Manav Kaul, who began his journey as a junior artist, a theatre writer and director, stole audience attention with his commendable performance in Wazir, while his upcoming movie Jai Gangajaal will explore a newer side of him and his three upcoming releases are scheduled to come on board this year.
The theatre actor and writer talks about his slow but steady growth as an actor and his interesting role in the forthcoming Jai Gangaajal.
You have got a lot of appreciation for Wazir.
It is overwhelming. I even got a message from Amitabh Bachchan.
Your next film Jai Gangaajal is about to be released. Is it a villainous character too?
Bablu Pandey (of Jai Gangaajal) is an MLA. He is not a negative character; I would call him grey-shaded. It’s one of the most emotional characters I have played. He is an honest person who values friendship.
How was the experience of being directed by Prakash Jha and to also have him as a co-actor in the film?
We have become very good friends. It is amazing to see him wearing two hats -- as a director he is very sure and as an actor he is wonderful. He always works with utmost surrender.
Did he audition you before asking you to play Bablu Pandey?
No, I met Prakashji and he narrated the character. We met again, I started reading the script, and after a couple of readings, we mutually decided, ‘Let’s do this’. He liked my ideas about my character.
What are your thoughts on playing negative characters?
The industry has changed for the better. It’s not about heroes and villains, each and every person, including our heroes, play characters. Ranbir Kapoor and Ranveer Singh are such amazing actors; they are demanding and perform so well. It’s amazing competition. I love this. If you don’t perform, you are out.
How do you work off the aggression required to play such characters?
I have been in theatres from the past 20 years; I have watched people direct plays. I have lived a rich life and seen a lot of people from close quarters. So I feel all the emotions are within me, and I draw on them and I perform very honestly.
What have you learnt from your long period of struggle?
I don’t think I had a struggling period; I think of it as a story to tell. I played a junior artiste in films like Champion, I did theatre, I lived in a chawl ... but I don’t see it as a struggle, I think of these as amazing stories. I am here today because I have lived in this fashion. There are amazing people in Mumbai who helped me since I was always broke.
You are a writer-director in theatre. Do you feel like expanding your horizons to writing for films too?
No. I write in for myself and not for anyone else. I experience unalloyed joy because my short
story collection called Sif Tumhare Peeche will be published in March.