The Bigger Blessings of Life

Kunal Kemmu

Words by P R Gayathri
Photographed by Denzil Christian
Blazer: Genes Lecoanet Hemant | Shirt: Venecci | Pants: Siddartha Tytler | Jewellery: Gala Brothers Fine Jewels | Shades: The Monk & Kosch | Socks: Dynamocks Socks | Shoes: Alberto Torresi

The man of adventure and versatility, Kunal Kemmu is undoubtedly an exponential actor who has never failed to impress us. Debuted in the film industry as a child artist in 1993 in Sir, his passion for acting has only increased ever since then. In 2005, he debuted as a lead actor in the film Kalyug. From the big screen, web series to short-films Kunal has established himself as a true actor, winning our hearts with his performance and that contagious smile. It’s rare to come across people who have got a big heart and a generous mind and Kunal is definitely one among them. His humbleness and kind behaviour have been lauded by his colleagues and with close interaction with him for our shoot, we can only add-on to that. 

Having found his love for acting from an early age, he kept himself motivated and worked every bit in donning his craft. From making us laugh to characters that pulled us into his world, this Bollywood heartthrob has got the pure talent to play versatile roles and live through that character throughout the movie. He takes his precious time off his hectic hours of work in speaking with us on his journey of life with love, acting and bikes; on his story of craft with fashion, passion and a vision for a better year.

Outfit: Saiko Studio | Jewellery: Inox Jewelery | Shades: The Monk

What is that one remarkable moment in your professional journey of life that is still very close to your heart?

It would be looking at the poster of my first film Kalyug as it marked the reality of a dream. Wanting to be an actor since childhood, Kalyug opened that door where I started living up to my imaginations and it felt really great. I think for anyone the first step in making their passion a reality becomes the most remarkable moment of their professional journey; it’s not about the films that have got the A-list star cast or one that made it to the box office hit list, though they are special too, but that very first film that became the stepping stone and gave birth to your talent will always be very close to one’s heart.

The best part of being an actor is…

The best part is that you get to be so many characters and live so many lives on screen. 

Isn’t that very interesting?! Each character that I play as an actor has got a part of me in it. Somedays you are the hero, some days you are the villain! There is so much you get to learn from each story and the depth of each character you play on screen. This very fact gives me the push to play interesting roles and I’m very much thankful for that.

Which is your favorite genre to act and which one would you call is the most challenging genre to act?

I just love acting and the genres don’t really matter to me. If I did I wouldn’t be an actor, because no matter what the genre is almost all film has moments of every emotion. Coming to the challenging factor, I would say it’s comedy. Comedy is probably the most challenging because it goes a little beyond just regular acting. Timing, body language, and also the ability to shift gears in tune with the co-actors to make a scene or a joke work is not a cakewalk. Also, comedy can be brutal wherein either you are funny or just not. There is no middle ground. 

From comedies to intense negative roles, how do you balance the nature of a character with the versatile roles you play? 

It’s just the love for the craft and the rest naturally sweeps into you. I think it’s most important to understand the character that the writer and director have conceived and then try and mold it by incorporating your own understanding of it. It is a process, it won’t happen overnight. Besides doing that it still takes a day or two when you actually get into the costume and start shooting to wholly get into the character and understand the correct beat (also referred to as sur) of it.

Shirt & Trench Coat: Siddartha Tytler | Pants: Uzair Parvez | Shades: The Monk | Socks: Dynamocks Socks | Shoes: Shoe Society

You have been sporting some really cool fitness goals these days. What is your fitness routine like and how important is it to you?

Basic fitness is very important, not just physically but also for mental well being. So I keep mixing it up from time to time between gym, yoga, kickboxing etc. Besides that, depending on the requirement of the character that I need to play and if the director has a certain physicality in mind for it, workouts and diets keep changing.

How do you describe your sense of style and with your years of experience in the field, how has it changed?

I have generally liked to keep it simple and comfortable. Unless there is a dress code mentioned I swear by casuals because comfort is everything to me. My wardrobe staples would be like long shorts, white and black T-shirts, blue and black denim. You see, I do prefer classic looks over bold statements most times. I have worn some clothes that I would never wear in real life for some photoshoots (wink wink). But one thing about style is that it’s not universal for anyone. It’s a taste that keeps changing. Some are for everyone and some are more of an acquired taste. But that is where some classics can come to the rescue if one is confused. Like a casual white tee with denim trousers, classic suit or a bandh gala when it comes to formals 

Being a bike enthusiast, tell us your favourite memory attached to it and your most favourite bike trip.

