In an exclusive interview, the actor speaks about how his character has evolved, his journey, what keeps him motivated, upcoming projects, and more.
Actor Kunal Kemmu made his OTT debut with ZEE5’s Abhay in 2019. The show is now back with the third season, one that is said to be darker and edgier. The actor will be seen reprising the role of the bad-tempered but brilliant investigating officer, Abhay Pratap Singh. He will be facing many unknown threats while trying to balance his professional and personal life. In an exclusive interview with us, the actor speaks about how his character has evolved, his journey, what keeps him motivated, upcoming projects, and more. Excerpts:
How was it working on Abhay 3? Does it feel like a homecoming?
It’s always been wonderful ever since we started this journey. I enjoyed playing this character that was so different from who I am, but as I discovered this character through season 1, I got very fond of him in a lot of ways, and the fact that we have gotten the opportunity, thanks to the audiences’ love and appreciation for the show to do it, not just for the second but for the third time. For me, it’s exciting to go back and dress up as Abhay Pratap Singh every time I am on the sets.
How is this one going to be different from what we’ve already seen? How is Abhay Pratap Singh going to evolve?
Abhay evolves according to the story that kind of unfolds in front of him and we have something very new in season 3 which comes into play because of Vijay Raaz’ character in the show. He has an interesting part that the audiences haven’t seen in Abhay. It’s very different visually, in the narrative also, there’s a little bit of a change from how the show has been in the first two seasons.
Both the seasons have been a big success. How does it feel and what are your expectations from season 3?
It’s very rewarding and very exciting to be in this position. When I started this journey, I was not sure how it was going to be received, and the fact that people loved it, resulted in another season. We are happy and excited to see how Season 3 is accepted by the audiences. We all are looking forward to what new and different we will be doing in the future seasons.
Do you think Abhay was a game-changer for you? What attracted you to the script?
I think it’s been a big boost for me not only as an actor but also as somebody who works in this industry. I was attracted to Abhay for the space that the show was based in and it was a character I have never played before. It is so different from who I am as a person in real life or from the characters I have played so far. I do like the world of crime, and investigation. I think it was a mix of all of that. I don’t know if calling it a game-changer is the right word, but Abhay is something that I am hugely proud of. It has given me a lot of happiness and a lot of recognition.
How do you look back at your journey? You started as a child actor. How has it been so far?
I faced the camera for the first time when I was 6 and I started doing films at the age of 8, honestly, when I look back, I am filled with gratitude and I am very thankful that I had gotten opportunities to do what I wanted to do. Yes, the journey has been filled with ups and downs, good days and bad days. At the moment, I am still on that journey and I don’t think much about it. If I turn back and look at my journey, I feel happy and grateful that I am still doing what I love.
What keeps you motivated?
I think it would be my job as an actor – the stories I am a part of keep me excited and motivated. The fact that I get to play a different part every time I am on the sets is something that makes me happy. Besides that, the validation, the acceptance, and the love that comes from the audiences, the fans, the critics, or the people I work with is something that keeps me motivated on the daily basis.
Do you think you’ve got your dues as an actor?
I will only know this on the day I decide to retire, maybe then we can do a report card which would result in saying, average, great, good, or poor. That is the day I get to decide if I got my dues or not because I am still on this journey and the report card is still in process.
Bollywood is not an easy industry. We often talk about ageism when it comes to female actors or how they have to look a certain way. I want to understand what are the struggles that a male actor has to go through? We don’t talk about it often.
Every actor has a struggle on a day-to-day basis whether it’s about getting older, how they look, if they are not getting the roles which they want to play, health issues, etc. It impacts the confidence of an actor. All of it can happen with actors, irrespective of gender. Besides that, as actors, we are constantly in the public eye and our private and public life also gets blurred. With work, it’s also a lot of mental and emotional pressure and that is also responsible for a good day at work or a bad day at work.
Kunal, at this point in your career, how important is it for you to play the lead?
I feel those definitions and those lines are getting blurred every single day. We are no longer making films where heroes are all white or villains are all black. Some stories are not necessarily about the hero, they are about the family. So, the definition of a leading man can change according to projects. In Golmaal, we all are leading actors or in Abhay, even the villains in the story are equally important. I have always been doing characters that are important to the show or film than deciding it based on being the lead.
Do you think OTT platforms are a game-changer?
Yes, OTT platforms are a game-changer as it has been an equalizer – a lot of content that would probably not get made, or wouldn’t find an audience is now being explored and watched. I am particularly talking about the films that release on streaming platforms. Web shows have always been made for these platforms but original films are now being made for OTT. It allowed a lot of talents, not just actors, and directors but writers, producers, and technicians to be able to find a project that could be financed and viewed by people.
What’s next? Are we going to have a Go Goa Gone sequel?
I don’t have any official word on either Golmaal 5 or Go Goa Gone 2, but I have finished Kanjoos Makkhichoos, which will be released in a couple of months, there’s a show that I have but cannot talk about it. I have some exciting stuff lined up.
(Featured Image Credits: Instagram)