He played the shrewd and sly politician in Abhishek Kapoor’s Kai Po Che! And very soon he will be seen in Hansal Mehta’s City Lights along with Rajkumar Yadav.
He played the shrewd and sly politician in Abhishek Kapoor’s Kai Po Che! And very soon he will be seen in Hansal Mehta’s City Lights along with Rajkumar Yadav. Manav has been doing experimental theatre for ages now, but the positive transformations in Hindi cinema lured Kaul to try out some strong character roles on the big screen. And here he is, making the most of his time after Kai Po Che and keeping himself busy with the thing that stirs his soul the most – ‘acting’.
Do movies give hardcore theatre lovers like you the same high as performing on the stage does?
Well, cinema has changed so much. Amazing films are being written these days. Films like Shahid are being made. Kai Po Che was a great learning experience. I was given the opportunity to perform the way I wanted to, I was given a great amount of freedom. The craving for theatre will always be there; but since there’s this brilliant change happening in Bollywood, who wouldn’t be tempted to try out this domain as well.
After Kai Po Che, you will be seen sharing screen space with Rajkumar again in City Lights, how’s the rapport between you guys?
In Kai Po Che there was just this one scene I had with him. And even though I acted only for a brief moment with him, I told him then and there that I wanted to work with him again. We improvised a lot in City Lights. Our chemistry was so good that we used to laugh practically after every scene, ‘coz all of them would turn out to be just so perfect. It was unbelievable. I couldn’t ask for more.
Tell me something, what is City Lights all about?
It’s a journey of two people who move from Rajasthan to Mumbai and the way they are treated in the city. My character is someone who Rajkumar meets in the city and starts working with him.
What kind of an actor you would want people to perceive you as?
I always want to surprise myself. I want to do much more challenging things as an actor. I totally think that I will surprise the hell out of people in City Lights.
Have you ever tried your hand at doing television?
Yes, I have a long back. TV is a lot of hard work ya. I don’t think I can give time to television right now. It’s an amazing medium though. But if something interesting comes up, then why not.
Who do you think has the brightest future – Sushant Singh Rajput, Amit Sadh or Rajkumar Yadav?
It totally depends on the kind of films they choose. But since you asked me not to be diplomatic (laughs), I think there’s something about Raj. He just works so hard. I have seen him working; he has an edge over everyone. I know his process.
Do you think theatre would be somewhere else today, if it had good money?
I do experimental theatre, and I know that you hardly earn anything as a theatre artist. And I really wish money was there. Having said that, a lot of people are still into it despite the money crunch. It also depends upon how many people really need theatre, if they don’t need it, the money obviously will never flow in. It has a niche audience, which gives theatre an edge over everything else. The plus point is we have the liberty to do whatever we want without worrying much about recovering money and entering the 100 crore club. There’s so much freedom that we can also make a bizarre play and get away with it.
Any recent performances that have mesmerized you?
I thought Shahid was really good. These are the films you see and wonder if you could be a part of it. I felt like being a part of Queen too. And I could give my right arm to be a part of Wolf Of Wall Street. The actors were having so much fun in the movie.
What’s that one thing about Bollywood that revolts you the most?
Nothing really! Bollywood is like India. You have so many things going on at once. On one side you are making a commercial film like Chennai Express and on the other end of the spectrum there’s a brilliant movie like Lunch Box. I like everything about this space. Commercial and experimental cinema go hand in hand which is great.
Would you like to direct a film someday?
I had directed a film called Hansa which was released by PVR in 2012. It was an experimental film. I don’t want to go all commercial as a director, but as an actor I would love to play around as much as possible in that zone.
So are you getting offers after Kai Po Che?
I can sense the change, now people know me as an actor. I have been approached by different people and offered scripts. The film has definitely given me a lot.
Time to reveal your dream co-stars and directors?
I really want to work with Dibakar Banerjee and Rajkumar Hirani. They make such good and entertaining cinema, that’s a bracket which very few filmmakers fit into. Then there’s also Sriram Raghavan who’s my favourite. Amongst female actors, I love Parineeti Chopra, she is super spontaneous. I also like Kangna Ranaut very much.
Isn’t it a positive sign that character roles are considered as important as main leads these days?
I think it’s very tough to play a hero, the responsibilities are just way too much. You have to charm and dance. The journey of a character actor is much more beautiful, and it’s easy to pull it off. It’s so boring to just see the conventional ‘hero & heroine’ roles on the screen these days…