Actor Kunal Kemmu thoroughly enjoyed playing Nandan in Lootcase. “I also come from a humble background and I could relate to all of those things,” he said. Lootcase, directed by Rajesh Krishnan, premiered on Disney Plus Hotstar on July 31. The comedy-drama also stars Gajraj Rao, Vijay Raaz, Ranvir Shorey and Rasika Dugal.
Lootcase revolves around a red suitcase full of money which is being chased by a middle-class man, a politician, a don and a cop. In an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com, Kunal Kemmu got candid about Rajesh Krishnan’s genre of comedy, picking characters with varied shades and the new trend of films releasing on OTT platforms.
Here are excerpts from the conversation:
Q. What is the interesting part of playing a middle class man onscreen?
I really enjoyed playing Nandan. In fact, I was very sad when the film ended. Several dialogues with my onscreen son reminded me of my own growing up days, like demand to go to EsselWorld or getting a bicycle on my birthday. It’s so unapologetically relatable. Nandan comes from a space of innocence. We never considered it a funny film and thought to do something funny. It is funny in being the normal sense that it is in.
Q. Both you and Rajesh Krishnan have your own style of comedy. What more did you learn from him?
He has a different energy when it comes to emotions. I’ve never seen anyone bring it out the way he does. Like when I did 99 with Raj and DK, I could not tell what’s different about it. But when you see it, you’ll know it’s a different brand of humour. Even Go Goa Gone is different. Similarly, Rajesh Krishnan has a very simplistic humour. He’s also been a lead ad filmmaker for the last 15 years and made some of the most iconic ads. I really hope that what we are trying to say and be in the film translates on screen.
Ab aur suspense ke saath nahi reh sakte, humein janna hai suitcase hai kiska! 😛 Watch the most entertaining chase for #Lootcase – streaming from 7.30 pm tomorrow!https://t.co/fNmWR07Cyp #DisneyPlusHotstarMultiplex @kunalkemmu @raogajraj @RasikaDugal @aryannprajapati pic.twitter.com/u3XCzrnMGt
— Disney+HotstarVIP (@DisneyplusHSVIP) July 30, 2020
Q. Lootcase stands out for its amazing cast. Did you ever feel intimidated?
I feel excited and happy around such actors. Comedy is such a give and take relationship – the better the actor, the better the scene works. Honestly, actors always enhance each other’s performances if you get it right. These are brilliant actors and I knew it will add so much fun to the whole thing. Also, the suitcase was getting the centrestage all the time and it didn’t even have to work hard, learn lines or perform. It is not even coming to promote the film. (laughs)
Q. You and Rasika seem like a typical Indian couple. How did you develop the chemistry?
I’ve met her a couple of times before doing the film. I’ve also seen her work and she’s so good. It was also a leap of faith for her because everything she did before this was so serious, like Delhi Crime and Mirzapur. So for her to get into this groove was amazing. We never had a scene where we had to struggle through it, or our timings were off. She pretty naturally came into it and we got the scene right in the first one or two takes. Our chemistry is going to be different from the combination we’ve seen on screen.
Q. From Golmaal to Kalank, Malang, Abhay and now Lootcase, you seem to be picking very different characters. Do you think you are at a stage in your career where you can take risks?
Honestly, it’s never about risks for me. I love being an actor, and it goes beyond the fame and money that comes with it. I’ve never stayed away from anything and have only chosen from the work that’s come my way. If Malang or Kalank had come to me in 2008, I would have done it. When something works in this industry, it’s very easy to get typecast. When I was doing Kalyug or Traffic Signal, people thought I would only do serious stuff and drama. So I had to make them believe otherwise by doing an ensemble like a Dhol, Golmaal or Go Goa Gone, and all were different kinds of comedies.
Abhay, Kalank and Malang, all happened in one year. I was surprised that after comedies, I was getting such films. But I’m happy I did it all. They’ve been very fulfilling experiences. It adds another feather to my cap when people say they loved me in comedies but they also loved me in negative roles. That gives me confidence in my own range and motivates me to do better.
Q. You expressed unhappiness over Lootcase’s announcement by Disney Plus Hotstar. What’s the state of mind when your work gets sidelined?
I can’t say it doesn’t affect you. Of course, it does. Actors are emotional people. If an emotional person works hard on something and it doesn’t get recognised, forget getting liked which is secondary, I don’t think there’s a bigger pain. It’s like “I’ve worked hard and you didn’t even look at it, or give me a chance.” But that’s a separate thing. The (Disney Plus Hotstar) conference was a separate thing. It did not even come to a point of hurt because I wasn’t aware of it. I honestly thought our film has been pushed and it wasn’t a part of this. So obviously when I found out that our film has been announced, I definitely believed it deserves a platform to promote as other films. Why it happened, I don’t know. What I said during that point of time was the opinion then and there. I do not hold grudges. I do not try to pick villains. I believe in learning from something.
Q. Has making a digital debut become the obvious progression for actors in the current times?
When OTT platforms entered, nobody knew about it. Some people thought it’s a bubble which will burst soon. But in the past few years, we have developed and put out content which we can be very proud of. We’ve discovered actors, writers, directors, technicians we did not know of and who are phenomenal. Here, at least you aren’t fighting for shows and theaters and space, and it’s not limited to time. Here is a space where you might discover a show a month later and then just be amazed by it. Projects, high and low budgeted, will all be in the same library for you to choose from.
Q. How do you see the trend of films releasing on OTT?
It’s unfortunate that we are going through this pandemic. These are new things we are getting into. I don’t think this would’ve been an organic way otherwise. But it’s not like cinema is not going to exist. The whole experience of cinema cannot be replicated on an OTT platform. Even for a film like Lootcase, there’s a different energy when you watch it with 300 people, especially a comedy. So cinemas will coexist with OTT platforms. Some films will specifically be made for OTT. Then there will be films which will release in theaters and eventually end up on an OTT platform to see later.
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