Vijay Varma: A Decade Of Formidable Talent – From ‘Pink’ To ‘Jaane Jaan’

If we observe Vijay Varma’s filmography, we predominantly notice two types of roles – negative/grey roles and cop characters.

Vijay Varma started his acting career in 2008 with a short film titled Shor. But his big screen debut started with Chittagong in 2012. It was followed by late Satish Kaushik’s Gang of Ghosts (2014) and Priyadarshan’s Rangrezz (2013).

However, none of these movies gave a significant push to his career until Pink (2016) came along. Since then, as the saying goes, there is no looking back for the Bollywood actor. Vijay Varma is an FTII student, and this clearly shows how the actor has adapted to different roles. If we observe his filmography, we notice that two types of roles majorly stand out – negative/grey characters and cop roles. Let’s check them out here:

Ankit Malhotra

Pink was a breakthrough film for Vijay Varma where he played a deeply misogynistic person -Ankit Malhotra. He was the one who eggs on Rajveer Singh (Angad Bedi) to take revenge on Taapsee Pannu’s character, Minal. Ankit Malhotra just doesn’t stop there,  he also molests her in a moving jeep and throws her on the road. He really looks menacing in that scene. We hate him as much as Angad Bedi.

Moen

Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy (2019) saw Vijay Varma as a neighbourhood crook Moen who was also a friend of Ranveer Singh’s Murad. He was not a psycho but had his own grey shades. Throughout the film, viewers couldn’t make out if he was good or bad. The Bollywood actor owned the part with a brilliant performance.

Sasya

In Imtiaz Ali’s web series She (2020), Vijay Varma played a drug peddler named Sasya. In spite of not having a lot of screen time, he owned every frame that he was in. What also added to the performance was how he spoke Hyderabadi Deccani – a language spoken in Hyderabad where he grew up. Vijay also got the body language of the drug peddler spot-on.

Hamza

In Darlings (2022), Vijay Varma played an alcoholic, abusive husband named Hamza to Alia Bhatt’s Badru. He was someone who was extremely cruel and at the same time, lovey-dovey depending on the situation. Vijay looked like a truly scary psychopath. The actor received a lot of positive hate for his portrayal of Hamza. By Vijay’s own admission, it was not an easy task to be an abusive husband to the “heartthrob of the nation.” The Bollywood actor also said that he was very scared of unintentionally hurting Alia in the scenes involving physical abuse. Those scenes were so real that every time he appeared on the screen, we were as terrified as Alia. Coincidentally, their first feature films (Chittagong and Student of the Year) were released in the same month (October) in 2012.

Anand Swarnakar

Initially, the viewers have a positive impression of Vijay’s character Anand Swarnakar in Dahaad (2023). Apart from being an excellent Hindi professor, Anand also runs a mobile library for the underprivileged. But soon, this bubble breaks as the real face of Anand is revealed. Vijay Varma was absolutely terrific – both as a middle-class married man struggling to make ends meet and as a serial killer who has severe unresolved issues with his father.

Adi

Monsoon Shootout is an early film by Vijay Varma shot in 2013. It had its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, but theatrically, it was released four years later in 2017. In the movie, Vijay Varma played a cop who was deeply influenced by his father’s principles. His father told him that all life’s choices were not black and white, and there was a middle path too. In spite of sharing screen space with a heavyweight like Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vijay Varma more than held his own. He did a swell job of showcasing the different nuances of his character.

Ravi Shankar Tripathi

In the web series Kaalkoot (2023), Vijay Varma’s Ravi Shankar Tripathi was vastly different from the mainstream cops that the audiences are used to. For example, Dabbang (2010) and Singham (2011). He was a soft-spoken cop who considered himself a misfit in the police department. There was a constant desire in him to resign. But as the show progressed, his character underwent a transformation. This show had come right after Dahaad where he played a serial killer. He made the audience forget that this was the same man who appeared as a serial killer.

Karan Anand

In Sujoy Ghosh’s Jaane Jaan (2023), an OTT film, Vijay Varma appeared as a charming cop. It was the closest he came to doing romance. The scenes where he flirts with Kareena Kapoor’s Maya D’Souza were so adorable to watch. He gave the film some much-needed lighter moments in an otherwise tense atmosphere.

