Great interview with heartthrob Kunal Kapoor! Behind this gorgeous face there is a beautiful spirit, a generous soul. And a little daredevil one might say…
Acting will always be my main focus: Kunal Kapoor
How does it feel to be a youth icon for such a noble cause? Is it why you have a huge number of female fan-following?
Honestly when I’m doing something like this I’m not thinking about how popular it will make me, I am just thinking of how I can make a difference no matter how big or small it might be. The recent visit to Tonk was really an eye opener. The NGO is doing wonderful work in bringing about a big change in people’s life. My being there motivates the workers, but to see their wonderful work, motivates me as well.
Bollywood actors are Demi-gods and are loved by masses if they do something for them. Are you following actors like Salman Khan and Big B in this respect?
I think actors must use the fact that they can reach out to people, for furthering social causes. If we can sell cola’s and cars, there is no reason why we can’t use the same power to sell a good cause.
You are into reading, writing and even flying Cessna, where exactly does your interest in films lie?
Actually my interest in films also varies. Acting is and will always be my main focus, but I’m also co-writing a number of films. I have also been thinking of a number of ideas to direct my first short film. I don’t have the ability to direct a whole film right now, but I’d love to experiment with the short film format. I started of as an assistant director, and I don’t think that bug will ever leave me.
How do you manage your time?
Honestly when you love what you do, whether its acting, reading or flying, you don’t really have to struggle to find time for it, you automatically have time for it, no matter how little. So if I’m in the car going from one place to the other I write or read. Whenever I have a weekend off, I try and clock in some flying hours.
What kind of books you like to read, I guess its Columbian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez at the moment?
The thing is that I can’t read one book at a time. At any given moment I am reading at least four books, and they are all of different genres. Right now I’m fully into Marquez, re-reading stuff that I have read before as well. Besides that I am reading a book called “Rant” by the writer of “Fight Club”, a collection of Chinese short stories, and a graphic novel called “Scalped”.
You started your Bollywood journey with “Meenaxi: A Tale Of Love”. How has the journey been so far?
It’s been interesting actually. I have had a chance to work with actors that are on top of their game and directors that I have an immense amount of respect for. As an outsider it’s very difficult to break through, but I have finally reached a place where people are willing to back me and the scripts that I believe in.
Are you dating Naina Bachchan?
All I want to say is that Naina is an important person in my life. Beyond that I won’t comment.
The people of Tonk in Rajasthan, were all ears, when Kunal discussed topics such as malnutrition, safe pregnancy and vaccination, on his visit there as the brand ambassador of the NGO, Save The Children.
Tall, obviously handsome, and never stand-offish, Kunal struck an immediate rapport with everyone from the kids to the village elders. His dimples and boyish charm were mentioned more than once by the ‘aunties’ there. When Kunal reached a small anganbari centre in Tonk in morning, people went crazy with excitement.
The actor was there to launch a global report ‘A Life Free From Hunger – Tackling Child Malnutrition’, by the NGO. Kunal said, “While preparing for a shoot takes hours of preparation, it took just a second to connect with the locals and discuss issues like child-malnutrition, vaccination, safe delivery measures, etc.”
Our desi boy did everything so perfectly that by the end of it all, the audience was completely besotted with his charm. He hugged the kids, sat with the aam janta, heard their problems and coaxed the cranky tots to smile. It was quite a delight to see Kunal lift a small kid into his arms and show him around to pacify him. The villagers were equally enthusiastic, and shared their experiences and initiatives with the celebrity they had only seen on screen.
“It was a wonderful experience,” said Kunal later, on his way back from the field trip. “Meeting children and health workers who are working tirelessly at the ground level was a sort of revelation for me. They are the real foot soldiers, saving precious lives. I was shocked to see those families. They are in dire need of help. They don’t even have enough to eat. It is very sad,” said Kunal.
People listened to him with rapt attention when he shared a piece of advice. “Aap log bade hain, aapki advice sab log dhyaan se sunenge aur apnayenge bhi. Zaroori hai ki aap sabke sath milkar initiative le aur issues ko solve karein,” Kunal told the village elders.
Incidentally, Save The Children roped in Kunal as the face of the charity in 2009 and since then, he has been a part of their global campaigns. Sitting on the doorsteps of one of the modest anganbari centres, while tying his shoelaces, Kunal added, “I am here to see the issue first-hand and then solve it.”
And the villagers also got to see him firsthand. Wherever he went, there would be whispers of “Arre ye toh woh ” Rang De Basanti” wala hero hai na?”
“‘RDB’ was a cult movie and it became so popular that people still relate me with the film,” said the actor.
When an elderly man in the crowd asked him, “Beta kya tum Rishi Kapoor ke bete ho?”, Kunal smiled, and said, “Nahi, nahi, main woh wala Kapoor nahi hoon.”