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Karate kid: Kunal Kapoor

By: Upala KBR, Mid-Day
Thursday, May 11, 2006
After playing Aslam in Rang De Basanti, Kunal Kapoor is now on the lookout for meatier parts.

The actor keeps himself busy with his two pet passions - the Art of Living, and Goju-Ryu karate - a form of martial arts that he practices religiously, with the help of a trainer, thrice a week. Kunal talks about his fascination for the alternative, finding mental focus and keeping calm...

Were you always inclined toward spirituality?
Yes. I find alternative things very fascinating. I love reading books on philosophy and spirituality. I have been learning martial arts for a while now. The style I'm learning, is Goju-Ryu karate. I learn from my teacher, Adil, who comes home to teach me for an hour and 15 minutes, thrice a week.

Prior to this, I was learning Tai Chi. I also go to the gym regularly, but focus more on freehand exercises, than on weights. As a form, Tai Chi is more meditative. I have a childlike fantasy to be a Shaolin monk; I find them really fascinating.

What about the Art of Living?
I got into the Art of Living course about 10 years ago, but couldn't practice regularly. I lost touch as I was dabbling in a lot of other things.

I was introduced to it by a relative of mine, Sangeeta Jani. It was only in the last couple of years that I have taken it up again, and have been doing it regularly, since.

Tell us more about it.
Art of Living centres around a really powerful breathing technique, called the Sudarshan kriya. It has helped me tremendously, physically and mentally. It's given me a sense of calm and focus. Also, in today's hyper world, you tend to get disconnected from yourself.

Guruji's (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar) teachings have enriched me, and given me a new perspective toward life and myself. It consists of a basic and an advanced course; the latter includes keeping a maun vrat for four days.

Do you practice every day?
Yes, for half an hour.

Will you attend Guruji's birthday celebrations on May 13?
No, unfortunately not. I would have loved to, but I am working that day.

Why aren't we seeing you in more films?
I am just trying to stick to my track record of one film every two years. There are a couple of things that I am in the process of finalising. I am taking my time doing things, that's all. I am dying to start shooting again, though.

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