It is about time that we celebrated stories from our heartland and its unsung heroes: GOLD movie star Kunal Kapoor
It is a rainy day and one feels like pondering over the nitty-gritty of life over a hot cup of coffee. Suddenly then, one gets the chance to speak with one of the finest actors and human beings of the film industry -- Kunal Kapoor. Ahh, What luck!
In an exclusive interaction with Sportskeeda, Kunal shares various anecdotes from his life, discusses his upcoming hockey based film with Akshay Kumar -- 'GOLD,' and much more.
A majority of people are not aware that Kunal is also one of the co-founders of the crowdfunding platform -- Ketto. The goal of the organization is to bring to the fore stories of various individuals, NGO's and help them connect with the right people in order to fulfill their dreams.
"Our aim as Ketto is to change the way giving is done in the country. We want to get more and more people to give and get involved in the social space. In India, there is a certain seriousness attached to the social space, because of which a lot of people stay away from it because they feel it's not for them. However, if we look at the ecosystem in the West, there are a lot of celebrities involved, people come out with new and innovative ways to raise funds and create awareness. The cause is serious but how they approach it is a lot of fun. Hence, the whole space becomes far more inclusive," says a calm and collected Kunal Kapoor.
The platform has helped innumerable athletes achieve their dream by helping them secure the requisite funds for training.
Everyone knows Kunal for his reel life and films like Rang De Basanti, Welcome to Sajjanpur, Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana, and Dear Zindagi -- to name a few. However, it is extremely interesting to get to know about the Kunal Kapoor in real life.
"The intent of Ketto has always been to build partnerships with which we can reach out to more people, the latest one being a tie-up with Super Boxing League. A lot of people like to watch and follow the league, and it has a lot of visibility. The idea behind the tie-up was to raise money for amateur boxers, which can help in funding their training. Ketto makes the process transparent and really easy as one can simply just come online and within a few minutes they can donate to a project or even begin a campaign themselves," adds Kunal, sounding excited on the sheer simplicity of the platform.
GOLD is an upcoming historical sports drama film which is set to release on the coming Independence Day. The film revolves around the Golden Era of Indian hockey and the first ever medal that was won by the Indian hockey team post Independence.
Akshay Kumar will be seen playing the role of Tapan Das and Kunal is playing the center-forward Samrat.
The film is based in 1948 and portrays the immense efforts of the Men's hockey team, the journey of India from being a shadow of the British Empire and facing multiple hardships to becoming a free nation. From the first look in the trailer, the movie looks extremely promising. Here, the quintessential Kunal shares his experience of working in it.
"Shooting for Gold was extremely fun to do. As an actor, you are constantly looking for opportunities where you get a chance to learn something new as well as look at the World from a completely different perspective. I think 'Gold' did both for me as I had never played Hockey before. There is a lot of training that went into it -- 2 and a half months in India, one and a half month in London -- to be precise. Secondly, I have always enjoyed the 30s and 40s era -- as people had an incredible amount of passion towards the country during this time."
To head back to the era and do a sports film must have been an incredible experience for Kunal -- that too -- with such talented co-actors and director Reema Kagti.
"I even got to work with such incredible individuals -- our coach was Michael Nobbs -- the former Indian National Hockey team coach. Working with excellent actors like Vineet Kumar Singh, Sunny Kaushal, and Amit Sadh made my life all the more easier. Of course, there was the extraordinary Akshay Kumar - who is an extremely easy man to work with. It is always fun when Akshay is on the sets. There is something really important that I learned from him - acting involves maintaining a fine balance between taking your work seriously but also having a fun time. Acting is a combination of work and play and Akshay is a person who has mastered that art," added the multi-talented Kunal.
Even though this was a Hockey-based film, the actors in the film even played cricket, volleyball, and football matches in between shoots and while taking breaks.
Kunal is himself the most passionate about two things -- doing good for society and sports. However, the irony currently is that Kunal is so caught up that he has not had a chance to play hockey after the shoot. In fact, our coach Lobo Sir was also keen that the team plays in the fourth division because all the actors had trained so hard for so long, but that has not materialized yet.
"Hockey is an amazing sport -- and one realizes how beautiful it is when one plays. A lot of hard work goes into it. Even though it is already popular, I hope that with this film the popularity increases further."
Many people do not know that Kunal is also a trained rally car driver and pilot. He has trained at a school near Mumbai and participated in a lot of amateur rallies. To top his multitude of talents, Kunal also owns a Private Pilot Licence (PPL).
"I got a chance to go to Abu Dhabi once for Formula Three. However, rally car driving is a hobby and something that I enjoy a lot -- but I am not competing professionally."
When asked about the changing scenario of Bollywood and the increased acceptance of unique Bollywood movies, Kunal responded beautifully:
"There was a phase in the 90s when Bollywood was usually making 'NRI' movies -- which were shot outside India and had an aspirational aspect to them. However, as a country we have evolved and we are looking forward to stories that come from our country, our heroes, and our people. I think that is why we see so many more biopics. I think those are stories that people are more interested in now and this is truly great as there are so many untold stories. The fact that now the audience is ready for that, as an industry, and as an actor you feel you can bring that to them. It is about time that we celebrated stories from our heartland and its unsung heroes."
Another movie, 'Soorma', which showcases legendary drag-flicker Sandeep Singh's story is currently in theatres and doing really well.
The whole film industry has become really exciting as there is so much being done around sports biopics. This certainly spells good news for sports fanatics!
How did you find this exclusive interaction with Kunal Kapoor? Do share what you felt in the comments section below.