Vikrant Massey began his career in television and went on to make a mark in films, more recently in a variety of web series; from Made in Heaven, Mirzapur, Criminal Justice to now Broken But Beautiful, Vikrant has been catering to a variety of genres and tastes.

From playing a friend to the lead actor to playing the hero, the 32-year-old has redefined the representation of macho-heroism on-screen. A relatable artist, as his fans say, spoke to Thestatesman.com about the second season of ALT Balaji’s Broken But Beautiful, his acting process among other things. Excerpts:

How different was the experience of working on Broken But Beautiful from the other web shows that you have done?

It completely falls in a different genre. I haven’t done anything related to romance on the web besides Broken But Beautiful. It’s very different in terms of extracting things out of me. It’s probably done what a lot of other shows haven’t been able to do. It seems that romance is overall pretty easy, but trust me, it’s not.

You manage to bring a certain kind of subtle depth in a scene even where you are not playing the lead. How do you do that?

About how I do that, I don’t know. I think the key is to find relatable fragments from your character which resonate with you as a person and probably strike a balance eventually. And, obviously, as an artist you want to leave an everlasting impression on the audiences who actually shell out their time and money to see you. So, you want to give them something which they can keep.

Some actors have this relatability factor that becomes even more established with every performance they give. In a lot of cases, your relatability as a character, however grey, speaks a lot to the audiences and fans… where do you draw that from?

I think I love human beings, it might sound off. I have for quite some time now been intrigued by human nature as to how we think, why we think, how and what we feel… there is so much depth in that. There are days when I am totally enticed into it and I am still observing every single day, wanting to sort of giving my audiences what they feel and what they see. It’s a long and arduous journey. So far, it’s been kind, people have been kind.

The most important thing for me as an actor is to make sure that the people who are coming out there to see me, must take back something. It has to have a sense of archival value. The only way, I think, at this point in time that could happen… if there is a possibility of the audience seeing a bit of themselves in me or feeling what my character is feeling…Eventually, my inspiration is society, the world I live in. I want to replicate that world; the conflict, beautiful aspects’ of it, struggles, trials, and tribulations, hope; of all these that are universal concepts. I really want to reach out to my audiences through these things.

Incidentally or coincidentally, you’ve played roles of a kind that question masculinity as we have always seen on the big screen. Your performances have made this serious chink in the armour of macho-heroism as we know it; how has that been. Do you do it on purpose or does that come organically?

Honestly, it wasn’t planned. It began that way but later on, I realized that it is something that really needs to be spoken about. Be it  A Death in the Gunj or Made in Heaven, I find myself really blessed in a position wherein I can speak to people with regards to a possibility of an alternative narrative because masculinity in our patriarchal society has major misconceptions. It’s toxic.

As we are acknowledging things, we are encountering on the way of a new decade now. I think this is one of the very important discussions that we need to have because it’s got so many sub-branches, this toxic masculinity is not really affecting or helping us live in a better way.

We really need to sit back and analyze as to how we define masculinity today because I think the lines are blurring now.

No genre of work receives this kind of traction as much as acting on film screen does. Do you think actors per se and the film space are taken seriously way beyond the requirement? Is it a good thing?

I think it’s a grey area. We as a society and it’s not just today, tend to worship people. We are demigod worshippers. Be it politicians, cricketers, actors so it would be really unfair to say ‘why does an actor get the requisite attention or importance he/she is getting’. I think that applies to all people whose lives and professions are public. Yes, actors are taken seriously but it’s not something fairly new here.

With social media now, have not things changed…

Cinema is one of the most powerful mediums in the world, not just in our country. And, it’s not something that has just happened in the last 50 years or 100 years. I think it has happened before that as well. Cinema has played an important part in some of the revolutions, some of the most important transformations. A first-hand experience would be that of this TV show Balika Vadhu, which I was part of that spoke about girl child education and female infanticide. That show ran for 7 years and eventually landed up contributing or probably influencing laws within the Parliament for girl child education and female infanticide. So, here comes a point where it really needs to be taken seriously.

What headspace are you in currently?

I am in the best headspace currently. I am really grateful and thankful for the life I am leading right now. I couldn’t have asked for more. I have always said this thing for the last two years; I think I have got more than what I deserve. I really want to value it, respect and cherish it for as long as I can.