COMIC TURN: Kunal Khemu


KUNAL KHEMU DISCUSSES HIS NEW FILM LOOTCASE

by ASJAD NAZIR

EVERYONE has at some staged imagined what it would be like if they suddenly found themselves in possession of loads of money. Brand new Bollywood comedy Lootcase explores that with hilarious results and revolves around a hapless young family man struggling to pay the bills, who stumbles upon a suitcase filled with money, and whilst he decides what to do with it the villainous owners want it back. Kunal Khemu plays the lead role in the comedy caper, which has received praise for the hilarious promos and early indications are he is onto a winner.

Eastern Eye caught up with Kunal to talk about Lootcase, acting, comedy and more.

Is the biggest challenge you face, finding great and unique projects?
Great and unique projects are a mix of a great script, a good director, a good producer, good technicians and a good cast. Movie making is a team effort and putting that right team together is a challenge and for me, as an actor, it is about finding and being able to fit myself in some of those projects.

What led you towards the Lootcase project?
I loved the script to start with, and I could see the different take the writer and director had on certain situations and humour. And when I met and jammed with the people in the team, including the director, producer and technicians, it turned out to be ‘that team’ I just mentioned.

Tell us about the film and character you play?
Lootcase is similar and yet so different to so many stories we may have seen or heard before. In one instance, it may seem like a common man finding a bag filled with money and then landing into a whole world of trouble that comes with it, and people who are looking for it story. So yes that’s what the one line is, but the devil lies in the detail.

What do you mean?
It’s the newness to each character and situation, and the treatment of every scene in terms of humour that sets it apart from all that may have been seen or heard before. I play Nandan Kumar in the film. Every man in the audience will relate to him in some way or the other. I have loved every second of playing Nandan, as he became one of my most endearing parts because the director (Rajesh Krishnan) let me make it my own, and bring in elements to his personality that I really wanted to. I just fell in love with the part during the making of the film.

How does this compare to your other films?
It’s a different character and a different film altogether. So I don’t know how and why I should compare it to anything. But in terms of funny, I think this would be in the top three for sure, at least for me. Lootcase also has an insanely talented cast of actors who I have always admired.

You are a versatile actor, but how much do you enjoy comedy?
A lot actually! I’ve always loved to make people laugh even generally in life. It just becomes so much more fun when you get together with other people who love to do the same, and you get a chance to improvise and put together something you enjoy performing and people enjoy watching.

How much does it help you when there are so many great actors in the film?
Acting is all about action and reaction, so unless you are performing a monologue the impact a scene and your performance will have totally depends on the actors in the scene. So it makes a world of a difference when you have good actors, especially in comedy, where you feed off one another’s energy and timing. I’ve been blessed to be part of this film that has an army of such brilliant actors.

What is your favourite moment in the movie?
There are so many. Some didn’t even make it to the final cut. But it’s loaded with so many moments that I have loved and laughed at. Like the moment when my son in the film says I know things are tight at home money wise, but please don’t cancel my water park.

Would you share any behind-the-scenes stories from Lootcase?
There is this moment in the film where Nandan opens the suitcase for the first time at home and realises what actually is in it. Rajesh (director) and I had discussed that scene so many times before we shot it. We tried to think of different ways of playing it out and even acted it out for each other in different moods and variations. But when we actually got on set and I sat in front of the suitcase something just felt off. I remember going to him and telling him to let’s forget everything that we thought of and let me do this in the way you will now finally see in the film.

What happened next?
I wasn’t sure if it would work and I could see the same look in his eyes, but he trusted me and his own instincts, and we finally did it in that never thought or tried way. It just felt so right when Nandan just gets super emotional and talks to the money saying “Kidhar tha re tu, kitna dhoonda maine tujhe saari zindagi” (where were you, I searched for you my whole life).

What kind of comedies do you enjoy?
I enjoy all kinds of comedies as long as they are actually funny.

Which comedy actor would you say you admire the most?
Steve Carell.

Who is the funniest person you know in real life?
My friend Niyamat is just naturally funny and that’s the best humour.

What can we expect next from you?
The unexpected.

Today what inspires you?
My daughter.

Why should we watch Lootcase?
Because you deserve to watch a good film that makes you laugh and have a good time whether you are alone, with a friend or your whole family.

Lootcase is in cinemas now.