In Bollywood, they say, you are either a good actor, or a star. It’s a happy coincidence if you’re both, and Kay Kay Menon seems to be finally enjoying that status after Haider. Despite steadily delivering critically acclaimed performances in the industry for close to two decades, it’s only after this film that Menon is getting star treatment. And, he’s making sure he attributes those who paved the way for actors like him.
“It’s great to have a large number of people appreciate. I’d say that if it weren’t for actor Manoj Bajpayee accepting Satya (1998), it would have taken actors like me, Irrfan Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui at least five more years to be where we are today. Manoj opened many doors for actors like us. Manoj paved the way for us. I am thankful to him.”
Also read:My acting gets me appreciation, says Kay Kay Menon
The 47-year-old, who plays the role of Haider’s uncle Khurram in Vishal Bhardwaj’s ­adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, adds, “The role I portray is a conflicted character. He undergoes diametrically opposite emotions of greed for power and love for Gazala (Tabu’s character). I had to make it lovable.”
Menon is happy at the way Indian audiences are learning to appreciate grey characters, and thanks Bhardwaj for breaking the norm. “Only a director who is well-read, intelligent and versatile could have understood the ethos of various characters. Shakespeare requires intelligent ­handling,” he says.
And finally, he says Bollywood should stop glorifying mediocrity. “Bollywood’s vast expanse is impressive and appealing. But it should temper down the glorification of mediocrity. The audiences are intelligent and you cannot peddle trash in the name of mass appeal.” There’s no looking back after this. Menon will next be seen in an Anurag Kashyap film next year, and a Manoj Bajpayee starrer that he’s equally excited about.