Ammy Virk marked his Punjabi acting debut last year with the successful film Angrej. This year, Virk did Ardaas and Bambukat, both of which were hugely successful at the box office. Hoping for a hat-trick, the actor is ready with his third release of the year, Nikka Zaildar. Virk spoke to Rohini Nag Madnani about his journey and career plans
What prompted you to become an actor?
I believe it was fluke as I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time. I started my career as a singer and the success rate of a singer-turned-actor is almost 100 per cent in our Punjabi film industry. Whereas people spend years trying to get an ounce of fame, it all happened in the blink of an eye for me. I am also fortunate to have forged successful relationships in the industry.
I wanted to be a singer and had no idea how to go about it. I invested Rs 10,000 and made a small video of a song that I had composed, sung and featured in. I posted it on YouTube and, by the grace of God, my video garnered a lot of appreciation. Soon, a big record label approached me and there was no looking back.
My first film was Angrej, where I was the second lead and the main actor was Amrinder Singh. Despite having a secondary role, I was appreciated for my work and was approached by Gippy Grewal for his directorial debut film, Ardaas. Angrej was a hit and so was Ardaas. However, in both the films, I was not the main lead but part of an ensemble cast.
Then came Bambukat, which was my first solo film and released in the last week of July. The film had one of the biggest openings in recent times and the numbers kept growing with each passing day. I have been very lucky as I have received opportunities one after the other, and every film I have been a part of has garnered great box-office numbers. I feel nothing but gratitude for Amrinder Gill and Gippy Grewal, who being such big stars still promote newer talent.
As you said, many top Punjabi actors started their careers as singers. Was it a conscious move to turn to films?
The Punjabi audience always forges a connection with their artistes, whether singers or actors. As singers, we have our own fan base, which helps bring the audience to cinemas. A connection with the audience once made lasts a lifetime and it is a natural progression for an artiste to take a step forward. In Hollywood too, many actors are singers and singers are actors. At the end of the day, they are artistes. It’s neither a deliberate choice nor a planned move; only an intuitive, natural step forward.
What is the film Nikka Zaildar about?
The first look and trailer of the film have received a lot of appreciation. Not to sound cocky, but I am expecting the film to do better than Bambukat and hit a hat-trick with the film as far as superlative numbers go. The film is a family entertainer and caters to the family audience as well as the youth.
Nikka Zaildar follows the protagonist, the lead character, Nikka, played by me. In Punjabi, ‘nikka’ means ‘small’ or ‘young’. Nikka is from a Zaildar family. ‘Zaildar’ loosely translates to a ‘regional head’ of sorts in English. Nikka has a strict grandmother, who is also the head of the family. When Nikka falls in love, confusion arises and that’s what the film is about.
I believe a film works only if it can establish a connection with the audience and that is possible only if
the characters are well-rounded. Hence, my character in the film is not only lovable but also someone we have all met.
Which director is on the top of your wish list?
I want to work with Anurag Singh. I feel he is one of the few directors in the Punjabi industry, who understands filmmaking and the changing trends, and the importance of weaving a story keeping in mind our evolving audience. I believe he is one of the most talented filmmakers today.
What about the Hindi film industry?
I am too new in the Punjabi film industry; Hindi films are a far cry as of now. I want to establish a firm footing in the Punjabi industry. I have been lucky to experience success early on but there is a lot more to achieve in Punjabi films. I admit that Hindi films are on my agenda and I would do one if I got the chance but, right now, my focus is the Punjabi film industry.