Actor Vikas Kumar, who runs a dialect coaching firm called “Strictly Speaking”, grabs the eyeballs in Aarya. In the recently released web series Aarya, the character of ACP Khan, played by him, seized a lot of appreciation. Khan plays a cop who is driving the investigation, looking for a pen drive that will expose the drug traders. Vikas Kumar has played a police officer a number of times in his career.
The actor, who was seen in Ajji as corrupt, played an officer of the law in Yash Raj Films’ television series Powder and Khotey Sikkey in 2010 and 2011, respectively. He was also a part of the long-running C.I.D. from 2012 to 2013 as senior inspector Rajat. The talented artiste has also been working behind the scenes as a dialogue coach since 2009 on films like Udaan, Ishqiya, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Aurangzeb.
Vikas Kumar spoke with Afternoon Voice after the successful release of web series Aarya. During the interactions, he told us how he enjoyed his role as an actor and a dialogue coach, and also spoke about the difficulty in playing gay character in Aarya. The character of ACP Khan evolves beautifully throughout the series. From the first episode itself, he is portrayed as the antagonist, but by the end of the series, he turns out to be the hero.
Share your journey as a dialogue coach
Journey as Dialogue coaching going well. I tried to give as much time as I can give towards this career of mine, apart from that I have some challenging roles to be played in various films and series. A lot of my friends are like why don’t you fully focus on this and take it ahead. But I came here to act. I am passionate about both, so I don’t want to choose one. Whenever time allows me, I am always available as a dialogue coach. It helps my kitchen running and helps me choose my acting project. I have found a good balance.
What is your experience of training the biggest names in the industry?
I am fortunate and so far, my experience is always memorable. I have managed to keep a good rapport with all where it has been a good exchange of thoughts. Whoever I have worked with, from Naseer Saab to Vidya Balan to Arshad Warsi to Aditya Roy Kapur to Kalki, they have taken all the inputs from me, they have shown faith in me. Very often a dialogue coach doubles up as acting coach. As an actor you communicate and most of it is through dialogues. So, at times they end up saying how you say it. It is just a 10-day workshop but they need to have faith in you.
Tell us something about your role in ‘Ajji’
In ‘Ajji’, I played a cop. I have done a few cop roles earlier, but for a change I am playing a corrupt cop in this one. Not that his corruption can be justified but he is fighting his own battle. He is trying to survive in a majoritarian surrounding. What he is doing in terms of being corrupt, he is doing because he literally does not have a choice. He has to cater to the powers that be, basically the local politician and his goon son. What he does is that he tries to manipulate the situation so that he can survive. And maybe make a little buck here and there.
How is the cop in Aarya different from other roles?
In Aarya I played no-nonsense cop. I liked the way the character was written. Although, ACP Khan is gay, but the series neither sensationalize the fact nor does it portray it as a big revelation. It has just one normal scene where my partner comes to me with a tiffin and asks why I was so stressed at work. This is how we normalize things for the LGBT community. Someone’s sexuality cannot be his or her identity. Here, Khan’s identity is not ‘gay’ but a ‘cop’.
What is your struggle in the film industry as an outsider?
Every outsider has to go through the struggling phase. But I don’t consider it as ‘struggle’. Rejection and failures are a process of becoming successful. The more you fail, the more you should be dedicated to work hard and win.
What is your advice to aspirants of film acting?
Aspirants should first complete their education, get a degree, or gain some job experience and then plan to come to this industry. Proper planning, patience and hard work are the keys to success.