Riding high on the success of Khuda Haafiz, Vidyut Jammwal took a memorable road trip in the UK recently. The star of the commando films gets candid about his first OTT release, travels in Uzbekistan, fitness workouts rooted in kalaripayattu, and his firm belief that action heroes of today need to bring something new to the table. By Sumeet Keswani
Your pictures [location: Cotswolds, UK] look lovely. Tell us about your UK trip.
I was on a vacation to the UK, and I did a road trip from London to Yorkshire. It took me seven hours more than expected to finish this trip because I stopped at most of the pubs en route! I loved the scenic beauty of the countryside. It was great to be under a clear blue sky and around greenery.
Congratulations on the success of Khuda Haafiz! How different was it to have a film release online?
It was a completely different experience. The best part of releasing a movie in a theatre is going for promotions. You end up meeting a lot of people and your fans; I missed that part a lot. But releasing this film online has been a great experience because we have set a benchmark for the upcoming movies—the movie has been widely watched across the country, even in smaller towns.
You’ve shot scenes for the movie in some stunning locations, including Uzbekistan. Which sites did you discover there?
Uzbekistan is beautiful! I did a road trip from Tashkent to Khiva, which featured Samarkand en route. It was a lovely experience. I went back in time—I could imagine the fully functional Silk Route and how dangerous and arduous the journey must have been [for merchants of the time].
What goes into making the ideal action star in Bollywood today?
Somebody who has a very different skill set or comes with something new will work in the action genre of Bollywood. Because the audience has been consuming international action as well as national action, the benchmarks are really high.
How and when did you learn the martial art of kalaripayattu? In what ways is it different from other martial art forms?
I started very young. Kalaripayattu is the oldest martial art in the world, and it is the sum total of all the other martial arts, hence the uniqueness. Some [martial arts] deal with only weapons, some deal with flexibility, some need acrobatic skills, but a true kalari practitioner
is a master of all these.
In terms of workout and diet, what has been your daily routine?
I didn’t focus on diet so much, but the workouts were amazing. I worked on all the systems of the body—from the skeletal system to the muscular system, the respiratory system, the digestive system, and the lymphatic system. Kalari talks about seven basic systems of the body and says that if you’re in sync with them, you can be the perfect human being. I focussed on that by training in different modes.
What is on your bucket list?
My bucket list is to travel around the whole world.
Your dream cinema project?
I’m enjoying my collaborations with the people I’m working with. It’s the kind of cinema I’ve always wanted to do.