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A `silsila' continues...

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REEL LIFE Kunal Khemu.
REEL LIFE Kunal Khemu.

RANA SIDDIQUI

Kunal Khemu on `Silsila', his character in Madhur Bhandarkar's "Traffic Signal" releasing this Friday.

I always choose script keeping in mind whether I would like to spend 100 rupees to watch that film.

For once you may feel that Kunal Khemu's dishevelled appearance lands him great roles in big films. It started with Mahesh Bhatt's "Kalyug" and continues with "Traffic Signal". As a boy living at a traffic signal, Kunal is called Silsila in the film directed by Madhur Bhandarkar. That explains the unkempt look. Why such unusual name, you may ask. Kunal keeps it a secret. "Someone asks me the same question in the film. You will find the answer there. It's a surprise," he quips. Silsila is a kind of supervisor for those working at the signal. He makes sure that all of them get some means of earning. "He gets them employment through his resources and makes sure no one is exploited," he reveals.For Kunal, all of 23, who has been seen as the young Ajay Devgan in Bhatt's "Zakhm", the role of `silsila' is like a "dream come true"."I have grown up watching these people at traffic signals of Mumbai. Some time they smile at you so warmly that you take it home. It's amazing to see how a young, frail mother feeds her child on these signals and then gets on to begging. Such images were always imprinted on my mind. And when Madhur called me to his office and told me the whole story without telling that he wanted me in it, I recalled these moments. Suddenly he said that he wanted me to play `Silsila'. I jumped with joy," reveals Kunal.Reel from realTo play the role, Kunal spent quite a lot of time watching their body language. "They are usually loud and use a lot of slang while speaking. They are real bindaas. So, to look like them and yet different, I was given a different hairstyle, tanned and was made to put collyrium in my eyes. I had always thought of them, especially eunuchs on signals as heartless. But working with them was an exercise in revelation. They became like family members. Eunuchs used to treat me like their child. Voh roz aakar meri nazar utar dete thhe. It was very touching," he recalls. And because of this unusual name, he became popular on the sets. Among many child artistes as Jugal Hansraj, Ayesha Takia, Sammir Dattani, Baby Guddu and so on, most are trying find a secure position under the Bollywood sun. But Kunal was a little lucky to have landed Bhatt's film followed by Bhandarkar's. He owes it to his choice of scripts in which his father helps him out."I always choose script keeping in mind whether I would like to spend 100 rupees to watch that film. If I hadn't done that, I would have ended up with unconvincing and repeat roles. This time I have laid my hands on Priyadarshan's comedy called Dhol. It was a refreshing change. We have completed its shooting recently," he states.For this commerce graduate from NM College, Mumbai, his major interest in theatre and music has drilled in him a habit of taking things easily. "I never look back to see what I played in my childhood roles. Those were different times. I just concentrate on my work and so far I really have nothing to complain about."


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