Actor Vikrant Massey is happy as his latest release Love Hostel, streaming on ZEE5, has crossed over “two million hours of viewing”. Also, the film’s producer Shah Rukh Khan’s words of praise for the entire team, including actors Sanya Malhotra, Bobby Deol and director Shanker Raman, has left Vikrant elated. His hard work has paid off as the audience has lapped up his film. But it was not entirely a delightful experience for the actor to play Muslim boy Ahmed Shaukeen who elopes with Hindu girl Jyoti (Sanya Malhotra).
“I did go through quite a bit of up and downs while filming Love Hostel. I was continuously taking therapy,” Vikrant told indianexpress.com. He added, “This film had a certain degree of emotional impact on me. Physically, yes, it gets tiring, but emotionally both Sanya and I had to go through therapy during Love Hostel. There were days when I broke down. Besides therapy, I did have my share of sleepless nights as I am not an actor who can switch on and switch off a character. For you to think like someone you are not, it does catch up with you. You start thinking like your character. You start feeling like your character. It is that journey that becomes challenging.”
Love Hostel, written and directed by Shanker Raman, exposes the practice of honour killing in some parts of the country. It shows how love is forbidden between a Muslim man and a Hindu Girl.
Talking about the film’s central subject, Vikrant Massey said, “Let’s be truthful, there are many Ahmed and Jyoti out there. We all know what has happened with inter-faith marriages. We have seen people being ostracized for following their free will and faith in the last few years. So, the idea was to communicate that through the film.”
What made Vikrant take up the film was the power to be the audience’s voice. He said, “This is not the country I recognise my country as. This is not the society I was raised in. This is not the world that I was made to believe in. When you see things like that happening around you, you really want to go out and be the audience’s voice.”
Vikrant was keen to showcase the story of his character Ahmed. Ahmed’s struggle for acceptance in society resonated with the actor. “We are the largest democracy but then some people are not allowed to follow their free will. These are the ironic situations we deal with day in and day out. It really struck a chord with me, and I wanted to tell Ahmed Shokeen’s story,” shared Vikrant while explaining why he picked up a dark film like Love Hostel despite being a ‘sensitive’ person in real life.
Though the film was dark and dealt with a sensitive issue, director Shanker Raman made sure to create a safe environment for his actors. In an earlier interview with indianexpress.com, he said, “For me, the most important thing is to make them (actors) feel safe.” And, it is this quality of Shanker that made the job a bit easier for Vikrant Massey.
“Shanker works very quietly. There is no brouhaha that ‘oh, we are shooting such an intense film’. He created a comfortable and safe haven for his actors and technicians to protect ourselves and yet return to the morbid world we were representing,” Vikrant said.
Love Hostel is set in Haryana and the actors had to undergo diction coaching for the film. In fact, Bobby Deol, who has brilliantly played the antagonist Dagar in the film, learned Haryanavi with child-like enthusiasm. And, all of them did it so well that in the film, it felt they all belong to the place where the story is set.
Vikrant said the diction “blended beautifully” into the film because of the director. “He didn’t want to pretend play. We just wanted to play what we see and hear, and what that particular belt is like. Though we had diction coaching, we wanted to keep it as real as possible, maybe that is the reason it doesn’t stand out,” the actor shared.
Apart from success on the professional front, Vikrant kickstarted the year on a positive note. He got married to his longtime girlfriend Sheetal Thakur last month. And, currently, he is “living his dream”.
Concluding the conversation on a lighter note, Vikrant Massey said, “I am happier than I was before. I am more at peace than I was before. I am happy about how life has been and I am living my dream. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”