FRIDAY REVIEW

Bowling maidens over

ALWAYS LEARNING Kunal Kapoor says every film teaches him something new.   | Photo Credit: PHOTO: SATISH.H

NANDINI NAIR

"Hattrick" hero Kunal Kapoor speaks on movies, inspiration and more.

Now I am not trying to be Kunal Kapoor, I am trying to be the character. Kunal Kapoor

"I started working at 16, by 21 I had gone through 30-odd professions, from working in the stock market to exporting mangoes to Hong Kong." But finally Kunal Kapoor found what he was looking for. "Then I discovered acting. It just feels right. I would do it for free," he asserts. While "Rang de Basanti" made him a name, Kunal has also acted in "Meenaxi: A Tale of Three Cities". "Hattrick" is to be released this week, while he also has two other movies in the pipeline. He is quick to confirm that every movie has been a learning experience. He says RDB "made me". In "Meenaxi" he worked through preconceived notions. He explains, "All actors initially feel that they have to behave and look a certain way, but now I am not trying to be Kunal Kapoor, I am trying to be the character." He is glad that Milan Luthria's "Hattrick" was a very different role from RDB. "While Aslam (of RDB) was the voice of reason," he explains, "Saby of "Hattrick" is a little brash, unlikeable. He acts younger than he is." "Hattrick", according to him, is "connected to cricket and not about cricket". He counts Aamir Khan and Robert De Nero among his all-time favourite actors, because, "They are stars who think like character actors." He admires Aamir because, "His personal persona never takes over."

Uncomfortable!

Kunal Kapoor is the Adonis of Bollywood. But he is comfortable with his appearance. Even if he "cringes" when seeing himself on screen, with a good-natured laugh he says, "I know I am sexy." He clarifies that he does not admire his reflection, but admits that he is completely at ease with his immodest female fan following. "Sexy is as sexy does," he elaborates, "Sanjay Dutt is sexy because of his persona, Aamir because of his mind and Shah Rukh because of his humour." Kunal brings the buoyancy of youth with him. Participating in a cricket match between the "Hattrick" team and a FedEx team, recently in Mumbai, he was all attention to the cameras. The questions got repetitive but he retained his politeness and warmth. "I will have to play baseball for this match," he quips, "because I have a small sprain in my back and can't bend." During childhood, as a cricket fan, fervent prayers for India's victories often made him miss much of the match. Reticent about his new projects, Kunal reveals that Madhuri is his all time favourite and "shooting with her has been a lovely experience." He will be seen opposite her in the forthcoming "Aaja Naachle".Kunal also admits to passions other than cinema. He is interested in singing, even if he admits he is not good at it. He says he enjoys writing, it is what he does for complete fun. Has he ever thought of publishing his work? "No," comes the immediate reply, "If it is published... people will perceive me differently... they will see me as a little... unstable," he smiles conspiratorially.