Luke Kenny speaks about his dreams and how he intends to make them come true
It is always better to realise your dream in instalments than to wait for that elusive big break. Luke Kenny wanted to tell a story. He didn’t have the budget or the backing of a producer, so he decided to shoot it in a digital format.
The result is the critically acclaimed 13th Floor, which recently had its satellite television premier on Zee Studio.
“I made it in 2005 when the multiplexes didn’t have the technology to show a digital film. I took my equipment to the two theatres where it was released. It became the first Indian digital film which had a theatrical release.”
Starring Sandhya Mridul and Purab Kohli, the film tells the story of two persons who get stuck in a lift on the 13th floor. Luke says its content is still timely.
“The plot suited the format. It cost me Rs.10 lakhs. It is not something that I experienced, but the idea is intriguing. We often talk about being stuck in a lift. I wanted to build on it. I wanted to shoot it in sync sound, but when I saw results there was lot of background noise. Thankfully, my cast was supportive and we dubbed.”
At that time Luke was working with Channel V. “I used to shoot during weekends and then had to take a few days off.” Very much like his character in Rock On! “Absolutely!”
The first male veejay of Indian television, Luke says he was hired by Channel V not just because of his interest in dance and music but also because his looks appealed to a certain kind of audience that the channel wanted to hook. “I looked like a foreigner but I could speak in Hindi and Marathi as well.”
Over the years veejays were replaced by anchors and Luke lost interest. “The veejay is long dead. The music channels are no longer playing the different kinds of music they were launched to promote. There is an overdose of Bollywood music. It is not that when Channel V and MTV were launched there was no Bollywood music, but there was a balance. It is unfortunate that today only VH1 is offering something different.”
But Luke, who writes columns on music trends, is able to see the business side of it. “At the end of the day every channel needs to see the commercial viability. If Bollywood is helping them achieving it, why should they take the risk? Those who don’t like it should move out and try do their own thing. This is how art has progressed over the years.” Like Luke did.
He has his own band, and after Abhishek Kapoor’s Rock On! he is also getting film offers. “The problem with Indian bands is that they have started late so there is a time lag. Also, for a long time they were happy singing cover versions. So there is no individuality. It is only recently that we have bands singing in regional languages. Again, music needs promotion and corporate backing. It will take time.”
Talking about his acting career, Luke says the good thing about his character in Rock On! was that he spoke normal Hindi and not khayega, jayega. “Those who thought I was foreigner realised that I am one among them.”
However, this confusion is something Luke, of Irish-Italian parentage, has faced time and again. “I was never segregated as such in the society, but in school I was always the white boy, who had to face the wrath of some of the teachers. They seemed to take out their hatred for the British on me.” The country, he says, has given him everything so there was never a question of shifting to a foreign land.