When he entered into films, Vardhan Puri was popularly known as Amrish Puri’s grandson, but with just his first film, Yeh Saali Aashiqui in 2019, he proved that he was more than that, an actor with immense talent and promise.
In an exclusive chat with Spotboye.com, the actor gets candid about his life after his first film, his upcoming projects, his grandfather and more. Read excerpts from the interview:
How has been the industry’s response towards you after Yeh Saali Aashiqui?
It has been very positive, heart-warming and surreal. I got a lot of offers after the film since, by God’s grace, everyone loved it. I got to work with really amazing people and the fact that people from the industry called me personally to praise my work from their heart and offered me more, it was a big blessing.
You have stated before your association with theatre. You have been doing it since you were five-years-old. How did the theatre prep and experience help you in films?
It has helped me in every way as I have grown up watching, doing, experiencing and living theatre. Whatever I am today, it is because of theatre. It taught me the art and craft of acting and how it is not about how many tricks you have up your hat but how honest you are with your character. It taught me the value of preparation, discipline, punctuality and obsession with your craft. It taught me that versatility is everything. The kind of characters theatre allows you to do, no other medium does. So, what I am today, I owe it to all to the world of theatre, my guru Pandit Satyadev Dubey and my other guru Mr Amrish Puri.
You had just begun your acting career in 2019 and were receiving praise for your work when Covid struck, putting everything to a standstill. Do you think it broke the momentum for your budding career?
That’s a very myoscope view of looking at the situation if I just think about my career. The world is going through something so big and I have no right to be so selfish and think just about my work. Also, I don’t think it even happened with my work as such as I was one of those blessed souls who got to complete a film shoot during thus pandemic.
I completed Vivek Agnihotri’s next, The Last Show, a social comedy with two legends. That was the first film I could shoot for, from the work I got after Yeh Saali Aashiqui. The other films I’ll do once the pandemic gets over. I was supposed to shoot at this time also, but our permits got revoked last moment due to the situation.
Of course, it’s upsetting as an artist to go through something like this but the world is going through enough for me to point fingers at what happened to me. That would be very selfish and self-centred at my part to just think about my career. I think of bigger things, about the world, people’s health and how soon will the world come back to normalcy. So, I don’t think anything played spoilsport with my career as my career has its own destiny. No one can deny what is supposed to happen. But Covid did play spoilsport for the world.
Tell us something about The Last Show?
It’s a social comedy set in the backdrop of nautanki and Parsi theatre. It’s an outstanding script and just talking about it brings a smile to my face. Vivek sir is a genius director and I got to work with such amazing actors like Anupam Kher sir, Satish Kaushik sir, Pallavi Joshi ma’am and Vrinda Kher ma’am. I can’t wait for people to see this film as we have put in a lot of hard work. All of us actors haven’t got to see the film yet but what we have heard from the makers, it’s looking outstanding. I just hope the audience loves the film too. I got to do some comedy with legends here and be directed by a director who made The Tashkent files, which I feel is one of the best films to happen to our country. So, it has been a blessing.
Since The Last Show is about nautanki and theatre, and you also belong to the theatre community, did it bring you back to your theatre days?
It did. I am rooted so deeply in theatre and the film revolves around theatre, theatre artists and the whole world and culture of actors from theatre, so it made me so emotional and at the same time took me back to the world where I came from. It has been surreal.
You kind of debuted at a time when industry kids were facing a bit of backlash and negative connotation by the audience. In such times, do you think the tag of being Amrish Puri’s grandson, helped you more or held you back?
It obviously helped because of everything I learnt from him. Being his grandson enabled me to get the best education about life, cinema, acting and theatre. It is the greatest privilege. Having said that, nobody has pointed to me to say that I am a “nepo kid”. My grandfather passed away while I was very young and still in theatre. He was never there to influence any film’s casting or make any calls or go to offices to have me cast in a film.
Even if he had been here today, he wouldn’t have done it for me because he didn’t believe in that. He felt that one needs to achieve what they desire on their own because if you get it on a platter, you’ll survive for only one film. You’ll fall flat after that because your legs aren’t strong enough to hold you. Your legs will get strong only after you climb up the hill of struggle. You have to have struggled to get somewhere that you value. He never spoke on my behalf for me to be called a nepotism kid.
I think I am the guy who has given more auditions and screen tests than anyone else, be it an insider or outsider. I gave numerous interviews after which I got the job of an assistant director, then I became an assistant writer. I did theatre for so many years and did so many plays and after that when I got the chance at films, it was because of my hard work and not because I was Amrish Puri’s grandson. So, his name was always a privilege for me.
Had I been his son, maybe I would have been accused of it but my father was never a part of films. My parents became film producers because I became an actor. So, people can tell them that they became producers because their son is an actor, and they will be proud to say yes.
After your debut, you got a break for more than a year due to the pandemic. It might have worked for you as well as you could have worked on all the feedback you got from your first film. So, how did you utilise this year?
Luckily all the feedback I got was good. But I kept working on myself irrespective of that. When I see myself on screen, I gauge what I need to do more or improve upon. Even if I give the best shot of my life, I won’t be satisfied. As an artist, I am always seeking more than what is available to me and what has already been delivered. I have been working a lot on myself, reading, watching content and writing. I think writing is a process most important for any actor. It opens your mind up and makes you imaginative, and imagination is the key tool for an actor. I have been reading acting theories and working on myself all this while. I feel blessed to be privileged to get the time and space to do that. I am a far more evolved artist than I was before the lockdown.
Talking of writing, you co-wrote your debut film as well. So, did you write any films during this time?
I have written three films during the lockdown. The first of them will be made soon. I am just in talks with a studio and a production house and you will hear an announcement really soon.
Will you be acting in it as well?
It completely depends on the casting director. There is one part that I see myself playing and I hope to play that. I am pretty sure I will unless the final draft reads differently than now. But it’s a film about various important characters and very soon you will know about it.
So, apart from your writing and The Last Show, is there any other new film that you are doing?
There was a film I was supposed to be shooting right now. But at the last moment the permissions didn’t come our way. We had them but they got taken away. Once things go back to normal, I would have to fly out of the country for that film and you will hear an announcement about it soon.
Image source: youtube/SpotboyE/CommuniquePR/instagram/vardhanpuri02
Check out more news on SpotboyE