Kay Kay Menon: Marketing should not govern your creativity

In a career spanning two decades Kay Kay Menon has enthralled the audience with his gripping performance in films like HAZARON KHWAHISHEN AISI, LIFE IN A METRO, SARKAR, THE STONEMAN MURDERS among various others.


He has proved his acting mettle time and again with his flawless performance in all kinds of roles with equal ease. In a candid conversation with Glamsham the actor opened up on why we get to see less of him onscreen and why we should stop calling Indian film industry Bollywood. Read on…


Tell us about your upcoming films VODKA DIARIES & FIRRKIE:
FIRRKIE will take lot of time to come. The one that is going to come early next year is VODKA DIARIES which is a psychological thriller and in it I am playing an investigator who is embroiled in a psychological case and the film has got many twists and turns. And the other film that I am doing is called PHAMOUS which is a cooler way of saying Famous. Both these films will be coming out early next year.

Why do we get to see so little of a powerful performer like you on screen? Have you become choosy?
I think you should ask this question to the industry (laughs) I have spent about 20 odd years and have a decent body of work so when I choose a film that gives me that kind of responsibility and respect. I try to take up roles which I feel I am qualified to do and deny the one’s which I feel I am over-qualified for. I do things that really interest me, now whether it’s a small film or a big film that doesn’t matter.

Actually the criteria of selecting a project cannot be put down as a formula it’s more like your gut feeling. When you read a script you tend to get attached to it or you tend to get detached. So it all depends on what you think of the script at the present time and specially the part that you are playing. Sometimes there’s no reason for loving something right? So you can’t put a formula to it. And most of the time I think the script chooses me rather than I choosing them.

If given a chance what would be the three things that you would like to change in Bollywood?
Firstly, I don’t think I am in a position to change anything. But still the first thing that I would change is stop calling Indian film industry Bollywood because I think we are good enough by our own identity than copying the word Hollywood and instead we should call ourselves Indian Cinema, Hindi cinema or something like that. And secondly let us get inspired and let’s not ape anybody. We need to be proud of our own identity. Also, we should start making more believable films. And number three is to do with the audience. I hope that they really start patronizing cinema which is believable.

Are you happy with the kind of films Bollywood is making these days?
I don’t believe in complaining about the films. For me the best way to deal with it is to try your best in whatever situation you are.

But then don’t you feel these days Bollywood is more inclined towards making massy entertaining films?
It all depends on what you define as an entertainment because entertainment could be frivolous or intense or anything. All I am saying is that one should make films with lot of integrity and don’t try and make films only and only for the business. Filmmaking is a business but we are also in the business of emotions right? So we need to get both the aspects correct. It should be believable and have integrity towards storytelling. Marketing should not govern your creativity.

So do you agree that filmmakers are investing too much money in promoting their film rather than investing in its story-line?
No I think promoting a film is not a crime, it’s perfectly fine. One should promote a film because we want it to be seen by large audience and that’s legitimate. Only thing is that it should not take away from your creative aspect. As far as filmmaking is concerned we should put as much effort in making the film as we put in promoting it. As long as one makes a film with passion and integrity and promotes it with the same passion and integrity, spending money on promotions is fine then.

What are the views regarding digital media?
Digital media is the one that I recently got into. Very recently I joined social media platforms like Instagram, twitter and Facebook. And I am quiet taken aback by the kind of strength this social media has. It is the medium for the future. It’s a wonderful mean of communication but as I have always said that anything in life which is very powerful is a double edged sword. So we have to use it sensibly and responsibly. The moment you do that then it’s a very good medium as it actually reaches out to every person at his or her own convenience which is a very good thing.

Talking about the web series and short films I can say it’s a new medium for us but more popular abroad. If we too do things with right passion then even we can produce web series of high quality.

So, would you take up web series offers as well?
Oh yes absolutely. There I would get my criteria (of selecting a project) bit more tightened as web series does not necessarily require stars, it requires actors which I have proven to be one. I would definitely go into something in which I am the protagonist of that series may be something on the lines of Breaking Bad, Narcos or House of Cards. So, yeah we have enough stories to tell in India and I would love to do something which is very predominant kind of roles.

Recently, Manoj Bajpayee said that Bollywood fails to appreciate great talent when they are alive. Do you agree with him?
I had mentioned that too because what happens is that we tend to posthumously glorify somebody without realizing that when that person was alive we didn’t bother about them. So yeah that happens in our Hindi film industry a lot. The classic cases are the Om Puri saab, Kundan Shah all these people have been stalwarts but they didn’t get the kind of love and respect when they were alive. It’s a sad thing but a fact which needs to be changed.

What exactly is Cinema for you?
Cinema for me is something that not only stimulates life but is also very inspiring. It does to you what other things can’t do.

Any advice for all the aspiring actors out there?
My advice for them would be that they need to read voraciously, rehearse as much as possible and after doing both of these just let go.