‘Gold’ actor Kunal Kapoor: ‘Sports helps you pick yourself up!’

He is writing his new film, he is the co-founder of India’s most popular crowdfunding and is basking in the success of his latest hit ‘Gold’, Kunal Kapoor has his fingers in many pies, but knows how to keep fit and rolling. The man himself took a little time out to speak about his exhaustive schedules and plans ahead…

The genre of sports films are coming up now, and you certainly have a taste for them…

I did do a film about cricket once, but you know I had never really played hockey before
this so this film was a learning curve for me.

Your co-star in the film, Udaybir who is a national level hockey player claimed you were really good in the sport, I am surprised to hear you had never really played the game.

Did he say that? That’s good to hear but yes, I never really got around to hockey and frankly, the hockey that is played today is a lot different than what was happening in the film. To begin with, we were depicting hockey played in 1936, at that time they didn’t have the fancy ones that are now being used. It was a simple wooden stick, that was curved at the end and one needed to manoeuvre the ball with it. Let me tell you, it was not easy.

To manoeuvre that ball and act might have been really tough. Did you train a lot, what went into this film for you?

Well, we had extensive training. In Mumbai, we trained for about three months and then we went to London and trained for another month there. So yes, we did have to go through rigorous training workshops. Also, given I was playing a hockey player from that era, I had to look the part. The kind of gym training that went with it was completely different from anything that we usually do, so yes, it took a lot but worth it!

Since you mentioned you never played hockey, I cannot help our national sport has really not been encouraged in the cities. What is your take on that?

It is a bit of a fallacy, which I figured when I was researching the sport. It is not our national game, we in fact don’t have one. It was one of the most popular sport, and got us the most glory, so it is often misconstrued as our national sport simply because we were so good at it. We have legends like Dhyanchand and Balbir Singh, from our country, so it will always remain one of the popular sports, but we don’t really have the infrastructure one needs for the sport. That needs to be rectified.

But don’t you think sports, especially in the urban centres, the lack of infrastructure is very obvious. The kids are not getting out there at all and the schools don’t seem to be encouraging…

I don’t think that completely true. I grew up in a school where there was a lot of emphasis given on sports, football, volleyball etc… we had school teams representing the school in competitions. Everything was really encouraged, I don’t think that is the problem… Nowadays the kids have a lot of options, when we were younger we had no other option but to go out and play, now there is social media, other stuff that keeps them occupied. In schools there is plenty of infrastructure, it is an individual choice. Parents should really encourage their children to go out and play because there is so much that comes out of playing a sport, learning to pick yourself up when you lose is perhaps one of the most important learnings. It used to be crushing when we lost a game but we pulled ourselves together and then of course, the concentration, the focus etc. It is all educational.

So what happens next?

I have a few things lined up, I am as of now concentrating on getting the script that I am writing in place. It is time consuming but something that I have wanted to do for a long time. We should be filming it some time next year.

What about Ketto. How is it going?

You know, when we founded it we knew it was the need of the hour though not many were familiar with what a crowd funding platform is all about. There are a lot of people out there who want to reach out and help, but are never really sure where their money goes when we talk about donations and such. With the kind of transparency we offer, it has really got a lot of people together. I glad it is coming along so well.

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