Tuesday, July 08, 2008

In conversation with Kunaal Kapoor…

Tall, FAIR and Handsome!

I bumped into Kunaal Kapoor recently at the launch of Bangalore latest Indian Terrain store, and I was quite surprised to discover so much more about this teen heart-throb!
In conversation with Kunaal Kapoor…
He’s famous for swooning audiences all across the country with his lean-hunk image all dressed to kill in designer sherwanis that have never ever looked better! He’s romanced a star far older to him on screen in style and been the muse of a painter in a saga that can never be retold.

He shook audiences with his performance in a path-breaking trend-setter of sorts, and played a copy writer with such panache, that advertising seems to suddenly have become the most glamorous profession on the platter.
Kunaal Kapoor, in all his gorgeous self was down in the city to woo his fans at the launch of the latest Indian terrain store. As the brand ambassador of the label, I got to see quite a bit of him and got to know lots more.
I decided to get more out of this star, and his extremely hidden life, and here’s what I discovered!

ME) In your first movie you were a muse, the sole focus in a movie where you occupied all the male attention in the plot, after such a role how did you manage a Rang De Basanti?
KK) I was just eager to be a part of the film as I found it extremely interesting and the fact that we all gelled really well as a group added to the advantage. I like playing roles that can be defined by one emotion. Be it intense or serious, or angry or patient. My character has to have that one character trait that should stand out, and I love doing roles which cater to such tastes.

ME) So you don’t really like being stereotyped? You however already have been as an intense actor with roles that boast of gravity:
KK) I know that’s the image that I have right now, but the role in Hat trick was aimed at putting an end to that image. There was nothing deep, or even extremely sane about my character in that movie, and even though it didn’t do all that well, I loved the experience!

ME) Characters that you’ve really loved doing other than your role in RDB?
My role in Laaga Chunari Mein Daag was fun, of course I don’t eat so messily, I promise (giggles), but since I’ve been production assistant before my stint with films, I did associate with the character.

ME) You seem to have a repertoire of jobs before you thought of films, which were the most memorable? And any plans of switching careers?
KK) (Laughs) I’ve been everything under the sun! I was once involved in exporting mangoes and also tried my hand at the stock market. I’ve just decided on settling in films, please don’t ask me if I plan to switch so soon, I really can’t afford to (laughs).

ME) You were an assistant director and the switched to an actor, how was the whole change like?
KK) Funnily enough I was more in front of the camera even during my stint as an assistant director, and often was used when there was the need of an extra or someone who could help people with the lines etc... So it wasn’t really hard. Actually it was all Rakyesh’s idea. And as I always say as an actor you get to be pampered, while as a director you have to pamper everyone else, so I obviously prefer the former.

ME) What’s your favourite Bollywood film?
KK) As clichéd as it sounds, Sholay. I’ve watched the movie over 40 times, and I still never get bored, the characterisation was so brilliant! Imagine a character like MacMohan who didn’t have much to say, yet was immortalised forever through the movie! That’s good cinema to me.

ME) Do you watch South Indian movies?
Of course I do! I am a huge fan of Rajinikanth. I watched Sivaji and consider it to be one of my favourite films.

ME) Plans to work with a South Indian movie or director?
KK) I was approached for Guru by Mani Ratnam and things however didn’t work out. I wouldn’t mind working in one of his movie for sure though. As a matter of fact I look forward to it. I’ve always been told how systematically the industry down south works, and I’m sure it will be quite an experience.

ME) Your favourite actors down south?
KK) Obviously the BIG man Rajnikanth and one of my personal favourites has been Revathy. I hope to act with her one day and will do anything to bag such a role.

ME) We’ve heard you are an ardent reader, what are you reading now?
KK) I am right now reading Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything and The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid.

ME) Your all-time favourite movies?
KK) The Indiana Jones series, though the latest one isn’t all that great and Chupke Chupke and yes! Braveheart (smiles).

ME) Projects we can look forward to?
I am right now working on none, but plan to sign a few very soon. Probably you’ll see me on the big screen in a year’s time…

I end the little chit-chat and as I walk away, I can’t help but noticed how the extreme curls-short hair look has done wonders to the already good-looking star. I can’t wait to see him on the big screen too, and hope he does a good job in his future projects, as he has quite a lot of self set parameters to live up to.

To be or not to be!

I like men.
It’s taken us over three decades to finally come into terms with this reality. The recent gay pride march in the city, held in commemoration of the Stonewall riots, was quite a success. That is in terms of it being a parade that broke all barriers and took the issue into the hands of the masses, literally. But is Bangalore ready to accept its gay folk? This question has no answer, not a concrete one at least for now.
We’re still a folk who’d rather ignore than accept. It’s easier to pass it off as something that one will grow out off or even worse, will get bored off eventually. We like to look at all forms of intimacy between the young of the same sex, as trivial games and will even tease a child for being so silly and foolishly intimate. But we will not accept that they could be gay. Even if we finally do accept them, we’d hope at the bottom of our hearts that it’s some disease that can be cured by medicine. If not medically, then religion will surely do the trick, we remind ourselves, and that finally lets our mind rest in peace.
“It’s not natural!” Every educated straight person likes to scream. But then what is?
Society at large, instructs one to hide these taboo emotions for the fear of being considered different and rebellious. Most of us are so dependent on society that we quietly obey in silence and convince ourselves that we’re doing the right thing.
We try as much as we can to hide and protect that uncle who plays with every little boy’s privates or that aunt who can’t seem to stop fingering every young girl. It’s all hushed up and nobody’s allowed to talk about it, like it never exists! Every night, at least a dozen young boys who return late home in this city face a harassment that nobody will ever believe occurs. Young boys are often followed and stalked by elder men in cars. Men who’ve been forced to conform, who have now finally gained independence, usually financially – leading to a sense of liberation. The only problem is the liberation is now filled with vengeance and the naivety of the pure unconditional love of childhood is now lost somewhere between lust, desire and need.
Why do we do such things to people we love? Why force them to conform and accept society’s norms? Marriages often break after a few years when the spouse realises the other partner is gay. Worse still, some decide to live with it and deprive themselves of what is rightfully theirs. It doesn’t have to be like this. A sense of acceptance and more general understanding of the differences from every human being to the other can solve all this. But it will all happen, only if we try and right now most of us don’t want to do even that!