| In the head: Kunal Kapoor
After the stock markets, a textile company and a construction house, Kunal Kapoor finally bumped into Rakeysh Mehra, who didn't have the 'Y' in his first name then and made ads rather than movies. Kunal was Mehra's model for the Shell oil commercial. After the shoot, Kunal walked up to Mehra and asked: 'Can I join your team' Mehra replied: 'What will you do' 'I will just hang around on the sets,' smiled Kunal.
The casual hanging around went on to evolve into being part of Mehra's principal cast for his second feature film Rang De Basanti. 'Even when I assisted Rakeysh for Aks, I would love to go in front of the camera, for rehearsals or light set-ups,' Kunal tells Metro. 'There was this really strong desire to become an actor.'
That desire did materialise, when Kunal auditioned for M.F. Hussain's Meenaxi: A Tale of Three Cities. 'The screen-test was a complete disaster when I had to do a humourous role seriously,' he recalls. 'But Hussainsaab asked me to do it again and I was on.'
Halfway through the making of Meenaxi Kunal realised that acting was his true calling. 'I went to Naseeruddin Shah and worked with his theatre group for two projects. In fact, it was in Calcutta that I shared stage with him for the first time during The Prophet.'
Meanwhile, Mehra had readied the script of Rang De Basanti and wanted Kunal to read it, just as a friend. 'After going through the script, I really liked the part that I am now playing,' Kunal says. 'Thankfully, things didn't work out with the actor who was supposed to do the role. So, I became Aslam, the middle-class boy from Chandni Chowk who lives in constant volatility.'
Quiz him about his love interest in the movie and pat comes the reply from Kunal: 'I have four ' Aamir Khan, Siddharth, Sharman Joshi and Atul Kulkarni. It's quite amazing that all of us hit it off instantly and the relationship went beyond the sets.'
So much so that Kunal was one of the few Bollywood guests at Aamir's marriage. 'For me, it was just a friend's wedding and we had a lot of fun and masti.'
Awaiting the release of Rang De Basanti on January 26, Kunal hasn't signed on anything new. 'I am just obsessed with movies. I will surely take up new acting assignments and would also look at directing films some day.'