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Some of you still remember him as the charismatic Mazhar from Hip Hip Hurray. If you are not a 90s kid then, he's KD aka Killer Drummer from Rock On for you. Yes, we are talking about Purab Kohli! A former VJ, he hosted travel shows on the small screen and even put on his dance shoes for Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa Season 7.
Now he's back to charm us all as KD in Rock On 2, which is slated to hit the big screens tomorrow. In a freewheel chat, Purab speaks about his role, why he hasn't got any expectations from the film, fatherhood and much more.
Excerpts from the interview..
Q. Was it difficult for you to get back into your character of KD for Rock On 2 after eight years?
A. It was extremely difficult for me, being the kind of actor that I am. I like to bring a lot of myself into the part that I play on screen. So, what I was eight years back is something which I have left behind. I am a completely different person now. In fact I resisted it. I found it quite hard to get back into the zone. Shujaat wanted to retain a lot of things in KD that he was in the last film. So I was fighting my way out.
Q. Arjun said that his character in Rock On 2 is very different from what he played in the first part. Is that the same case with your role too?
A. Arjun's character has been completely flipped around in Rock On 2. If you remember, my character KD was extremely lovable who wore his heart on his sleeve, loved making and performing music. He was fond of his friends. He is still that person in Rock On 2. But in the earlier film he was naturally that person whereas in part two he is holding on to being that person and that's his problem.
Q. How easy was it for you to welcome the new members to the Magik Band?
A. It was quite refreshing to have Shraddha Kapoor in the film, firstly because she is an extremely beautiful girl with a wonderful smile and it's nice to have some female energy around you. (laughs). She's a lovely, sweet girl. She sings well too so that adds more flavour to the film. We used to have jamming sessions in the evenings. I feel that even Farhan has bonded more in Rock On 2 than the earlier film.
Q. Did you ever expect Rock On to be huge hit?
A. Not me at least. I didn't know what a successful film was before Rock On. The first time when I saw myself in that film I was like 'wow'. So, I had no expectations from Rock On and strangely I don't have one from the sequel too. Between Rock On and this new film I know how my movies fared at the box office. (laughs). However, there is definitely a hope that people acknowledge all the hard-work that went in making this film and enjoy watching it.
Q. Did you take up this film as a nostalgic one or was it that you viewed it as a completely fresh project?
A. I think when you do a film which is so special to you and is such a huge cult film, it did a lot to me. Whether you like the script or the director or not, you instantly say a yes because it's now engraved in your DNA. You are known as that character. KD from Rock On has stuck with me forever.
Of course, there is a nostalgic value attached to it but it's more about being loyal to the brand. The makers have worked on an excellent story line for the sequel, keeping in mind of all the characters of the first film including the new ones. Rock On 2 has a very intelligent script.
Q. You are back on the small screen with your new TV show P.O.W...
A. I hope that it does well. I speak to so many journalists and the first question that they ask me is, is this going to change the existing scenario of the TV shows. I can't answer that question because the audience is very strange when it comes to their likes and dislikes. Also you have to pay attention to the TRPs and sponsorships. But there is a large hope that P.O.W does really well.
If it does well then it will change the phase of the Indian TV industry. There is a hope that P.O.W would rescue the TV industry considering the content that people are being forced to produce these days. (laughs)
Q. Since a last few years Bollywood has seen an increase in the number of content driven films and the audience too, are accepting them with open arms. Do you think this is the best time to be in the industry?
A. I think it's an evolving process that has started off since a few years. Big players like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, Voot and many internet based distribution channels are upping the game and creating content to be watched by a maximum number of people. People ask me that why did I give my nod to a show like P.O.W and I tell them that I was looking out for a show like this for a long while. When Nikkhil Advani was doing Airlift I asked him what he's doing next and he told me about this TV show and I was like I want to do it.
Q. Do you think that a time will arrive when content will take over the stardom?
A. People all over the world enjoy watching stars. It's nice to have them in the front because it becomes easier to sell the film and get people's attention to it. Stars daring up to pick up interesting projects is another question altogether. I mean some of them do try out once in a while. For me, cinema and television is a medium of story-telling. More than often story is forgotten. People want to see stars looking beautiful and glamorous, the song-and-dance but they still want a story.
Q. How has fatherhood changed you as a person?
A. Fatherhood changes everything. It's a gift I wish upon everybody, especially that of a baby girl. When you have a child, you stop living for yourself. Lucy points out that she hasn't seen any of her friends whose husbands have had such a strong relationship with their baby in the first year. Inaya and I have a strong connection and we have good fun together.
Q. Marriage is seen as such a big thing in India. So when your baby was born, was that a concern for you?
A. When Inaya was conceived, we were not married and it didn't matter to me. When Lucy called me and said, 'Hey, we are having a baby,' I said 'Wow. Let's do it.' There was pressure to get married. My mother was the most concerned and my family did say you guys have to get married quickly when she was pregnant. But I was adamant about not doing it because I never wanted my baby to feel that we got into a relationship because she was coming.
Her coming into this world has transformed both our lives for the better. She is our love child and has bloomed even more love between both of us and made me love life more. I don't want her to ever feel that it was not meant to be. It was meant in every possible way and she was the force of nature that nothing could stop her from coming into this world.
Q. So now, is marriage on cards?
A. We have legally signed the papers and will have a big celebration next year in London. We just want Inaya to be standing on her two feet and hold the flowers while we take our vows.
Q. Any plans for a career in the west?
A. I have done Sense 8 already and the second season is due to release in December end. Once I finish P.O.W, I want to take some time off because nine months of working every day is really hard.