It’s quite common these days for an actor to come up with a story for a film. The latest entrant to this creative breed is Kunal Kapoor, who established himself as an actor with Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Rang De Basanti.
However, unlike other actors who take credit for regular commercial fare, Kapoor’s story is based on Chamkila, a popular musician in Punjab in the 1980s, who was assassinated.
Tentatively titled Chamkila, the film will be directed by Navdeep Singh, who won critical acclaim for Manorama Six Feet Under, featuring Abhay Deol, Gul Panag and Raima Sen.
Confirming the news, Kapoor said, “I was shooting in Punjab when I heard someone talking about Chamkila. I was curious and found out more. I felt it was an interesting story. I called Navdeep and discussed the idea. It excited him and he agreed to direct it. Another friend, Nilesh Dadich, whom I’ve known since the time I worked as an assistant to Rakeysh, is producing it.”
Singh admits that it was natural that the actor would play the lead in this movie. “Besides, he makes for a good Punjabi guy,” he enthuses. On further probing, he concedes, “It’s about a young Punjabi musician, played by Kunal. He’s a huge fan of Chamkila, and one day, something happens which changes his life.”
Despite the strong Punjabi flavour, Singh is certain that Chamkila will not be a standard Punjabi musical. When questioned if he will also shoot some portions in London and Canada, because a lot of Punjabis travel to those parts, Singh asserts, “Although the film will have a Punjabi setting, it will not be commercial, but more real.”
Says Kapoor, “Every time you visualise Punjab in Hindi films, it’s portrayed in a typical way. We’ll explore the underbelly of Punjab, that is grungier and has never been seen before in our movies. There’s a lot more to Punjab than just the music that you hear in Hindi films.”
Amit Trivedi, who shot to fame with Dev D, has been signed to compose the soundtrack for Chamkila. And he’s already travelled to Punjab to get new voices for his compositions. “We’re looking for one male and one female voice.
But it’s also possible that we might make Kunal sing if we don’t get the kind of voices we’re looking for. We’ll train him,” says Singh.
Kapoor, however, has no idea about his director’s plans for him. “I just want to act in the film,” he asserts.