I don’t know how far behind can you look when you think about Vikrant Massey, but I watched a lot of TV, and I can go right back to 2007, his second stint, in this Disney show called Dhoom Machao Dhoom, where he played a shy boy, Aamir. Also, not to sound uncool, but I also remember him in Balika Vadhu, as this progressive village lad who falls in love with and marries a pregnant child widow, and that was even more endearing than his previous cute boy act.

Cut to watching him as fuckboy Pradeep in Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare, where you just want to strangle him with your bare hands for cheating the innocent, sweet Kitty (Bhumi Pednekar), giving her false hopes of love just to get into her pants. The common element between all the characters Massey plays, is that of conviction. If you go through Massey’s filmography, you notice that little by little, he has really stepped on every rung of the ladder to climb his way to the top. He did the small roles, he did the sidey roles, and within a couple of years of being one of many TV faces, Massey landed Lootera as Ranveer Singh’s aide and accomplice, only to then do Dil Dhadakne Do, where yet again, in a sea of talented actors including Anil Kapoor and Shefali Shah, Massey made his presence felt in the storyline. But one performance that, in my opinion, has not been celebrated enough, is his Shutu in A Death In The Gunj.

A shy university student blatantly looked down upon by his ‘cool’ cousins, this was Massey’s first of many complex, nuanced characters that established his acting credentials like no other. You feel for the socially awkward Shutu, as he does whatever someone asks to fit in, including giving in to a drunk Kalki’s advances, and then being rejected by her. The Konkona Sensharma directorial was his first lead role in a film, and there’s been no looking back.

In what is one of the cutest anecdotes about starting off, Massey revealed how he was yelled at so hard by the director that he cried. In an interview with Cosmopolitan India last year, Massey said, “I was shooting for the show, Kahan Hoon Main. And just 20 minutes into the shoot, my director yelled at me so hard on the mic, in front of everyone. No one had ever spoken to me like that before.

I felt so humiliated. I started crying and wanted to quit there and then. But the supervising producer, who is now a really close friend, was really supportive. She took me to a corner, and said, ‘Welcome to this world’. She spoke to me kindly, at length, and made me go back to the set. And I have never looked back since,” he added.

He kickstarted 2020 with Chhapaak, playing the sensible Amol to Deepika’s Malti. While the audience was divided on how much they liked the film, Massey’s performance was unanimously appreciated, and yet again, he fit perfectly into the niche that was carved for him, demanding just the right amount of attention. Then came Cargo. While he called drama and alternate cinema his “diet” in a Filmfare interview, Massey did his first proper commercial film with Yami Gautam recently — Ginny Weds Sunny. It’s unlike anything he has done before, and you see him dancing, wooing the girl, and doing all the quintessential Bollywood actor stuff. In the same interview, when he was asked why he chose a masala entertainer at a time when everyone is making a shift to content-driven cinema, he said, “It was a conscious decision to try this and tick that box. I also wanted to experiment, and it felt like the right time. There is now a sense of realism in everything we do and I’ve always said, cinema and society are interrelated and intertwined. So it’s a great time for creative people to go out and tell stories.”

2020 was a busy year for Massey, sensitive as ever when he speaks about it, though, taking no pride in having opportunities at a time when the world had to take a backseat. In an interview to Hindustan Times, Massey says he hopes that people will enjoy watching these films as much as he did making them. “People are kind, really supportive. This year has been incredible, professionally, in spite of the fact that much was not done on the field in terms of shooting. But four releases, brand associations, and to be accepted by the audience in a more wholesome way than last year… it’s only getting better and I can’t complain,” he said, reflecting the very essence of his personality, his charm that has his audience hooked.

In fact, one of his old projects is finally seeing the light of the day — Switchh — a film that was made in 2014, but will stream on Eros Now from March 21. The film is an action-thriller that stars Vikrant Massey, Naren Kumar, Madhu Sneha, Tanvi Vyas, Veer Aryan, and Niten Mirani. It feels like Massey has moved way past 2014, but any excuse to see him on screen, right? Massey’s upcoming projects include Devanshu Singh’s 14 Phere with Kriti Kharbanda, Vinil Mathew’s Haseen Dillruba with Taapsee Pannu, Santosh Sivan’s Mumbaikar, and a film with Shanker Raman. Talking about it in a TOI interview, Massey seemed visibly excited with his 2021 line up, and said, “I am back to work in full swing, and 2021 looks quite jam-packed.” Just last month, Massey started shooting for Love Hostel, also starring Sanya Malhotra and Bobby Deol, and is about two star-crossed lovers being hunted by a ruthless mercenary. Netizens are loving Massey sporting a buzz cut in the pictures.

But he’s definitely not all work and no play. In fact, he’s waiting to marry his fiancée, Sheetal Thakur. “Come on, shaadi ke liye ek hafta toh nikaal hi sakta hoon, yaar (I can certainly take out a week for my wedding) in 2021. Hopefully, God willingly, 2021 is the year I am getting married,” he said in the same interview. In the HT conversation, he added that unfortunately, Covid has really reshuffled their plans. “2020 was a year which I had planned revolving around marriage. Now, work takes precedence as we haven’t shot in the last seven-eight months. Wedding will be a small affair in Himachal, mine and Sheetal’s native place.” Seriously, his calendar is scary. Massey is set to have an even bigger 2021, and we’re here to root for it.

One of the most notable things about an actor like Vikrant Massey is his choices — of films, of characters, of being millennially relevant in everything he does. He seems to be all set to do bigger work, and it looks like he started making futuristic choices right at the beginning of his film journey, which, in turn, has made him one of the most sought after actors of the industry, no matter the platform. One of the most notable things about an actor like Vikrant Massey is his choices — of films, of characters, and of being millennially relevant in everything he does. He seems to be all set to do bigger work, and it looks like he started making futuristic choices right at the beginning of his film journey, which, in turn, has made him one of the most sought after actors of the industry, no matter the platform.