Kunnal Kapoor plays 'heroine' in his debut film
He jokes that he plays the heroine in "Meenaxi".
By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
"I play the heroine in 'Meenaxi'. I'm there for the romance and the item songs," Kunnal Kapoor, the debutant stars with Tabu in M.F. Husain's film, told IANS.
He candidly admits that the whole film, released Friday, revolves around Tabu.
Interestingly, Kunnal was first noticed by the painter-turned-director in his namesake - Shashi Kapoor's son - Kunal Kapoor's office. "I had left my photos there a few years ago. Isn't that a strange coincidence? That's how I got 'Meenaxi'."
Kunnal has done street theatre in Delhi.
"I've also done a couple of plays with Naseeruddin Shah. If I had to be honest then I must confess I've had to undergo no period of struggle, going from producer to producer, etc. The struggle was more within me.
"I job-hopped until 21. By then I had worked in the stock market, a construction company, a dyeing and printing company...I was a bad all-rounder. Acting was always at the back of my mind. I thought it was easy, until I became assistant to Rakesh Mehra during 'Aks'."
Doesn't an offbeat debut scare Kunnal? "This may sound like sour grapes now. But I always wanted to start with something different. Too much is made of commercial and art house differences in films. Of course, the intention for making 'Meenaxi' is very different from the norm. Though it has songs and dances, they're an integral part of the storytelling."
His eyes brighten at the mention of his co-star.
"I knew Tabu from before 'Meenaxi'. We didn't really become close during the film - too busy doing our jobs. She didn't teach me how to do my job. But she was very nice to me. She never made me feel like a newcomer. I'm grateful for that. Tabu isn't the least starry. During the film's making, there were times when I'd get frustrated, not because I didn't understand what was required. But because I wanted the shooting to be speeded up."
Kunnal believes there's ample scope for him to be noticed in 'Meenaxi'. "Somehow, preview audiences see what they want. But the film will be a different experience in the theatre. If people react violently to my presence I guess I'll just fade away."
In the meanwhile he gets lots of offers. "But nothing as promising as I'd like."
Right now Kunnal is doing theatre with Shah. "I'm not super-ambitious. I'm happy with the way things are right now. I'm a little lazy."
About expectations from "Meenaxi", he says: "You hope it would be another 'Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham'. But you know that's stretching it. 'Meenaxi' is being released selectively, one show per day in some multiplexes...I hope people will like it.
"Honestly, I haven't grown up on this kind of cinema but the more hardcore commercial stuff. I've grown up watching the films of Kishore Kumar. I also like watching Naseeruddin Shah, Aamir Khan, Paresh Rawal and Govinda and -- of all people -- Rajnikanth. I used to love Sharmila Tagore. I was quite enamoured of Parveen Babi. She stayed in my building. But she shifted out...And I love watching Kajol and Rani Mukherjee. I think they're dynamites. But my favourite is Madhuri Dixit. I've grown up watching her films."
Kunnal's second film with director Rakesh Mehra will take a while to go on the floors. "So audiences will have enough time to get over me in 'Meenaxi'," he laughs.