Mumbai — He’s the different Kapur — not just from his brothers Siddharth (head honcho of Disney.com aka UTV) and Aditya (of “Aashiqui 2” and “Daawat-E-Ishq” fame) — but as a species.
Essentially a theater person, Kunaal Roy Kapur found his way into cinema through friend Rohan Sippy’s English production “The President Is Coming” (2009), which he directed as the screen remake of his play of the same name. Though before that he had acted in some forgettable films in small roles, it took him two years to get his first recognition with Aamir Khan’s “Delhi Belly” (2011), wearing a beard in that film and earning acclaim as part of an ensemble cast. Then came Sippy’s “Nautanki Saala!” and a brief role in “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani” (2013).
Kunaal comes across as a sweet and unassuming gentleman, never shy about the truth that he is not (at least yet) star material and would rather assess roles he takes up in cinema in terms of variety. His specs and frame are not hero material and he is cool about it.
He plays Ajay Devgn’s friend and right-hand, almost his agent in a sense, in “Action Jackson” and would rather look for what he would term good roles in films where the director has faith in him. “For me, cinema is a director’s medium and about how he sees me best,” declares Kapur. “Prabhudheva has his own brand of filmmaking that is grounded and visually engaging,” he told India-West. “His comedy is of the purest level – for it is not dialogue-heavy. It was a challenge to execute his vision that was so clear. It was a completely different space for me. But I am furious that he has not even given me one dance in the film!” he says in mock anger. “It’s disgusting and when I told him that he just said, ‘…In next film!’”
Kunaal opened up with Devgn as shooting went along. “I really appreciate the man. He goes back to his home and kids after the shoot, and we talk very normally about things like children and [school] admissions rather than making film-heavy conversations.”
Most of Kunaal’s work has been in the funny space, including in this film, and he would like to try other things now. “I think comedians can really make good villains!” he points out.
The actor knows that there is nothing waiting out there for a solo lead. “Who will sign me? The budget of the film will have to be almost zero!” he says good-humoredly. He adds seriously, “We need more and more good writers out here to create space for an average-looking guy like me.”
What is the key difference between the stage and screen for him? “On stage, the pacing is between the audience and the actor. There is that line between them that tells you whether you are on the right track or not. In films, that chord is struck when after giving your shot you see the director’s face before the monitor. For in cinema, the director is the filter between the audience and the actor.”
But he admits that cinema is so big that even the biggest actor is just a cog. “Everyone’s important, even the costume designer,” he says.