An actor gets his due at last
The stupendous success of Ram Gopal Varma's Sarkar has catapulted Kay Kay Menon to the big league, but not before the gifted actor suffered the mortification of seeing a string of high quality screen performances go largely unnoticed for no fault of his own.
Indeed, Menon wasn't blessed with the luck of an overnight star. But that did not deter him from sinking his teeth deep into every role that he essayed on screen since making his debut in Bhopal Express in the late 1990s. His diligence and talent have begun to yield dividends.
The Kerala-born, Pune-bred Menon's choice of films and set-ups have usually been immaculate. But ill luck dogged his progress until Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi and Sarkar happened in quick succession this year. Hi maiden film, the off-mainstream Bhopal Express, veered off the rails even before it could hit full speed.
Menon played pivotal roles in scriptwriter Anurag Kashyap's first two films as director, Paanch and Black Friday. While the former is still stuck in the cans for want of takers, the release of the latter is entangled in a messy legal battle. "I've been rather unlucky," says Menon. "Bhopal Express went completely unnoticed. And I have no idea when Anurag's two films will hit the screens. What can I do? An actor has no control on a film's fate."
Indeed, the early-career blues extended to his more commercially oriented films, too. Chhal, Deewar - Let's Bring Our Heroes Home and Silsilay, did get into the theatres but without making any impact.
The tide has now turned. Today, after the spectacular way in which he held his own against the towering Amitabh Bachchan in Sarkar, Menon, a cricket fanatic in his free time, is on a much stronger wicket.
"I have become much more philosophical of late," says Menon. "I would once get too involved with a film and feel miserable when it failed. We had all given everything to Paanch. We thought we had done groundbreaking work. I felt quite low when the film couldn't be released. Now I wrap up work on a film and move on to the next," he adds.