As Raag Desh hits the marquee, Kunal Kapoor speaks with Shubarna Mukerji Shu about the movie and more
There are very few actors who have achieved the kind of credibility Kunal Kapoor comes with, though he hasn’t been one of the biggest stars, yet his movies are always anticipated eagerly. From Rang De Basanti to Dear Zindagi, the actor has won hearts with his performance. Excerpts from the interview:
A period film, Raag Desh and a very emotionally gruelling film. What has been your take away from it?
I think working with Tigmanshu, has taken me one step ahead as an actor. He is not only a good director but also actor and there has been so much to learn from him. The other thing that stays with you after doing a film like this is, the amount of passion people had for the country. We live in a world where it’s all about the individual, we only think about ourselves. These were people that always put the cause and country first, they were our true heroes. And it is sad how we have forgotten our heroes. We don’t really celebrate our history or our heroes the way we should. Hopefully a film like this, will be the beginning of many more to come.
How much do you think promotions bring to a film, how much do they take away?
Nowadays, it would seem, the best way to promote a film is to have a political party oppose it or run into censor trouble (laughs) It think it depends on who is in the film and how big the film is. I think if it is a smaller film, like this one, then you really need to go out there and push it. You have to make the effort to reach out to people and tell them what the film is about and when it’s out. Having said that, I believe promotions in this country is very standard. Let’s do a couple of city tours, interviews, reality shows etc. I don’t think that is enough. There is a need to be more creative and change the way we market our movies. With a bigger star and a film, I think less is more. A film like Baahubali didn’t have any promotion, and yet it’s the highest grosser ever.
You have mentioned that this phase has been the best because the variety of cinema that Bollywood is coming out with… what’s the one genre that you want to explore and why?
There is so much that I haven’t tapped into as yet. I think I have only scratched the surface of what I’m capable of doing. I would love to do an out and out action film. I have the physicality to pull that off and I have trained in martial arts. I am working on a script in that genre. It’s a crazy, quirky action film. It’s like nothing that’s been done before and if we get it right, it will definitely be a clutter breaker.
Veeram has been one of the most awaited films… are you equally anxious about it?
Most definitely. It was such a challenging film to do. Physically, mentally and emotionally. Playing a complex character like Macbeth is very challenging, and here we were doing every scene in three languages. And it has a lot of action, so it was physically gruelling. We also finished the entire film in 38 days, some days we were shooting 24 hours at a stretch. It’s very different from anything I have done, and am really waiting to see how the audiences react to it.
Ketto helps draught affected people, also paraplegic military men…in sync with the films you have done. Did movies bring about the insight or vice versa? Basically, how did that come about?
Movies or no movies, I think I would have always co-founded Ketto. I think I have always been socially responsible. I had worked closely with organisations in the social space and found that there were a number of challenges they faced. I felt like we could use technology to solve those problems. To build a bridge between people that needed help and people that could help. In the last five years, we have raised about 100 crores for social causes. Everyday, I see people step up to help people that they don’t even know. It’s by far one of the most rewarding things I have done in life.
You have always maintained that you are in no hurry and would rather wait for the right script to come… and yet, you are fiercely ambitious… in the dichotomy what makes you restless?
I don’t see any dichotomy. I am ambitious about life. I am ambitious to experience all the things I love. Whether it’s flying planes, writing, racing cars or building a tech company. I don’t restrict myself or put barriers. I’m an actor, but I’m also the co-founder of a tech company, a pilot, a writer, a wannabe musician, there are so many things I can be. And that’s applies to my acting career as well. I want to try all sorts of roles, but only do films that I deeply connect to. If I believe in a film, I’ll give it everything.