Turning writer for his next projects, Kunal Kapoor talks about his comeback satire, Kaun Kitne Paani Mein
2015 has been an interesting year for Kunal Kapoor. Not only did he tie the knot with Amitabh Bachchan’s niece, Naina Bachchan, in February, he also has a release, director Nila Madhab Panda’s Kaun Kitne Paani Mein, which hits screens next week. Kapoor’s comeback film after three years, the satirical love story has a quirky tagline: “When there’s no water, you play dirty.” It has the actor playing a prince of a royal household in a village in Orissa that has no water. “When I heard the script, I found it amusing—that in this village, we use water as currency to barter for goods. Then Madhab sir told me it wasn’t a figment of his imagination, but derived from his real life,” says Kapoor, who signed the film because of its unusual setting and quirky characters. He also adds that the relationships in the film are worth watching out for. “Take my relationship with my father, the king (played by Saurabh Shukla). I am the only educated person in the village, so I’m constantly bickering with him. As for my love interest, Radhika Apte, I woo her because she comes from a village that has water. It’s strange, funny and real at the same time,” he laughs. A first timer to Orissa, Kapoor took a tour of the villages with Madhab to get a sense of its culture. He also spent time with a prince, to get acquainted with his character. “The rest of the research was through debates with Madhab, who is a local. We spent hours discussing water, politics and the nuances of the story,” adds the 37-year-old.
Full of ideas
Last seen in Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana (2012), Kapoor has been keeping busy writing three screenplays. In fact, he is already in talks with directors and producers to make them into feature films—though he does not see himself in the director’s chair anytime soon. Nicknamed the Matthew McConaughey of India by the New York Times, Kapoor shares, “Writing is one thing that’s come naturally to me as I was a former columnist with Hindustan Time’s weekly supplement. I used to stow away ideas and pen down short stories even during the days I assisted shoots. I am currently writing an action flick, a comedy and a musical side by side.” The action flick, in which he will be starring, will go on floors shortly, he adds.
Jack of all trades
Speaking about the current crop of films in Bollywood, Kapoor picks Piku and Dil Dhadakne Do as his favourites, and says he’s excited to be part of the world of emerging digital media, especially with television seeing interesting content, like 24. On a day away from movies, Kapoor reckons he’d wake up early and fly his plane (he’s a trained pilot), touch down and go racing (he’s a professional Formula 3 rally racer), come back home and pen his experiences of the day, read his favourite graphic novels and comics, especialy Manga, and wind down with family.
Kaun Kitne Paani Mein releases on August 28
Panda’s point of view
Director Panda is the talk of Bollywood with the trailer of Kaun Kitne Paani Mein being tweeted extensively by many in the industry, including Hrithik Roshan and Karan Johar. “Cinema is not just a medium of entertainment. The crux of the story needs to stay with the audience long after the credits roll. That’s why I lace humour with satire in my films,” says Panda. Lauding films like Masaan, Court and Aankhon Dekhi, the director’s next project deals with the food and shelter crisis pan India, though he’s yet to finalise where to backdrop it. “As a filmmaker, I need to see myself in the film, be able to connect with it,” he says. Had he not donned the director’s hat, the 41-year-old believes he’d have taken to farming in his village in Orissa, as he considers it one of the most rewarding professions in the world. With his film I am Kalam having made its mark at Cannes in 2010, Panda says he has been considering making a biopic on Abdul Kalam for the last two years. “It is definitely on my bucket list, though it’ll take a lot of research to get the film just right,” he concludes.