Vijay Varma on life after 'Gully Boy': Struggle now to surprise people again

Justin Rao

Mumbai, Jan 5 (PTI) Actor Vijay Varma reflects on the year gone by with utmost gratitude, as 'Gully Boy' gave him the kind of appreciation he was craving for, setting him up to do more challenging work in 2020.

Vijay stood out for his portrayal as Moeen in the Zoya Akhtar directorial which chronicles the rise of a rapper from Mumbai slum.

'I reflect on 2019 with utmost gratitude and a wide smile on my face. It is the year things started to move for me, I got the acceptance and appreciation I was so badly craving for,' Vijay told PTI.

The actor says the struggle now is to 'take up a challenge and live up to that.' 'I know there are expectations attached. To match up and explore myself even further, to be able to surprise people again,' he adds.

The 33-year-old says post 'Gully Boy', his life has been eventful and the work has kept flowing.

'A lot of personal life has taken a backseat because there has been so much running around. But it has been a year full of work, going out there and diligently putting myself in front of the camera, trying to find new truths, new explorations and characters. I have been on the move.' Vijay has been on the move for quite a while. The actor, hailing from a non-film background from Hyderabad, ran away from home to study in FTII.

At the film institute, it was all about just getting work for Vijay, who knew his stakes were already high.

'I had run away from home, it was difficult to support myself. I was being taken care of by other people. So for me, to stand up on my own two feet was the first challenge. For that I needed work and I thought I would do any work.

'But then I realised I have strong choices. Without any work, I still felt I don't resonate with certain kind of work, characters.' After FTII, Vijay had plans to enter the industry as a 'certain personality' with a set of roles he would want to do.

But then he realised things weren't moving in the direction or at the pace he felt was right. The next step was to course correct himself.

'Then I started doing roles which I would not do initially. I kept changing my plan according to what the need of the hour was.' Vijay went on to feature in films like 'Rangrezz', 'Gang of Ghosts' and Guneet Monga backed 'Monsoon Shootout'.

'When 'Monsoon Shootout' happened, I was out there, it travelled to Cannes, my first festival, my first red carpet ever. But there was nothing about it in India, for long. Then I had to start from scratch,' he adds.

Next up for Vijay was Amitabh Bachchan-starrer 'Pink', which the actor was hesitant to do because it was an out-an-out bad character.

'But I did it because I wanted to be seen in a Shoojit Sircar movie, I wanted to work with these phenomenal actors. I would put my head down and go to work. That still continues. Just that today I have a lot more options to choose from, therefore I am careful with my choices because I have the luxury of choice now.' Even after 'Pink', he started getting similar roles, until 'Gully Boy' happened and the actor's life changed.

'There has been a variety of work post 'Gully Boy' and I am so happy with it,' he says.

Vijay recently teamed up with Zoya again for the Netflix horror anthology 'Ghost Stories'. Next up, he would be seen in 'Hurdang', 'Baaghi 3' and Mira Nair's 'A Suitable Boy'. PTI JUR SHD SHD