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Of destiny and dessert

ANUJ KUMAR
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Table For Two As Kiran Kumar returns to the small screen with “Chhajje Chhajje Ka Pyar”, the seasoned actor says he loves to wait for his choice of role and food

Doting on desserts Kiran Kumar at The One in Le Meridien, New Delhi Photo: V. Sudershan
Doting on desserts Kiran Kumar at The One in Le Meridien, New Delhi Photo: V. Sudershan

“F or me eating has a lot to do with the mood I am in, the people I am with and the ambience.” Kiran Kumar makes himself absolutely clear, and once he gets a hang of what the column is all about he comes up with his own ideas. “Non-vegetarian doesn't look visually appealing . Let's try some desserts. They are very photogenic,” says the seasoned actor as he settles at The One, the bustling coffee shop of New Delhi's Le Meridien hotel.

Someone suggests, the buffet is on! “I hate buffet. I find it a vulgar display of food. Even if you take one teaspoonful of each item, chances are that you complain of overeating.” Anything to drink? “I think canary juice will fit the colour scheme; its red colour gives the impression of red wine. Please serve it in stemmed glasses.” Kumar goes on to show how to hold it. “If you don't hold it by the stem and closer to the bowl, it reflects your poor wine drinking etiquette.” Well, he could have the real thing, comes another suggestion. “No, for me alcohol is for holidays. Two pegs of vodka and the wife coming up with some delicious dishes through the day… that is my idea of an off day,” says Kumar while pointing out how his long, pointed nose is proving to be an obstruction in enjoying his equivalent of red wine. “The real thing is served in glasses with wider bowls so that the wine can breathe and people like me with pointed noses could enjoy it better.”

Striking a balance

His any-time, anywhere food, however, is “piping hot pooris with aloo tamatar ki sabzi followed by phirni in kulhars (terracotta cups).” Isn't he a Kashmiri by origin? “Yes, I do try wazwan once in a while but if you have it regularly in Mumbai, it is a sure-shot way to get high blood pressure. Striking a balance is a must. In India people have a strange habit of eating cereal with cereal. It is one of biggest causes of health problems,” says Kumar digging deep into the dessert platter.

Talking about origins, many of us take Kumar to be a Gujarati considering his superstar status in the State. After hearty laughter, Kumar explains, “No, in the beginning it was just a one-off film that I did at the request of Asha Parekh but the film did so well that in the next 10 years I did some 80-odd films and most of them did record business in the State. There were producers and directors who stopped making films after I left the industry. Even in my television shows, you can clearly see the major difference between the TRPs from Ahmedabad and Surat and cities from other States. You won't believe how after 12 years, last year, I did a film called Mota Bha (Elder Brother) and it broke all records,” relates Kumar, making short work of the scoop of chocolate pastry.

This makes this FTII graduate and son of popular villain Jeevan is a firm believer in destiny. Considered a non-actor for a long time, critics discovered his acting chops when he switched to television and did serials like Zindagi and Katha Sagar. “I don't analyse it. I keep on reminding myself that there are many who want to be in Kiran Kumar's shoes. However, I have always preferred taking a break over repeating myself. When you are hungry people expect you to eat anything. I prefer waiting for my choice of food,” says Kumar who recently spent several days in Delhi shooting for his latest tele-series Chhajje Chhajje Ka Pyar for Sony Entertainment Television.

“It is the positivity of the show that brought me back to television. It presents the relations between a landlord and tenant in a new light. Nobody shouts here. For men, Sunday is about joining hands and cooking something new in the kitchen. The simple joys of life… Avtar Sehgal is polite with everybody, he adds ‘ji' to his wife's name but this doesn't mean he is a hen-pecked husband.” Is there scope for such little details on television anymore?

“It depends on the writing and the quality of the actor. A good actor can improvise in a few minutes, for some a lifetime is not enough!” Kumar has shot extensively at Greater Kailash Gurdwara, Moolchand flyover and Old Delhi railway station and in his free time he experimented with desserts. “Nathu's rasmalai is outstanding.”

ANUJ KUMAR

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