Vicky Kaushal: We see a star every week who trends and then nobody remembers

Vicky Kaushal, recognized as one of Indian cinema’s most capable artists, has time and again captivated audiences with his powerful performances in films like ‘Uri’, ‘Sardar Udham Singh’, and the more recent ‘Sam Bahadur’. Despite his success and widespread recognition, Vicky shies away from the traditional trappings of stardom and the stylized persona it traditionally carries.

In a recent heart-to-heart interview with GQ, Vicky Kaushal revealed his thoughts on stardom and its shifting sands in today’s rapidly changing cultural landscape. “I’ll tell you very frankly: Stardom is defined by the number of people who come to watch your film on day one, in a theatre—without being dependent on how good the trailer was, how fantastic the songs were, or how cool the poster was. They come to watch you. Irrespective of everything else. That’s the true definition of stardom. And honestly, that hasn’t happened to me yet. I still need to achieve that. I am not there yet,” he confessed.

This humility and grounded view resonate in an era where actors’ accessibility and the notion of a public image are far more controlled and narrated than in the past. The constant engagement with fans via social media and the relentless pursuit of paparazzi have helped craft a curated version of celebrity lives that often stress relatability and approachability. However, Vicky seems to understand that these platforms may only offer fleeting moments of fame that do not equate to lasting stardom.

He further expounded on the evolution of the concept of stardom, highlighting shifts from the eras of Dilip Kumar, Rajesh Khanna, and Amitabh Bachchan to the contemporary fame experienced by actors like Shah Rukh Khan. “The kind of popularity that these legends witnessed is vastly different from what we see now. It’s still enormous but manifests differently. The last time I perceived such a universal impact from an actor was with Hrithik Roshan. But today, celebrity culture seems more fickle, giving rise to stars who blaze brightly for a short while and are quickly forgotten,” Vicky elucidated.

This understanding of the transient nature of contemporary fame influences Vicky’s personal choices, especially pertaining to media consumption concerning himself. The omnipresence of celebrity culture has led him to refrain from overindulging in what’s written about him, choosing to read only film reviews and sparing himself from the noise that can detract from his passion for acting. Vicky believes that his profession should be about the art, the thrill of embodying different characters, and not about the constant feedback loop offered by the digital world.

Acting, for Vicky, is a pursuit of empathy, a sentiment he shared, resonating with the thoughts of acclaimed actor Cillian Murphy. Describing acting as an exercise in empathy, Vicky explained, “When you play a character for 12 hours a day, you’re putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, and once the role is over, the character’s essence stays with you. It allows you to understand another person’s life, to empathize deeply, changing your personal perspective to see things from someone else’s view.”

Vicky Kaushal’s philosophy on stardom and acting touches on something more profound than mere fame and recognition—it’s about impact, connection, and emotion. In his own words and through his performances, Vicky demonstrates a different kind of stardom—one rooted in artistic integrity and the keen human ability to feel and portray the complexity of emotions on screen, connecting viewers with characters that remain memorable far beyond their trending status.

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