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Exclusive! Kunaal Roy Kapur: People need to expand their vision of actors a little

Kunaal Roy Kapur is currently seen in the Voot series Aadha Ishq.

  • Shaheen Irani

Last Updated: 02.41 PM, May 13, 2022

Exclusive! Kunaal Roy Kapur: People need to expand their vision of actors a little
Kunaal Roy Kapur (Image courtesy: Hindustan Times)

Kunaal Roy Kapur has worked in various projects over the years. While he has done a Delhi Belly, Kunaal has also been a part of Tripling and Bandish Bandits. He is now seen in Aadha Ishq opposite Aamna Sharif, Gaurav Arora and Pratibha Ranta. Kunaal plays the second male lead in the series and his character is part-antagonist. He plays a toxic husband, which is new for the actor. Talking about how people need to expand how they view actors, among other things, Kunaal had a tete-a-tete with OTTplay. Excerpts from the interview…

You play Roma's estranged husband in the series. How would you say you contribute to Aadha Ishq. Is it the Aadha Ishq from your side too?

What's interesting is that it's Aadha Ishq no matter whose relationship you see in the entire series. The beauty of it is that it's not on Roma and Saahir's, Milind and Roma, Rene and Saahir, mother-daughter, father-daughter, my relationship with my new girlfriend played by Pooja Bumrrah. All these relationships are incomplete. For me, Aadha Ishq is not the story of one couple but how their romance has affected the other relationships in their lives and how all those love stories are incomplete. It really translates to everyone's story in the series. That's where the title is very apt.

My character Milind, he had a very early start to his relationship with Roma (played by Aamna). They slowly realized they aren't right for each other and end up being estranged. My character is in a way a thorn in the side because he has a lot of resentment, pent up anger, issues with regards to his relationship with Roma which is holding back everybody in the story and moving on in their lives. It is why he's such an important character and cog in adding to the drama of the series.

Is there love between your characters?

There was a time when there was love. Now it is about caring. I play a decent father who is on talking terms with his estranged wife. The love has turned sour. It is at a stage where there's an empty shell of a relationship that he's still holding on to. He feels he has power over the wife after feeling he has been wronged. His character is about not letting go.

Your character is someone who has flaws and vulnerabilities and like we just discussed, you're the estranged husband. So, is this like a 360 degree from Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani?

Yeah, for me, people come to me with likeable or funny character. That is generally the zone in which I get cast but it is always nice to get the opportunity to work in something that is greyer and a lot more brooding. Drama and romance is something I'm more than happy to explore. It's very different from whatever I have done in the past.

You get these opportunities on stage but it takes a little time for you and the people to break you out of that mould. That's why it was very exciting for me to take on something like this because it's a little bit out of the ordinary for me in terms of what comes my way.

You wouldn't fit the box when it comes to a casting director's ideal definition of an actor. Do you believe that you were cast in likeable characters because of how you look? Did you try to understand was that the case?

Not really. People have come to me with different characters in the past but it needs to be an agile story and a fine director. It is a little difficult to find that combo. It's not like people don't come to me with different things at all. I have done a horror film, staright-up drama, I did Tribhanga which was straight-faced. So it's not a rule. Generally, it's one of these things that come. I don't know what the reason is but I guess people like to use you for what you're known for.

You won't go to a Mughlai restuarant and order Chinese food, right? That happens very often with actors as well. People will be more comfortable to cast you when they know you can execute rather than take a chance and say that a hero would be a great villain, anti-hero or cop. People need to expand their vision of actors a little and actors also need to take that step towards breaking out of the box. It's a two-way street and the onus is not only on the people who are casting but also on those making the choices. If that happens, then the choices will expand and people will start seeing you in a different light which is great. I'm more than happy if that's happening.

From what I have seen in your journey, you chose a very quirky character in Delhi Belly itself, which was your claim-to-fame film and then you never repeated your characters per say. So, you always broke out of the mould, no?

You can break stereotype even by staying within the mould. Even the comic roles I have done, they have been very unique so I try to find a nice mix. Be it Tripling, Bandish Bandits or Nautanki Sala, they are all comedy but the tone of the characters and comedy are very different. I try to find what makes a character tick - what are his vulnerabilities and wants. That's how you get a rounded character rather than just a funny guy who people can relate to more. Breaking out doesn't just happen by choice but finding different ways to say, do comedy. Itmf you're true to playing a different kind of character, then it automatically breaks the mould. Then you feel what you're saying becomes true because you're just playing that character and automatically the mould breaking happens. It's what I try to do with every role and character.

You have been on OTT since we only knew about Tripling. Being so long on this platform and now doing Aadha Ishq, what would you say your journey has been like? Also, how did you see it grow over the years?

When I first did Tripling, I was doing it out of trying to explore a new medium. I didn't want to do TV because I don't like the pressure of that many episodes or the pace at which TV works. I'm not talking about quality but the turnaround times in TV. That is too high for me. With OTT, you can do only eight episodes, max 10. That is when you can concentrate on the quality and juice it a little bit. I felt like it is shooting a film.

The production value of Aadha Ishq also looks really good from the trailer itself. We've shot in Kashmir, Mussoorie and the scale of the show looks so amazing so I can safely say that OTT has grown wonderfully over the last five years. It's allowed us to tell so many different stories which may not have translated on to screen because of the journeys of these characters. The best part is that you can return with these characters season after season. You can live with these characters for eight-nine hours of the show. People really connect with those characters because you can choose them.

Films are more concise. You might play a role for 10-20 minutes but here a lot of character actors can also really milk a character through a full season and multiple seasons. It's very liberating in that sense. I hope OTT and cinema can co-exist and find their own space.

Is Bandish Bandits 2 coming and are you in it?

I don't know myself. I don't have any information and even if I did, I wouldn't have the liberty to say anything.

What are your upcoming projects?

I have shot for a few shows but again, I will have to wait for them to announce it. I am doing new seasons of a few shows but that's all I can reveal.