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His first brush with films was when he started assisting Rakyesh Mehra for the film Aks. Kunal Kapoor then made his acting debut with M.F.Hussain's Meenaxi. The film didn't really shake the Box Office but Kunal's performance got noticed. He then starred in Rakyesh Mehra's Rang De Basanti. The film became a super hit and a new star named Kunal Kapoor was born.
Kunal's upcoming film is Milan Luthria's Hattrick, a film with parallel stories, with a common theme of cricket running through the stories. In this interview to IndiaFM, Kunal talks about his films and his plans for the future
How different is your role in Hattrick from what you've done before?
Hattrick the premise is very different because it's a very simple slice of life story. There is no gravity to the character; the character that I play is not intense. The characters that I played earlier were characters that were ahead of the years in terms of maturity. Whether it was Aslam from Rang De Basanti or whether it was Kameshwar from Meenaxi.
In this film, I get a chance to play a character that's little below his years because he is come from a background which is very comfortable. He never has to face responsibility in life and when he has to face responsibility he runs away from it.
So there is a certain immaturity to the guy which wasn't there in Rang De Basanti or Meenaxi.
It seems to be unlike Kunal Kapoor
Honestly there is nothing that is unlike Kunal Kapoor. I'm willing to do anything that I enjoy doing. So, there is nothing that I look at and say unlike me. Because there is nothing that I believe that an actor shouldn't do. I have become an actor and I should do everything.
The film also stars many senior actors like Paresh Rawal, Nana Patekar and Danny
Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to interact with them too much because these are different stories which are linked by cricket. So, there wasn't much opportunity to interact with them. But we did a music video together and that was lots of fun. It's actually incredible to see the amount of enthusiasm they bring into their work 30 years down the line as well.
And how efficient was Milan Luthria at handling the cast and the parallel stories?
Milan is very good director, the greatest thing about Milan is that when you are working with him you don't feel like you are working and I think that is the sign of a really good director because even when you are working with him it is so comfortable and he is completely relaxed. You don't feel like you are at a shoot, you feel like you are here for some picnic or something, you are here for a rehearsal. It's that light hearted and that much fun. So, he is superb, he is absolutely brilliant to work with.
Your views on the music of the film
The music is shockingly good. I say shockingly good because when I heard the script of the film I didn't expect to have this sort of music. It's a film where the premise like I said is cricket.
So, you don't expect to have chart bursting music and I believe that most of the songs in the film are chart bursting because they are really good songs. In fact, my personal favorites keep changing and I am rather confused about which my personal favorite is right now because every song really has a hook to it and it hooks you on.
Who are you betting on this world cup?
Favorites are obviously India. Apart from India is India. I don't want anybody else to be even a remotely favorite. I just want India to win the World Cup.
Your favourite player....
Ganguly. I'm really looking forward to watch Ganguly.
If your real life wife is crazy about Dhoni....
If that happens then I will just start playing cricket and I will make sure that I am a better wicket keeper then Dhoni.
Are you a sports buff?
Yeah I was, growing up I was a sports buff. I played a lot of cricket and many other sports for school. Unfortunately, of late I haven't had the time to do that because the priorities have changed. So, I haven't really got a chance but yeah growing up I was.
Experience of working with Rimi Sen
It was very interesting. Rimi is a very interesting person to work with. She is very forthright, she is very frank, she is not diplomatic at all. So it takes you a couple of days to get used to her forthrightness. But once you get used to that then you start really liking her because as I said there is very few people that you come across in your life that are not diplomatic.
So me and Rimi had a really good equation and I think that's half the battle won is when you are comfortable with your co-stars because that what is showing on screen. You know if there is any sort of uncomfortability, it shows on screen. So I think we have done a fairly good job. We have good chemistry going and I hope that shows on screen.
Aaja Nachle with Madhuri for Yashraj?
How did that happen?
I got a call from Aditya Chopra and he wanted to meet me. It fell into place rather easily, actually.
What's your role in the film?
I can't talk about it right now because it's too early. The film is going to release towards the end of the year and its too early to talk about it right now.
Are your unconventional roles a deterrent?
No. I am honestly not aiming for any certain sort of role; I want to do every sort of role. I want to take up every sort of opportunity that I get because I'm here to be an actor and I want to try everything that I can try. What happens is that yes, you do get limited because people look at you a certain way and my attempt is going to be not to get slotted and try doing as many different things as I can because that's what I enjoy as an actor.
Will you call yourself a perfectionist?
I don't know if perfectionist is a very strong term because I don't think I'm perfectionist, I'm just beginning to act. I am just learning and yeah I don't want to take any wrong decisions. I want to be sort of sensible about what I do.
But most importantly, I want to be convinced about what I do. The reason I do less work is not because I want to strategize what I'm doing. I do less work because I don't get the sort of work that really excites me and if I get work that really excites me then I'll do 10 films a year.
Aamir and Hrithik do one film at a time...
I think that's a formula that most actors now in the industry have started following. I mean everybody in the industry does lesser work and everybody does one film at a time because that is the way to do work I believe. When you do one film at a time you can completely concentrate on your character, you repeatedly go to the same sets so you automatically start becoming that character and understanding your space. So, I think that is very important and given a chance that's the only way I would like to do my work.
How was the experience of working with actors like Aamir Khan and Naseeruddin Shah?
What I have learned from both of them is hard work. I have worked with Aamir. I was also fortunate enough to work with Naseer bhai. I've seen that despite the success that they have, they are extremely grounded and they are extremely hardworking.
So, I think it's very important to realize that acting is not about just going to the sets and starting off. There is also a lot of hard work that goes into it and it's important to put that hard work like you would put into any other discipline.
You have got good endorsements in spite of doing few films....
I just got lucky. I'm just a very lucky guy. I can't pinpoint any reason for my success and I don't think you can pinpoint the reason for anybody's success. I think you are either lucky or not lucky, right now I'm lucky maybe tomorrow I might not be so lucky. Hence, right now I'm lucky and I'm enjoying it.
Was your voice dubbed in Thums Up Ad?
It was dubbed as I was out of town and they had to release the ad during the certain phase. The mini World Cup was starting and they had to break the campaign. So, unfortunately I couldn't dub. But yeah the next few commercials you will definitely hear my voice.
How do you look back at Rang De Basanti?
Well it's just - I look that very fondly of course because I don't even have to say it. It's always going to be something that is very-very special to me, not only because it got all the critical and commercial success but also because it was an incredible film to work on. We all got along really well, we had lots of fun. In fact, when the film was getting over, we were all really depressed we wanted to shoot again. I'll always look back at it as one of the most beautiful thing that has happened in my life because of the fun that we had during the shooting of the film.
How do you react to link ups?
I don't react to them. That's the best way to react to them. As far as my personal life goes there are some areas that I don't wish to talk about at all because there are two ways of dealing with the things. One is that you give them words and second is that you give them silence and as far as my private life goes I just prefer silence.
Finally why should people watch Hattrick?
I think the script is the USP of this film and for the audience the USP is the newness of the film. The premise is new, the way the story unfolds is new and the whole link between the cricket that we are so passionate about and life that Milan has managed to create I think that is very interesting.