Suvinder Vicky in a scene from Kohrra. (Courtesy: Suvinder Pal Vicky)

New Delhi:

The spotlight is finally shining on Kohrra star Suvinder Vicky after years of hard work in films that got critical acclaim but not mainstream attention and the actor, grateful for his moment in the sun, can only say – “Better late than never”. Vicky’s turn as the tormented Sub-Inspector Balbir Singh battling his personal demons while solving the murder of an NRI groom in the crime drama has audiences asking just who the actor is. “I feel good that people want to know about me. I want to thank viewers from the bottom of my heart for appreciating my performances and for going back and discovering my past work,” the actor told PTI.

Referring to attention from social and other media platforms and people wanting to know more about the mainstay of the atmospheric Punjab-based whodunit, Vicky said, “Der aaye durust aaye… aur main to kahunga ki bahut jyaada durust aa gaye (better late than never… and I would say the attention is very welcome).” Vicky, 50, said he knew he had chanced upon something big when showrunner Sudip Sharma offered him the character in the Netflix show.

The Sirsa-born actor, who started out by primarily working in Punjabi films such as Munde U.K. De, Kabaddi Ikk Mohabbat and Yaraan Naal Baharaan 2, said he is overwhelmed that filmmakers have personally reached out to him to praise his work.

Hansal Mehta reached out, Neeraj Ghaywan called up and there was praise from Deepa Mehta and Karan Johar too, he said. According to Netflix, the six-episode original series is the network’s trending number one show in India and ranks number three for non-English TV shows globally.

In 2015, Vicky travelled to the Cannes Film Festival for the Punjabi film Chauthi Koot while Ghaywan and Vicky Kaushal were there with Masaan. Ghaywan had followed his work ever since, he said.

The actor considers Gurvinder Singh’s Chauthi Koot, which screened in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes, a “turning point” in his career.

Before that, he had his share of ups and downs with the period between 2002 and 2010 especially tough.

“I have seen a lot of frustration. There was no work from 2002 to 2010… just small roles. There are times when you are sad and you look up to god and ask ‘kyun’ (why). I got the answer to my ‘kyun’ by realising that ‘I was the one who opted for this, so I have to prove myself’,” he said reflectively.

Vicky played a small role in Udta Punjab, which was written by Sharma. He also did a blink-and-miss role in the writer-filmmaker’s hit series Paatal Lok.

The actor said they would have barely exchanged words beyond “hello and hi”. And so, when Sharma reached out with the central role in Kohrra, he was more than surprised.

“Sudip ji said he could not think of anyone else for Balbir’s role,” the actor said, adding that he took the character as a challenge.

“There are many shades in this character. There are many tracks and flashbacks, then there is his young life and other contradictions like his relationship with his daughter and the pressure from the workplace.

“I thought it would be a good challenge and if I can carry it well, it will be a huge thing in my life. I had this feeling from the beginning and it has now happened.” In 2021, he appeared as Ghalib in Ivan Iyer’s critically-lauded Meel Patthar (Milestone), playing a truck driver grieving the death of his wife. His performance was much appreciated by critics.

Vicky, who credits his father for inspiring him to become an actor, said he wanted to find the character from within rather than emulating a cop.

“I did not go there. I had the intuition that I will find the character within me,” he said.

While he enjoyed the story, he felt initially lost about how to approach the character.

“As I kept reading, I felt confused and thought, ‘yaar, ye samajh nai aa raha’ (I can’t understand it). I read it again and during the workshop spoke to Sudip ji about my dilemma. He told me, ‘Paaji, you read it alone in your room and then let me know why you don’t understand it’.

“One night, it struck me. I realised I am not supposed to understand this. If I do, then the case is already solved. This is the puzzle that I have to solve, otherwise I cannot bring realism.” The love for theatre and acting began early with his father who would often take him to workshops and cultural activities. It continued while he was studying in school and later in college.

Vicky also credits his alma mater, Patiala’s Punjabi University, from where he completed his masters in theatre.

Responding to viewers commenting on his expressive face that registers every emotion, he said, “I would say it is a gift from god. He gave me this quality a little more than others maybe.” “It’s not like I have seen a lot of sadness in my life… I’m blessed with two beautiful daughters and then there is my better half, my wife who supports me every step of the way, my father, who gave me the gift of theatre and my mother. I have a good family. I have few but good friends,” he added.

Kohrra also features Barun Sobti, Harleen Sethi, Saurav Khurana, Rachel Shelley, Manish Chaudhary and Varun Badola

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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