The young star Kunal Khemu is a dynamite of talent waiting to explode. After having proved his mettle as an actor in films such as Kalyug, Traffic Signal and Dhol, Kunal is waiting for that one big HIT and in all probability this year’s Diwali release Golmaal 3 seems like that film. In an exclusive chat with Bollywood Hungama‘s Nikhil Ramsubramaniam, Kunal speaks about being the newest member of the Golmaal team, the idiosyncrasies of his character and much more. Read on!
As the newest member of the Golmaal team, how were you welcomed and treated?
Oh it was great! I still remember the day I had gone to watch the first Golmaal in the theatre and had bumped into Rohit Shetty who had come there to check audience reactions to his film. I wished him all the luck for the film and little did I know then that the film would go on to become such a big hit series and I would also be a part of it one day. When I met Rohit this time during the auditions, I reminded him about our first meeting and he too was pleasantly surprised. I guess its all destiny and I am blessed.
To get to share screen space with a veteran actor like Ajay is great as he has been among the top actors from the time I was a small kid till today
12 years ago you played the younger Ajay Devgn in Zakhm, a landmark film in your career, and now you once again star with Ajay in Golmaal 3. Do you think life has come full circle?
I think so in a way (laughs). It’s been the same with Bhatt saab too. My first film as a child actor (Sir) was with Bhatt saab and my first film as an adult (Kalyug) too was with him. As far as Ajay is concerned, I didn’t really meet and interact with him during Zakhm since we didn’t have any scenes together as I was playing his younger version. I just met him once during the trial show of the film. Many years later, I met Ajay in Pune while I was shooting for Dhol and he was shooting for one of his films and he told me, ‘Oh! You’ve grown up and you’re back.’ To get to share screen space with a veteran actor like Ajay is great as he has been among the top actors from the time I was a small kid till today.
Every character in the Golmaal series is known for his/her idiosyncrasiesâ€¦what’s your character’s speciality in the film?
My character Laxman is someone who talks a lot with a lot of enthusiasm and energy and even keeps quoting famous muhavras and kahawateins but unfortunately most of what he says is rubbish and hardly makes any sense. If you’ve seen the latest promos featuring Shreyas and me, you’ll know what I am talking about.
In the first Golmaal film, Sharman Joshi played the character of Laxman. In Golmaal Returns, Shreyas played the role of Laxman and in Golmaal 3, both Shreyas and you are playing Laxman. Ab Yeh Kya Golmaal Hai?
Yeh Golmaal aap tab samjhoge jab aap film dekhoge. The stories of all the 3 Golmaal films have been different. Yes, both Shreyas and I play ‘Laxman’ in this film though we are as different as chalk and cheese. Shreyas’ character struggles to speak as he has a stammering problem while my character on the other hand keeps on speaking so much that somebody needs to stop him. It’s quite a mad laugh riot.
All of us got along really well as we were put up in this really secluded hotel in Goa where we were shooting for 45 days. So there was a fair bit of bonding between all of us
Considering that the film has an ensemble cast, whom did you best bond with during the making?
To be honest, all of us got along really well as we were put up in this really secluded hotel in Goa where we were shooting for 45 days. So there was a fair bit of bonding between all of us. But my immediate room neighbour was Shreyas and so with him I got to spend a lot more time.
While signing the film, were you apprehensive of getting lost in a crowd considering that Golmaal 3 has a plethora of talented actors?
Not really. I heard the script and I had seen the earlier 2 Golmaal films made by Rohit Shetty in which all the actors had important parts. The Golmaal series of films is not about just one character but an assortment of characters each of whom has an important role to play. Even in this film, credit must be given to Rohit for giving equal footage to all his actors. Almost all of us are there on screen throughout the film.
When you bagged the film, there was a lot of talk that it was Kareena who recommended your name since she knew you well because of your proximity to Soha Ali Khan (Saif’s sister). Did such talks bother you?
Noâ€¦not really because considering the relationship I was in, there was bound to be some kind of speculation. The very next day after the article came out; Rohit Shetty cleared the stand putting to rest all speculation. Even now during promotions, when this question is asked to me, I tell the journos that Rohit or Kareena would be the best people to answer your question. As a matter of fact I got to know Kareena well only during the making of this film and had hardly met her couple of times before that. So as far as I am concerned, there is no truth whatsoever to this story.
I got to know Kareena well only during the making of this film and had hardly met her couple of times before that
Considering that Golmaal 3 is a laugh-riot, what is the funniest moment that you can recollect during shooting?
How can I pick one funny moment yaar? There were nearly 10 funny moments every day during the shooting of this film. Moreover, when you have the likes of Ajay Devgn and Rohit Shetty around, there were also a lot of pranks played on the sets. Thankfully there were no pranks on me but as I was the youngest of the lot, I was the butt of many jokes (laughs).
There were nearly 10 funny moments every day during the shooting of this film. Moreover, when you have the likes of Ajay Devgn and Rohit Shetty around, there were also a lot of pranks played on the sets
Comedy as a genre has really caught on in a big way these days. If you were to pick 3 of your favourite Hindi and English comedy flicks which one would you choose?
One of my all time favourite Hindi comedies is Andaz Apna Apna which is a cult classic. Then there is Padosan with Sunil Dutt and Kishore Kumar who were both phenomenal in that film. And my 3rd choice would be another Kishore Kumar flick- Half Ticket. As far as English comedy flicks go, I am a big fan of Jim Carrey’s films such as The Mask, Ace Ventura series. There is also a film called Singing in the Rain which is really funny though I am not sure if it can be classified as a comedy. It’s more of a musical.
Kunal, as far as your career is concerned you have earned appreciation for your performances in films such as Kalyug, Traffic Signal and Dhol but yet that one big Box Office Hit seems to be eluding you. A lot of people have even labelled as you as an underrated actor who is yet to get his due. Does this bother you?
Honestly, these are things which are in nobody’s control. I mean if anybody knew what the formula of a perfect film is then there would be no Box Office flops at all. As far as being called an underrated actor is concerned, I feel that it’s the best position to play from because then the only way you have to go is UP. I take pride in the films that I do and do them with complete honesty; the rest is not in my hands.
Finally, after Golmaal 3 what are the other projects on your plate?
I am in talks with a few filmmakers but nothing concrete has emerged as yet from these discussions. I believe that the day when you start shooting for a project is the right time to make an announcement about it. As of now it’s just Golmaal 3.