Vijay Varma is now 37. He has already done 24 films, including web series. Here’s hoping that our filmmakers will tap his potential – much more in future – which goes beyond the above-mentioned characters!

Published in SouthFirst on 15.10.2023. Click on the below link for https://thesouthfirst.com/entertainment/vijay-varma-a-decade-of-formidable-talent-from-pink-to-jaane-jaan/

Jaane Jaan: Another Compelling Thriller From Sujoy Ghosh

Jaane Jaan (Hindi)                 

Starcast: Kareena Kapoor, Jaideep Ahlawat, Vijay Varma, Saurabh Sachdeva and others

Director and writer: Sujoy Ghosh

Additional writer and dialogues: Raj Vasant

Based on: The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino

Producers: Ekta Kapoor, Shobha Kapoor, Akshai Puri and others

Production Companies: Balaji Motion Pictures 12th Street Entertainment etc.

Streaming site: Netflix

Genre: Mystery/drama

Running time: 2 hours and 19 minutes

For those who are not aware Sujoy Ghosh’s  Jaane Jaan is based on the famous Japanese novel ‘The Devotion of Suspect X’ by Keigo Higashino. This novel has seen many adaptations. In fact the Drishyam films are supposed to be inspired from this novel.

Jaane Jaan has been an eagerly awaited film for two reasons. One is its director Sujoy Ghosh who has established his credentials as a thriller specialist with Kahaani and Badla. Two is the diverse star cast featuring Kareena Kapoor Khan, Jaideep Ahlawat and Vijay Varma. Jaane Jaan is not in the same league as Kahaani but there is a lot to like here too.

Jaane Jaan primarily revolves around three characters. The setting of this film is a misty hill station called Kalimpong in West Bengal. Maya D’ Souza (Kareena Kapoor) is a single mother who works at the local café. Naren Vyas (Jaideep Ahlawat) is a mathematics teacher at a local school. Naren is also Maya’s neighbour. He is socially awkward but is besotted with Maya. Maya comes with a dark past which is connected to her ex husband Ajit Mhatre (Saurabh Sachdeva). Her new life is shaken up by his re entry but in an accidental scuffle husband dies. She buries him with the help of her neighbour.

Vijay Varma is a police Inspector who is assigned the task of finding Ajit Mhatre. For a change his character Karan Anand is not a deranged psycho (like in Darlings, Dahaad and Pink). What follows is a survival thriller of a determined single mother in the style of Drishyam films. In this case she also has the help of her besotted neighbour .

First and foremost Jaane Jaan is not about who the culprit is. So it is not a story of whodunit in the classical sense. It is more about how the culprit evades the authorities. Sujoy Ghosh takes his own sweet time to establish the daily routine of Maya and how Naren secretly loves her. For some the slow pace might be a hindrance but these portions are necessary in the overall scheme of things.

A big plus for Jaane Jaan is the technical department headed by Avik Mukhopadhyay. He captures the different colour pallets brilliantly through his lens. His cinematography is such that the hill station becomes a character in itself.

The background music composed by the band of Shor Police is in complete sync with the mood of the film. There is no scope for songs in a film like this but the title number pictured on Kareena Kapoor makes for a good watch and listen.

Kareena Kapoor Khan successfully takes off from where she left in Laal Singh Chaddha.  Her Maya D’ Souza is a mixture of steely resilience, vulnerability and charm among other things. Kareena delivers a knock out in her debut digital project.

The way Jaideep Ahlawat who played Naren is smitten by Maya brings a smile to the viewer’s face. His love for Maya and the extent to which he helps her makes you wish that Maya had ended up with him. He was terrific in bringing out the various nuances of his character.

Vijay Varma for a change is a charming cop and the actor plays it with the required coolness. It is refreshing to see Vijay in this avatar. The scenes between Vijay and Kareena are good to watch. During the investigation Karan also falls in love with Maya and the scenes where he flirts with her are adorable. Saurabh Sachdeva is pitch perfect as the abusive husband in his brief screen time.

Jaane Jaan does suffer from editing issues. The film could have been cut short by fifteen minutes. The climax has the typical shock value of a Sujoy Ghosh thriller although it might not be everyone’s cup of tea.