I remember going for bike rides as a kid with my uncle on his Yamaha RX 100 and my grandfather on his scooter Bajaj Chetak. There was something that I always enjoyed more about bike rides than I did about cars. Also, I think because I wasn’t allowed to ride bikes it became the forbidden fruit, so the excitement and adrenaline of riding bikes just became more I guess. Over time it’s just become one of those things that makes me extremely happy and something that also helps clear my mind. I haven’t done many long biking trips in a while but the one that I did two years ago with some of my friends in Europe was probably one of the best experiences of my life so far. It was a 10-day biking trip and we were riding through some amazing places in Switzerland, Italy and Austria.

Outfit: Siddartha Tytler | T Shirt: Venecci | Jewellery: Inox Jewelery | Socks: Dynamocks Shoes: Shutiq

Having aced the art of twinning with your wife, how fun is it to complement each other’s outfits?

Have I? Let me just be honest here and tell you that we have never planned or pre-planned to twin our styles, Soha likes to decide much more in advance than I do about what to wear. I’m usually the one to stare at the cupboard just 30 mins before we have to leave to figure out what I should be wearing that particular day. So most times if we do end up looking like we are twinning, it’s just a coincidence!

From being a child artist to who you are now, what made sure that the passion never faded in every ups and downs of your professional life?

I really don’t know. It’s what I have enjoyed doing since I was a kid. I think it comes naturally to me. I love entertaining people, and when I see them entertained, I want to do it all over again. This makes me want to do it in different ways and better myself at it. Besides the passion within, it’s also the support of family, friends and audiences that help me get through low phases.

Who would you credit as your biggest support and cheerleader in life?

My biggest support is my wife Soha and there is no doubt in that! And my very own cheerleaders would be a close competition between my mother, sister and Soha. But they have all now been defeated by my little Inaaya, who is my number one cheerleader. And she doesn’t even know what I do. (smiles)  

Presence is the most wonderful present. With a hectic schedule, how do you make sure to find time for your family?

It’s easy to maintain relationships when you have a lot of free time but the true test is finding time for the relationships when you have little. So it is a mix of some planning and scheduling the time better. And sometimes you gotta just swap your time with a little less sleeping hours, skipping a workout or other things so as to prioritise your relationship. Because, as it goes unsaid, family comes first!

What really sparked the idea of getting a tattoo and how significant is it to you as a father?

 I’m very instinctive about most things in my life. If I want to do something, I just do it and most of the time I am happy about these instinctive decisions I make. So it was one of those moments that I just wanted to get a tattoo done. It’s the name of my daughter Inaaya written in an interesting way. It is my most favourite tattoo and I love that in some way she is actually physically a part of me.

If falling in love is a blessing, what is being in love like?

Being in love is a bigger blessing. It’s what keeps life moving forth, be it the love for my family, friends, my passion or the love I receive from my fans. Love makes life worth living and as I mentioned before if you are not in love then it’s hard to face life. My love for acting, my love for family are something that stood the test of time and I believe it always will. And that’s a blessing in itself.

When it comes to love do you think ‘opposite attracts’? How true is it in your life?

I think opposites might attract, but it’s essential to also find similarities else it won’t last very long. Same goes in our relationship too. We are very different people but also have a lot in common when it comes to lifestyle and interests. That is where you find a common ground and develop a better understanding of each other. Because at the end of the day we are all in search of home, comfort and love. And these are nothing materialistic but the person who makes you feel home and I guess similarities is what helps there.

One thing you are thankful for in 2021 and takeaways from 2020

2020 was quite a ride! I’m thankful that we all made it through 2020 well and healthy. I’m also very much grateful to know that there is a cure now! 2020 has been a learning curve for all of us. It’s also been professionally a very fulfilling year with all my work, including films and a web show that went very well and received so much love. I’m excited to begin 2021 and I hope it has got everything fine, better and nice.

With better hopes and a lot to be thankful for, we winded our conversation with Kunal Kemmu equally excited as him to chase newer dreams, prioritise love, create happiness and see how the rest of this beautiful year unfolds.

Photographed by Denzil Christian

Creative Director: Farrah Kader

Fashion Stylist: Hemlataa Pariwal

Makeup Artist: Prasad Shankar Labhe

Hair Artist: Tanik Singh

Assistant Stylist: Drashti Jasani, Shikha Goel, Afsana Khan, Jhalak Jain

Media Consultant: Raindrop Alter Ego

Location: Black Frames Studios