After impressing with his performances in movies like Rang De Basanti, Dear Zindagi, Meenaxi: A Tale of Three Cities and Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana, actor Kunal Kapoor has turned host with Wavemaker’s Spirit of Scotland, a five-episode series that takes viewers on a tour across the country, giving them a peek into Scottish culture, food, traditions and, of course, the picturesque landscape. In an interaction with indianexpress.com, the actor spoke about his idea of a vacation, his favourite country, and life during lockdown.
You recently hosted Spirit of Scotland, as part of which you travelled across the country and explored its many facets. Was this your first visit?
Scotland has been on my travel bucket list for the longest time. I visit England quite often but have never managed to get Scotland on my itinerary. The many misses seem even more surprising considering that some of my best moments with friends and family are over the most Scottish of all exports — its legion of scotches. I’m glad that through the show I could bring some of my experiences back home. Watch the show, as I take you down trails unseen by most over precious drams of gold.
What was the most interesting thing you experienced on your journey?
Scotland is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque places in the world. But what made it special is how warm and welcoming the people are. I travelled through the length and breadth of the country and met wonderful people, some of who were also connoisseurs of the finest whiskies. Also discovering the distilleries behind some of the world’s greatest brands was special. It was fascinating to see the great amount of respect Scots have for their heritage and culture, and they have managed to embrace modernity and also keep the Scottish culture alive.
What, according to you, is the most fascinating thing about Scottish culture?
The country has a history which is unlike any other. And what is really fascinating is the modern-day Scottish culture, which has deep roots in its history. They have an incredible love and respect for their traditions. While I was blown away with how warm the Scots generally are, there’s something extremely remarkable about them that piqued my interest — they have an innate ability to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. Whether that’s in their food or in a bottle of scotch.
Are you a travel enthusiast? Which is your favourite place in the world, and why?
I love travelling! I believe travel is very important for growth. It makes your life so much bigger. You come across different people, learn about them and their cultures and heritage. My favourite country in the world would be Japan. It’s a whole new world — their people, culture are extremely different than anywhere in the world.
What is your idea of a perfect vacation?
When I travel, I love to learn and develop a deep understanding of the place I am going to, beforehand. So I read as many books as possible about the country, to get acquainted with their language, culture, etc. Fortunately, my wife loves travelling and learning as well, so for us going to a new place and learning something rooted in that place, would be an idea of a perfect vacation.
You are also into fitness — what does your regular workout regimen consist of?
I constantly try and learn new things. I think it’s very important to constantly push your limits. So over the years I’ve trained in martial arts, yoga, Pilates, have learnt Tai-Chi. I do hit the gym and have a routine in place but I like to mix it up with other forms of exercise and training as well. Also, fitness I believe should not only be restricted to physical fitness but the focus should also be on emotional and mental fitness. Hence, meditation is also a huge part of my routine. I feel that our approach to fitness has to be holistic and not only focus on the aesthetics.
How do you keep up with your fitness when travelling?
I try to do whatever is available. If there is a gym available I will go there, but if it’s not, I do the basics — climbing stairs, go for a run, cycle around. I also sometimes carry basic gym equipment like a medicine ball, bands, etc, to at least fit in my basic workout in case we are at some remote location. You don’t necessarily need equipment to stay fit, just some creativity. A tree can become a pull-up bar, and a couple of chairs can be turned into equipment.
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Ending the year and decade with a smile on my face and hope in my heart. Hope, that the next decade will bring the world much needed peace, prosperity, equality and happiness. And we'll build more bridges and fewer walls #newbeginnings 📸 @arjun.mark Styled by @shwetabetty
Do you also follow a strict diet plan?
Not really. In fact, I love food and love trying food from different places and different cuisines. I’ve never really been fond of fried or packaged food, so eating healthy comes pretty naturally to me. The diet plan of course, comes into place if I’m training for a film and I have to look a certain way. Then I stick to what I’m advised by my trainer and nutritionist.
With the 21-day lockdown in place, how do you spend your time at home? How has life in quarantine been for you?
I think it’s very important to make the most of this time to learn new things and get better at what you know. I am also the co-founder of an online fundraising platform called Ketto, so we’ve been working from home trying to raise monies for various NGOs and people working in the social space. In the last two weeks we’ve raised Rs 10 crore in the fight against COVID19. Besides that, I’ve been reading a lot of books, writing a couple of scripts. This period has given me an opportunity to spend time with myself and family.
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Getting in touch with the body! The things the body has to do to keep us alive every second is truly amazing. The body by Bill Bryson, one of my fav authors, is just incredible. To truly understand and appreciate what's going on inside you every second, read this book. #InBetweenShots #Body #billbrysonquote
What fitness moves/hacks would you recommend to people now that gyms are shut?
It’s great that we live in a world where there is YouTube and a plethora of online courses available. My recommendation would be to pick up a course and follow it. Or you could simply log onto YouTube and follow the videos.
What does a cheat day meal include?
I have a terrible sweet tooth. I can go through bars of chocolates, or a box of mithai at one go. Luckily, I have a metabolism that’s faster than Usain Bolt.
The Series is also available on Youtube – Spirit of Scotland_Series.
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