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Vicky Kaushal is prepared for any scrutiny on the subject of Takht

Takht, directed by Karan Johar, is a historical drama set in Mughal times. Vicky Kaushal will be playing the role of Aurangzeb.

Suyog Zore

With just a handful of films under his belt, Vicky Kaushal has cemented his place as one of Hindi cinema's rising stars.

Known for trying his hand at films from different genres, the actor has been part of projects that have dealt with some serious, even controversial, subjects. But so far he has managed to stay away from controversy.

But Karan Johar's magnum opus Takht (2021), in which Kaushal is set to play the Mughal prince Muhammad, later to be the emperor Aurangzeb, is already becoming a talking point because of its subject: the battle between Dara Shukoh and his younger brother for the crown of India.

The historical drama has been in the news since it was announced, with questions about how a historical tale will be presented. Both the right and the left are keen to see how the film turns out. The leftists want the film to refrain from the growing trend of Islamophobia in Hindi cinema; the rightists want the makers to ensure there is not a shadow of positivity about Aurangzeb. It will be interesting to see how the makers pull off this delicate balancing act.

Asked about this conflict at a recent interaction with the media, Vicky Kaushal said the team of Takht is prepared for any kind of scrutiny regarding the subject and especially his character.

"I'm prepared," he said. "One has to remember that I have signed up for that script. So no matter what the scrutiny, I can't go away from it. If I have signed up for it, I have to be true to that script. My loyalties are to that script. Of course, we are being as sensitive and honest as possible to what was actually a part of our history."

Kaushal said he had always wanted to be part of a historical drama and "Takht is as big as it can get. There is a great ensemble cast and Karan is directing this magnum opus."

The actor agreed that there is "a little pressure" that the narrative should be true to history. "And for us actors also the pressure is the same. But as actors, we have to follow the vision of the director and what part of history he wants to narrate. At the end of the day, the honesty of the emotion is the key. Whether I'm doing Prithvi in Bhoot: The Haunted Ship or Aurangzeb in Takht the emotion has to be honest."

Kaushal is currently busy with the promotions for Bhoot: The Haunted Ship, which is slated for release on 21 February. This is his first horror film.

The next couple of years will be busy ones for Kaushal, who is working in two back-to-back biopics, Sardar Udham Singh (2020), based on the life of the freedom fighter, and Sam (2021), a movie on Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw.