• Saturday, December 02, 2023


Vicky Kaushal thought he wasn’t ‘handsome’ enough to play Sam Manekshaw

Bollywood actors Fatima Sana Shaikh (L) director Meghna Gulzar (C) and Vicky Kaushal attend the teaser launch of their upcoming Hindi-language biopic film ‘Sam Bahadur’ in Mumbai on October 13, 2023. (Photo by SUJIT JAISWAL / AFP) (Photo by SUJIT JAISWAL/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Mohnish Singh

Actor Vicky Kaushal said on Tuesday he initially thought he was not good-looking enough for the role of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw in filmmaker Meghna Gulzar’s Sam Bahadur.

At the film’s trailer launch event held at the Manekshaw Centre in New Delhi, Kaushal said Gulzar told him about her desire to make the biopic on Manekshaw during the shooting of their 2018 film Raazi.

“I remember when Meghna and I were working on Raazi, then during a shooting schedule in Patiala she told me what she wanted to do next. And she said she wants to make a film on Sam Manekshaw,” Kaushal said.

“My mother and father are both from Punjab and through them, I had heard a lot about him. But I didn’t know how he looked. So, during that conversation, I secretly Googled him and saw his photo. I said, ‘He is very handsome and I will not get this role.’ But I have to thank Meghna for giving me the role of this handsome person,” he added.

The trailer was launched in the presence of Army Chief General Manoj Pande. Kaushal’s co-actors Sanya Malhotra, Fatima Sana Shaikh, director Gulzar, and producer Ronnie Screwvala also attended the event.

Sam Bahadur will span Manekshaw’s career of over 40 years, including significant milestones, from fighting in World War II to being the Chief of Army Staff during the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war, which led to the creation of Bangladesh, according to the makers.

Playing the titular part was not easy for Kaushal, he said.

“It is the toughest role of my life, not because of the way he talked and walked but because of the man he was. This was an attempt to live that life. It is obviously a team effort,” he added.

The actor said his attempt with the character was to bring out his compassionate nature on the big screen.

“In one of his interviews, he was asked about the biggest achievement of his career of 40 years. And he said, ‘In my career, from second lieutenant to field marshall, I have never punished a soldier.’ And that compassion, especially when you have all the power, strength, and feeling for every jawan is what made him a hero to me.

“That swag, style, and charisma was there but at the end, that heart was also there. He had a compassionate heart and that is what I was trying to aim for,” he added.

As part of the preparation, Kaushal said he had to work on the physical aspects of the character but capturing the spirit was the aim.

Produced by RSVP Movies, Sam Bahadur has been penned by Bhavani Iyer, Shantanu Shrivastava, and Gulzar.

The movie is scheduled to be released in theatres on December 1.

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