Interview: Luke Kenny

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Rock On!!, directed by Abhishek Kapoor, has taken over the box office and receiving rave reviews on all fronts. The music has been appreciated along with the performances by all actors. One of the four anchors of the group ‘Magik’, Luke Kenny, delivered a particularly inspiring performance. To introduce you to Luke Kenny, we thought we would give you a bit about his background in the film industry. He started off his career as a dancer but then took his love for music and turned it into a job as a VJ for Channel V. Luke was also bit by the acting bug and was seen on the big screen in 1998 when he starred in Bombay Boys, a film in which he played the leader of a band with musical hot-heads. Apart from that, he has been behind the camera when he directed and produced the film 13th Floor, under his production company Kenny Films Pvt. Ltd., which stared Sandhya Mridul and Purab Kohli.

He once again plays a member of a rock band in Rock On!! and becomes an essential force in bringing the band together after a span of 10 years. As the calm and collected Rob, he brought an irresistible endearing quality to his character.

Now, after the release of Rock On!!, BollySpice caught up with Luke Kenny for an exclusive interview in which he talks about his experience of making the film and much more.

Luke, you’ve always been so involved with music. What was your reaction after finding out that you would be playing the character of Rob in Rock On!!, a film centered around the theme of music?

I felt it was a good opportunity to put my musicality to constructive use in a film that was to be representative of the Indian rock scene.

Did you find any difficulties in portraying Rob or did you easily jump into the character?

Rob is not a very complicated character, you see. All he wants is for Magik to be together and play music. When life disallows it he is a bit disillusioned himself and resigns himself to his fate, till he decides to do something about it. That’s kind of what I’m like in real life, without the resigning part though, haha.

How did it feel playing a character, who despite having cancer, always thought of his dreams and ambitions first? Also, how has the character inspired you?

Uplifting and exhilarating! I think it’s inspiring in the fact that he never says die. He’s always ready to seize the moment and take it to another level, regardless of the fatality of his situation. It’s a thought all of us should act on whenever we get the chance.

What was the experience like working in Rock On!! with some of the well known members of the industry like Farhan and Arjun? Were you nervous at all?

Well, hugely anticipative as I was going to be in the room with some of the biggest names in Indian films today, I had spent the last 8 years watching all of Farhan’s films as a director and hugely appreciating and admiring his sensibilities towards the human condition. Then there’s Arjun who is this, big warm hearted hunk of a guy. I went in looking to work with actors, and I ended up spending time with friends. Somewhere in between we made a film together. 🙂

What is your favorite scene in the film?

All of it actually. The scenes between, Arjun and Shahana, the pre-interval scene between Prachi and Farhan, Purab’s singing scene, his flare up scene before he goes on stage in the final concert, and my graveyard scene with Arjun. They’re all such powerful and heartfelt moments that join up together so well. It’s difficult to extract them… you know.

What has been your most memorable moment, whether it’s something that happened while filming a shot or simply hanging out on sets?

The day we shot the jumping into the water scene… it was a super fun day, like a picnic. We all had our signature dives, which u see in the film, except me… I fell flat on my tummy, ha… which u don’t see in the film, lucky me!

Besides the keyboard, what other instruments do you enjoy playing?

The guitar and the harmonica…

What’s the best compliment you’ve received about your performance in the film and who was it from?

Surprisingly there have been so many who’ve appreciated my work, that it’s unfair to name any one. All my friends and loved ones who have been so supportive, but amazingly I’ve had people who I had not met in over 15 years call me up and tell me what an emotional experience it was…it’s been humbling and amazing.

What were your expectations from the film and how are you reacting to the overwhelming response from the audiences?

Well I knew that the film would touch its core audience in a way, from the story point of view as well as the music, seeing as it was a fairly niche kind of film, but to see it cut through all strata of acceptance has been a huge eye opener. It goes to show how mature and evolved our audiences really are.

You directed co-star Purab Kohli in your film 13th Floor. How was it different being on the same side of the camera this time?

The responsibilities were a bit less this time, as you had to focus on the character, and his interaction with your fellow actors, in accordance with the director’s vision, which is unlike being in the directors chair, where everything from the sets, to the lights, to the camera is your responsibility, and also being a team player and leader is a huge undertaking. But as an actor the focus levels are minimized to your existence in accordance to your surroundings and its depiction on screen… and with a band that rocks!

Like Farhan and Abhishek you have also directed as well as acted. Which do you prefer? Also, how did those previous experiences prepare you for Rock On!!?

Well… it’s two sides of the same coin, really. Both are as invigorating and stimulating. It depends on your frame of mind. Being on both sides of the camera helps you understand the film making process so much better, when as an actor you know what the directors trying to get out of you so that it justifies his vision, which is then your vision as well, and vice versa for you as a director. So it’s a great symbiotic existence that brings out the best in you as a creative artist.

Besides being a VJ, hosting your own show and being the director of programming at Channel V, you also write about music. What do you think of music today?

Well, music today has taken on a life of its own. It’s anybody’s playground across the board and there are no rules, no defined paths, no genre trends to follow, no long lasting artists to look forward to and so on. All one can do is hope for good songs to be written consistently.

What do you think of Rock On!!‘s music?

India’s first classic rock album!!! Finally!! Each song is a gem!!

What are some of your favorite bands?

Many many many… but my big seven are The Beatles, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Pink Floyd, The Eagles and Jethro Tull.

You said in a recent interview that you don’t want to do “Angrezi roles.” Are you afraid of being typecast? What are some of your future projects, whether they are acting or directorial ventures?

Isn’t every actor afraid of typecasting? It’s been such a prevalent trend in Indian cinema… now’s the time to experiment, so why should I let my looks hold me back. It didn’t hold back Abhishek Kapoor when he casted me for Rock On!!.

Well, I’m hoping to do a lot more acting, hopefully. And simultaneously develop stories that I would like to see onscreen as a director…so shoulder to the wheel!!

Lastly, what message would you like to give to all your fans on BollySpice and around the world?

It’s never too late to live your dream! Rock On!!

Luke, thank you so much for taking the time and giving us such interesting answers. They were truly a delight to read. Your performance in Rock On!! is outstanding, and we are all very happy with the film’s success and hope that it continues to rock the box office. BollySpice wishes you the best of luck in all your future projects!

Be sure to watch Rock On!!, still playing in all major theatres worldwide. In the meantime, check out our interviews with Abhishek Kapoor and Farhan Akhtar and stay tuned as BollySpice brings you many more.

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