Double Role

Résumés can be interesting,especially in Bollywood. The curriculum vitas of the cast and crew often hold more surprises than the bewildering twists and turns of the movie plots themselves.

Written by Debesh Banerjee | Published:January 19, 2009 11:54 pm

Kunaal Roy Kapur on directing his hilarious first movie The President is Coming and moving on to act in Aamir Khan’s Delhi Belly

Résumés can be interesting,especially in Bollywood. The curriculum vitas of the cast and crew often hold more surprises than the bewildering twists and turns of the movie plots themselves. Consider its newest entrant,29-year-old Kunaal Roy Kapur who made a remarkable directorial debut with The President is Coming. His résumé had been like this: dropped out of

St Xavier’s College,Mumbai; assisted Boman Irani whenever the latter picked up a camera; made portraits of old people; did bit roles on stage and played an unremarkable cameo in the side-splitting Loins of Punjab Presents.

You would be hard-pressed to remember Kapur’s character Mr White who waited around with files in his hand in Loins of Punjab Presents,but destiny hung around on the sets. There he met screenplay writer Anuvab Patel. The two shook hands and,when the day’s shoot was over,went to learn scriptwriting. “While shooting for Loins…,Pal and I enrolled at a scriptwriting workshop conducted by Rage Productions and London’s Royal Court Theatre in Mumbai. There Pal wrote the play The President is Coming. He asked me if I would be interested in directing it and I agreed,” Kapur reminisces about the play that was later adapted for the movie,a story of six Indians,each a brilliant caricature,who are vying with each other to be the chosen one who gets to shake hands with the visiting US President George W Bush.

Bush is now packing his stuff to move to a Texan range,while Kapur is basking in the afterglow of the film’s critical success. “I never intended to direct the film or enter Bollywood. I went ahead with the film because the script was interesting. It was my kind of subject,” he says. Although the play had successful shows across Mumbai,Hyderabad and Chennai in mid-2007,both Pal and Kapur knew Bollywood was a different ball game. So Konkona Sen Sharma and Shernaz Patel were added to the cast,some characters and even the plot were tweaked — and the film was made under Rs 3 crore on the sets resembling the US consulate in Mumbai.

Kapur — one of the multitaskers in new Bollywood — does plan to direct another movie,but right now he is acting. “It comes naturally to me,” says Kapur,who has acted in plays since he was a teenager and even done a stint in the television serial Just Mohabbat. Now,he is on the sets of Aamir Khan’s Delhi Belly playing one of the three main characters,along with Imran Khan. So what does he prefer,acting or directing? “Acting gives a huge gratification; direction is a bonus.”

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