Brothers Vicky and Sunny Kaushal started their Bollywood journey at the same time, as assistant directors on films. Vicky left his engineering degree to pursue a career in films, Sunny dropped out of his chartered accountant course to do the same.
Vicky worked as an assistant director to Anurag Kashyap in Gangs of Wasseypur and did bit roles in other films before landing his first leading role in Masaan (2015). His brother assisted on films like My Friend Pinto and Gunday, before making his acting debut with Sunshine Music Tours and Travels in 2016.
The similarities in their journeys ends there. While the critically acclaimed Masaan turned out to be the perfect launchpad for Vicky, Sunny wasn't so lucky. His first film bombed, and he tasted success only with Gold (2018), playing a supporting role in the sports drama.
The actor did not have to wait for a lead role for very long. His latest release Bhangra Paa Le has him play a starring role opposite Rukshar Dhillon, who is making her Hindi film debut with the film. Sunny has also bagged a major role in Kabir Khan's upcoming web series, The Forgotten Army.
Sunny insists being the son of action director Sham Kaushal did not give him or his brother any perks. Their father told them that he might be a part of the industry, but he has no power to help them.
"Vicky and I started our journey together actually, assisting on films. So dad told us two things. He said, 'Listen, don't be in the bubble that your father is in the industry so he's going to help you. I am a small technician. I can't do anything, you have to prove your own worth.'
"Secondly, he said, 'Now, once you decide to get into it, it's a vast ocean. Nobody will hold your hand and make you swim. You either drown, or you swim. And there's no shore, you just keep swimming. Just be aware that you have to prove your own worth and it might take a lot of time."
Sunny says that growing up, both Vicky and he had a lot of creative energy that they used to channelize in different fields. "Vicky and I have been stage performers since we were kids. We were naturally inclined towards the performing arts, being in front of the camera or on stage rather than behind. Everything stopped when I was doing my CA, and I realized this is not what I want to do. This is not the energy that I'm born with. So I decided to leave CA and told my dad I want to do something in the industry because that's what I have grown up seeing. When I assisted on a film, that's when I decided that I want to be an actor."
Vicky has often talked about his love for dancing. Sunny too has dancing feet, and he fit right into the role of a Bhangra performer in his latest film, which shows him as the lead dancer of a troupe in a college in Amritsar aiming to compete at a global dance competition.
“I'm a self-taught Bhangra dancer, like most Punjabis. I used to watch a lot of Bhangra videos and try and learn because I had this inclination since I was a kid. The difficult part was to imbibe the grace of a Bhangra dancer. They dance with certain pride and dignity, with head held high. I am not very good with western dance forms, so the fusion of Bhangra with hip hop and floor work was also difficult for me,” says Sunny.
The struggle is on for Sunny to find a major footing in Bollywood. Ask the young actor how much is riding on Bhangra Paa Le, which released on January 3, and he says, "A lot is riding on it because after Gold people expect a lot of things out of me. Even I want to see what I've done in the film and how it will fare.”
"You can never know the fate of a film, you can just make it with all your heart. Whatever the outcome is, I will keep working hard. I really do not dwell on the whole thing of how much my career is dependent on a film. If it does really well, it will be great for me. If it doesn't, even then it's fine. I can still start from scratch," he added.
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