Kunal Kapoor, the handsome actor of Rang De Basanti fame is taking on a new avatar for the film Laaga Chunari Mein Daag-Journey of a Woman. In an in depth interview he spoke about the film, his character and his co-stars. We thought we give you some of the highlights of this fantastic interview with one of the rising stars of Bollywood.
First up, what went into his decision to do this movie? “I think for me the deciding factor obviously was the role since it was very interesting. It was something that I had never done before. I have done Meenaxi and Rang De Basanti and both of them have been rather serious sort of characters. They both had characters, which had a certain weight to them, and they had certain seriousness to them. Vivaan is completely different there is nothing really dramatic or serious about him. He’s a light hearted chap and secondly I have always wanted to work with Pradeep Sarkar after I had watched Parineeta. There were a couple of people who I had in mind whom I wanted to work with and Dada was one of them, so when I got a call from him I was really excited,” Kunal said. However, he said that Sarkar was not convinced at first that he could carry off a role like this, but after one screen test the part was his.
Going on to talk about his character Vivaan, Kunal said: ”The character I play is of Vivaan. He’s a creative director in an Advertising agency. He’s a lazy, laid back sort of a guy and the way I look at him, he knows he’s attractive so he does not make the effort. So somewhere this whole laid back, lazy attitude makes him attractive because he knows he does not have to try too hard and also he’s a bit of a space cadet. He’s always on his own trip so he’s pretty much like me. In fact I think the first time when dada saw me I asked him what are the kinds of clothes I am suppose to wear. He said the character of Vivaan is very lazy, laid back so just be yourself, behave like yourself and wear your own personal clothes and you will be perfect so that’s how Vivaan is.”
Adding, “I think what gets him about Konkana’s character is that he’s used to getting a lot of attention but he is not used to somebody coming in and being super confident and having her own mind and telling him exactly what to do. That’s what attracts him to Konkana’s character because he has never ever met somebody who knows her mind so well. And here’s this girl from Banaras who has come into the agency and she is new to the agency and she walks into his office and she tells him that you are wrong and that’s what gets him because he is so used to getting attention and so used to being right that he’s never had somebody come across to him and tell him that listen you are wrong as well. I found that relationship also very interesting because it’s always like a one up sort of a relationship even when they are in love they are always playful and trying to get the better of each other.”
Speaking of Konkona, he says working with her though loads of fun it was a little intimidating. “Working with Konkana has two sides to it. One is that its great fun to work with her because she is very easy to work with. I loved working with her and she is a lot of fun to have around. She doesn’t come with any excess baggage. She’s just there to do her job and there is nothing more to that and I have an absolutely superb equation with her.I would love to do more movies with her. The dangerous part about working with Konkana is that you come to set and you get your scene and you have obviously rehearsed your scene at home and come and then I come to the set and rehearse it like some 15/20 times, I sit with the director and discuss what I am supposed to do and then Konkana walks into the set and says “what are we doing today” and then she will take a look at the scene and read it a couple of times and then she will go and faff around, read a book, listen to music and in the meanwhile I am rehearsing, talking to the director as to how I am supposed to approach the scene and what I am supposed to do and she walks into the set casually and she does the scene and she gets it right in the first take and she gives you the most magical shot. And she walks back and goes and listens to her music and you are left there wondering what did I do wrong in life not to deserve that sort of genetic quality where you just saunter on to the set and you read the scene once and you just get it wrong. So it can get very demoralizing as a co-actor to work with her but I have sort of got used to her. The other good thing about Konkana is that she gets really good food from home. It’s always a pleasure working with her.”
He says Rani Mukerji saved her own and Konkona’s feet by giving him extra help with the dance numbers, “Rani I am going to be very grateful to. Firstly, I will remember this movie forever because it’s the first time that I have done a Bollywood Hindi movie song which involves dancing and singing and I was petrified because I not only have two left feet but have four left feet. I not only crush my co-star’s toes but I crush my own toes while dancing so I am really bad at it and Rani is exceptional. I think after Madhuri Dixit if there is anybody that can really dance and hold your attention, its Rani and she was kind enough to help me while this song was going on and I think I have managed fairly well with her help because I crushed Konkana’s toes only once throughout the song. It was really nice of her. She helped me through a lot of steps.”
He was ecstatic to be working opposite one of his screen–idols Jaya Bachchan. Besides that she brought exceptional food to the set and he got to eat very well for lunch during the shoot. And of working with her beta Abhishek, Kunal said, “Abhishek I have known for really really long but this is the first time I have worked with him. He is completely insane. He is out of control, mad and lots of fun, always up to mischief and pranks and the things that he does exceptionally well which I am really grateful to him for is that I was really nervous doing this song but Abhishek makes the environment on the sets so light hearted and so much fun to be around that after a point I actually started enjoying doing the song.”
About his director Pradeep Sarkar, Kunal said, “I will need an entire book to tell you how it is to work with Pradeep Sarkar because he’s got many moods and different facets to his personality so its very difficult to describe it in couple of words. Firstly, he is extremely passionate about what he does; he is a taskmaster, he is not going to let you go till he knows he’s got the shot that he wants. There was one scene in which I am supposed to eat a hamburger and there is some mayonnaise that needs to fall on my jacket and I don’t think I have eaten so many burgers in my life put together because I had like some 16 Burgers and 3 bottles of mayonnaise so if somebody thinks doing an action film is risky they should actually try doing a scene which involves Pradeep Sarkar and a Ham burger because that is really risky for your health.”
Adding that Sarkar is an actor’s director, “There are some directors that let a lot of things pass but Dada will not let anything pass that gives you a lot of confidence as an actor because you know that you are in the right hands and you have a director that cares about every character.” Kunal also said that when Sarkar talks to the cast about the story of the film or what he wants shown in the scene he does it in a simple story telling way. “He just tries to tell you a simple story which has a soul and he goes about it in a very honest and simple sort of way, almost an innocent childish way. There is a lot of emphasis laid on the relationships in the film. I don’t think there are too many directors especially in today’s day who have the ability to constantly tell a story with simplicity. I think Dada is one of the few people who can do that and I think that’s what makes him such a good director. The ability to be simple and honest and be child like innocent about the story that he is telling you that I think is what makes Laaga Chunari Mein Daag-Journey of a Woman special.”
We are certainly looking forward to seeing this film and to see Kunal in this new avatar. Laaga Chunari Mein Daag-Journey of a Woman releases on October 12th!