Kunal Roy Kapur, who has been a part of ensemble casts for some time now, and has an impressive filmography, recently made his solo lead debut with ‘The Final Exit’. The actor who lost weight for his role in ‘The Final Exit’ tells us why he did so, and how there are still no romantic or lead roles written for a plus-size actor. He also opens up about sister-in-law Vidya Balan, who is his support system.
Here are excerpts from the interview:
How was your experience as a solo lead in ‘The Final Exit’? How did you prepare for such an unexpected role?
I was quite excited. I am known for my roles in comedy, but this one is a fresh start. I hope people like and accept me in it. People saw me in a new light, and that’s exciting. When director Dhwanil Mehta offered me the film, my first question to them was why did they come to me with the role. I had read the script, and liked the concept as well, but why me. I think they had an idea to make something out of the box, and they started with casting out of the box too by not casting someone you’d expect to be in that role but someone like me instead who people would expect to see in a comic role.
See Kunal Roy Kapur starrer ‘The Final Exit’ trailer here:
People do view you in a certain way, but as an actor you want to constantly break out from that frame, and create an image and then break that and do something different again. And that’s my endeavor as well. I am not here to get stuck in a rut with doing just comedy. I love doing comedy, and I think I do have a certain affinity. Unless I don’t take chances, it doesn’t help me as an actor. To look the part, I lost a little weight, and sat down with Dhwanil to figure what he wanted. That’s the normal effort you’d make towards any movie, I think.
You said you had to lose weight for your role. Why do you think we don’t have lead roles written for plus-size actors?
Well, I think we can’t accept seeing a large person doing dramatic or romantic roles. I think in very few industries in the world would you see a plus-size leading man be a romantic hero or in a thriller. And in my case, I already had a certain perception of being a funny guy, a well-loved person or someone who’s cute and loveable and all of that. I needed to change that. Break the perception. That’s why I lost the weight. But I think it did help my character. Honestly, if I would be able to do it without losing the weight, I wouldn’t have lost the weight, but this was my effort to break out of that mould. And, that’s why I lost weight.
But I do think that people, in general, do find it difficult to accept a fat romantic hero. And that is something that exists in our society, even for a woman. Women are targeted even more than a man is, when it comes to weight. As soon as they put on a few kilos, people start talking out against it.
This is a social thing that is ingrained not only in our society but in most societies around the world. It is very difficult to find someone who has taken a chance and done it. We find very few John Goodman and Jon Favreau, who are large and do dramatic roles or un-funny roles, or even romantic leads. I hope that perception changes because we do need body acceptance. If someone wants to lose weight, then the pressure should come from within. It should be your own pressure that I want to be a healthier person, a fitter person and I want to be better for myself. It shouldn’t be a societal pressure.
Tell us how does it feel coming from a ‘filmy’ family with Vidya and Aditya. Have you ever felt insecure or competitive?
We aren’t exactly a traditional filmy family because we all have entered the industry ourselves. We have found our way in the industry. Vidya Balan (Kunal’s sister-in-law) has come up on her own, Aditya has come up on his own. We all have. We have had tremendous failures in our lives, all of us, whether it is Aditya, Vidya, myself and Siddharth. We have seen successes as well, but with failures we make sure that we support each other and be there for each other in difficult times. There are times when you do have self doubt. You doubt about work, and then family comes in to support. Not ‘filmy’ times at all. We have never had conversations about what happened at work or work pressures because we’ve always made our own decisions. We don’t analyse each other’s decisions. We just share our meals, stand for each other and support each other.
Vidya is like a friend. Now that we have gotten to know her over the last few years, I think she is someone in the industry you can talk to. More than an industry person, she is a nice person to hang out with.