certain kind of look that a female filmmaker has even for evil men, which is very, very compassionate.”

“They want to say what a monster this person is, but somehow it still evokes some kind of empathy. But there is an equal amount of vulnerability that, say, Shoojit Sircar or Imtiaz Ali or Zoya Akhtar bring to their films. They are equally nuanced and compassionate people. So there’s practically no difference between the different genres when it comes to working with filmmakers, but with Darlings I feel like only a woman could tell the story,” concludes Vijay.

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