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My KANK role should've been negative

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By: Subhash K. Jha, IndiaFM

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Has the response to KANK turned out to be what you thought it would?
Far greater, in fact. The boxoffice figures are there to prove it. I've never been a part of such a success. I think the first week collection of KANK is larger than all my releases put together. This is a league I'm just not acquainted with. It's wonderful to be part of such a venture. But it's entirely Karan's baby.

Your smallish role has fetched you incredible praise.
First of all, I don't think I've a small role in KANK. I think I've a very important role to play in the film. Thank you, Karan!

Everyone wants to know how you know so much about marriages?
I've no knowledge of a marriage whatsoever. I just followed Karan's directions very obediently. The credit for whatever you consider to be my performance in KANK must go to Karan.

Tell me about the first-hand responses to your performance?
I don't know! I've been very busy working on Dhoom 2. I haven't had a chance to interact with people too much. But I'm always thrilled when my work gets noticed. But like I said I can't take any credit for it. I'm not trying to be modest. I'm not a modest person. I'm a realist. I know who's done what in KANK. The real hero of the film is Karan Johar.

Do you think the controversies are good for KANK?
What controversies? There's debate on KANK, not controversy. The good thing about debate is you get both negative and positive but always-healthy reaction to the film. Very few films get that. Whether you agree with KANK or not, it's taken Karan to a new level. I think he has unfairly been labeled 'a candyfloss maker'. The mistaken belief that he makes frivolous films has fallen to the ground. I think Karan is a very important director in the history of Indian cinema. KANK is a sensitive work.

Do you think Karan took a big risk in moving away from his comfort zone?
The best part is, Karan isn't judgemental, just observant on marriages and extra-marital affairs. He isn't telling people to leave their spouses. He just asks a harsh but real question - what if you meet your soul-mate after marriage? Shah Rukh and Rani are the protagonists. But Preity and I are never shown as negative characters. In fact I find the relationship between our characters quite fascinating.

What about your relationship with Rani?
I felt Karan should have given my character Rishi something negative to do. He loves his wife immensely. He's basically trying to be as perfect a husband and can be. And that's how the audience has perceived my character. Despite that, Rani's character moves away. So I felt Karan needed to give my character some dark areas. Whereas Shah Rukh's character does have reason to stray because his wife has no time for him, my character's wife has no such alibi. Why does Rishi-Maya's relationship break up?

Why?
That's exactly what I kept asking Karan. He told me, 'One could be in a seemingly perfect marriage. Still your spouse may not connect with you.' I thought that was a very intriguing thought, put forward beautifully in the film. We never thought everyone would unanimously love the film. We hoped they'd discuss it. And Karan has pulled it off .

Generally such discussions and debates are for art-house films?
For me such categorization makes no sense. To me a film is a film is a film....

Do you think an Indian wife would move off from a marriage to the ideal husband, the way Rani does?
Of course! Such things do happen.

Are extra-marital affairs an inevitable part of contemporary society?
No, they're neither inevitable nor justified. I'm totally against extra-marital affairs. I'd personally never have an affair after marriage. But I won't be judgemental about those who do.

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