Professionally, while some great actors become complacent with success, Purab, according to many directors, is still hungry, still 'excited to do something good' and even if Turning 30 is more about Gul Panag, he wants to prove that a supporting role is worth supporting a film, in more ways than just one. In person, Purab is warm and disarming. He's firm in his refusal to discuss what he doesn't want to and yet he's generous elsewhere.
He is still delighting to talk about his critically acclaimed Onir's I Am and expresses genuine solace in his audiences preferring more commercial cinema. That's what defines Kohli: pure, poignant, personal, playful and just about perfect. Our correspondent presents to you a man who is talking and walking everything that has to do with the 30's, Purab Kohli.
I don't think I play a photographer who is obsessed clicking pictures of women turning thirty (laughs). Yes, I have taken pictures of Gul Panag, but that's about it. Turning 30 has a lot of the elements what a normal 'chic flick' would have. There's romance, drama, humour, etc. It is a journey of this girl, who is travelling from her 29th birthday to her 30th birthday and talks about her inner turmoil. It is something that you must've gone through or I must've gone through. Actually, I did start questioning myself when I was in my late twenties.
Alankrita 'turning' writer and director
The character I play of Jay isn't the pivotal role of Turning 30. It's Gul Panag all the way. I think Alankrita, as a director has drawn so many things from her own personal experiences that it is commendable. The director has travelled the journey as she was making the film. She had those questions coming up while she was making the film too. I think Alankrita has made the film from her heart. In all honesty, Alankrita was the reason I wanted to be a part of this film. The first time she came up to me with the script, I was hesitant. But as we started talking, she won my interest in the film.
Prakash Jha 'turning' versatile and young
Prakash Jha is a versatile man and thinks young. But more than that, it shows his ability to trust someone with the genre of film that he is not comfortable with. He trusts Alankrita and more than that, he trusted her writing. That's the brilliance of a producer. Prakash Jha was the first person who called me saying, 'The film is really good.'
Turning 30 Audiences 'turning' diverse and difficult
Our audiences have genres too. The largest category of the audiences is the ones who watch cinema that is commercial and that's what we churn most of. Media and the people from the industry should have the responsibility to educate and upgrade audiences thought. As an audience your growth is stopped due to watching the same kind of cinema and that's when you feel that other films of diverse genres aren't working. Every filmmaker needs to upgrade the standard of their cinema because it puts the audience in the new kind of thinking process. Rock On's audience was different to those who will watch Turning 30.
Gul Panag 'turning' attractive and old
Gul Panag is a very attractive woman. She is turning 30 and she is getting old too (laughs). You can make out from the attention that she got in Delhi (laughs). She is a very established actress. Her claim to fame was her film Dor. She is also known for Manorama Six Feet Under. But whatever her commercial value, what works for me is my chemistry with my co-star. We are buddies and have had good times together. We complement each other on the sets and understand each other a lot. It's a nice space to have as an actor. I've also worked with her in Rajat Kapoor's A Rectangular Love Story. So it was just like coming out of a film and going in to another. It's another thing that Turning 30 is releasing before Rajat's film.
To hear Purab Kohli talk, however, you'd feel that he has got the wrong part. He is thirty plus and then he delivers, "Gul Panag is a very attractive woman. You can make out from the attention that she got in Delhi." Then he laughs and seriously talks about his attractive co-star. Two years ago, he was sporting one of the best beards in Rock On. It's almost 2011 and now the beard is no more. But what remains is his mad female following. Heartthrob is his middle name.