My acting gets me appreciation. But yes, maybe I don't get the 'rates': Kay Kay Menon

  • Tavishi Paitandy Rastogi, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Sep 20, 2014 18:50 IST

Remember Vishnu Nagre, Amitabh Bachchan’s older son in Sarkar? The man whose lustful eyes could make any woman blush? Or the revolutionary Siddharth Tayabji in Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi? Or even Shilpa Shetty’s philandering husband in Life… In A Metro? Each character played to perfection by Kay Kay Menon. With some powerful performances to his credit, Menon is a force to reckon with.

And yet, Menon remains one of the most underrated actors of Bollywood. Why? "I don’t know. You’ll have to answer that for me. I do what I can – act. And my acting gets me the appreciation. But yes, maybe I don’t get the ‘rates’ (laughs). Actually, I never bothered about it much either. I focused on what I was doing," says Menon.

We recently caught up with the versatile actor for an interaction. Excerpts from the interview:

Q. You can’t possibly be in the industry and not want to become a star.
My grandfather used to tell me, ‘if you have a trumpet, blow it loud and clear’. I, strangely, could never do that. I’ve always been a sports freak. In sports, unless you perform, no one cares about you. Nothing but your performance matters. I live by that spirit. So all I do is perform, not talk about it.

Q. You seem happy playing the villain most of the time.
I guess the industry sees the evil in me most of the time. I keep the good parts for the real world (laughs). But really, I don’t go in with any preset notion. All I look at is the character and its layers. I can’t be a cardboard cut-out. Whatever shade the character may be, he needs to have a full-fledged existence.

Q.Theatre, television, films, you’ve done them all...
I first went on stage at the age of nine. I became a sunflower in my school’s Annual Day play. On stage, I felt real and very alive. So while I grew up to go through the ‘conventional’ academic rigour of graduation in Physics and then an MBA, my heart lay in theatre. I pursued it through.

My big break came when I joined Naseeruddin Shah’s Motley Theatre Group. I did Gandhi Vs Mahatma with them and toured the world. Then TV happened. I did shows like Pradhanmantri, Rishtey among others and then films started coming in. I am an actor and I’ve enjoyed every bit of every medium.

Q. You have some big projects coming up. Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider and Anurag Kashyap’s Bombay Velvet among others…
Yes, and Neeraj Pandey’s Saat Uchchakey. I’ve had the most fascinating experience. Haider is an adaptation of Hamlet. And with Vishal [Bhardwaj] directing it, it goes a notch higher. So it is with Anurag [Kashyap]. These directors understand an actor. And they understand performance.

Also read:Manoj Vajpayee admires Kay Kay Menon

But the film that’s closest to my heart is Saat Uchchakey. It’s shot in Delhi and I’ve worked with actors like Manoj Bajpayee. It’s been a great learning experience.

From HT Brunch, September 21
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