Turning director with Kya Dilli Kya Lahore Vijay Raaz says anything with emotional impact works for him
Vijay Raaz is not offended if you call him a misfit in the industry. He is not backed by big banners or directors, and does not follow what is fashionable in cinema. That said, the 44-year-old actor, who was previously seen in movies like Run, Monsoon Wedding, Dedh Ishqiya and O Teri, follows his heart. That was what inspired him to direct his first film, Kya Dilli Kya Lahore, in which he plays the protagonist. The story, which takes place over the course of a day, revolves around two characters—a Pakistani soldier, played by Raaz, who is sent to retrieve a secret file from an Indian chowky, and a cook with the Indian army, played by Manu Rishi. Since he hails from Delhi, one would expect him to play the Indian soldier, but Raaz quips, “Why should there be this question at all? Why do we always think of boundaries? I grew up listening to a lot of stories on Partition. And the only thing I realised was that people are the same on both sides.”
Reinventing the reel
In the industry for more than a decade, he shares that one of the highlights of the movie is Gulzar, whose name will feature in the credits as writer, lyricist and presenter. Though there have been several movies based on Partition in the past, Raaz says Kya Dilli Kya Lahore is a different take. “Like Amitabh Bachchan’s Don is different from Shah Rukh Khan’s Don, this movie is different from what you’ve seen,” he insists, adding that he hopes it is screened in Pakistan. While not working, Raaz prefers reading books on spirituality or taking a walk. “I used to play cricket, but not anymore,” says Raaz, who finds inspiration in nature.
“I am always attracted to anything that has an emotional impact,” he says, adding, “I like adding humour in my roles; it makes the character more interesting.” The philosophical Raaz considers acting a hobby. “I don’t like words like ‘career’, ‘work’ and ‘goals’. I am not the kind who’d say acting is my life,” says the man who was introduced to the theatre by friends. “Initially, I thought acting was a bad option because I had to remember lines. If I could memorise lines, I could have studied better,” he laughs.
Kya Dilli Kya Lahore is scheduled to release on May 2.
— Mrinalini Sundar