Kunal emerges from the shadows | india | Hindustan Times
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Kunal emerges from the shadows

Kunal Kapoor returns to the screens with Rang De Basanti.Film preview

india Updated: Jan 18, 2006 19:10 IST

He madehis debut as the rough and ready hero of M F Husain's Meenaxi quite a risky debut for Kunal Kapoor, assistant director turned actor. But since, by his own admission, he's not a man in a hurry, his patience post-Meenaxi paid off and he's now ready to make a more mainstream impact with Rang De Basanti. All six feet and two inches of 30-year-old Kunal talk about his career plans.

"I felt Rang De Basanti was the right second film. Between Meenaxi and Rang De... I worked with Naseeruddin Shah's Motley Group on a couple of his plays," says the actor who has trained with theatre man Barry John in Delhi. Rang De... is something of a homecoming for Kunal who was formerly assistant to director Rakeysh Mehra (including on Aks). "I had read the script before and loved the part of Aslam, which was exactly the part I was tested for." It helped that Mehra was directing and Aamir Khan was leading the pack, adds Kunal.

How does Kunal compare working with an artist and a rather existential filmmaker like Husain to an ad filmmaker turned commercial director like Mehra? "The similarity between the directors is that both give you enough space to interpret your look/talk/walk/accent. However Mehra is more tuned into cinema and has greater experience."

Kunal Kapoor, the thoughtful actor from Meenaxi, makes his mark with Rang De Basanti.

While

Rang De...

has a vast ensemble cast, Aamir Khan is unarguably the USP of the film, so what scope is there for any of the other actors to make a mark? Kunal's answer is not surprising. "I don't mind being in Aamir's shadow, but each character in the film has his own story and I have a damn good role. Aslam is a lower middle class boy from Chandni Chowk whose views are very different to those of his family. He's more liberal and the rational guy in the group." Kunal describes the theme of the film as being about "a couple of triggers that make the young protagonists realise that they can make a difference without preaching."

Among the things Kunal learnt from Khan were solving the Rubix Cube. He also got introduced to Elvis Presley's music. "I always wanted to work with Aamir and Naseer and I got a chance to work with both in the same year," says Kunal cheerily.

It's good to see an actor setting a relaxed pace for himself. Since he gets rather attached to the project he's working on, Kunal says he prefers to "wait and watch, plus I am not materialistic which helps me make decisions about films. Greed and ambition can be negative things," says the self-proclaimed `info maniac' who is constantly writing his thoughts and stories down. Perhaps he'll convert those into his own script someday.