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Home > Movies > Bollywood News

Enter the hero from Kashmir

Syed Firdaus Ashraf | December 05, 2005 16:20 IST

Kunal KhemuIn 1987, a little boy was running around his home in Srinagar, when his family members told him he to run around the television cameras that were rolling nearby instead.

A Doordarshan serial,Gul Gulshan Gulfam, directed by Ved Rahi, was being shot in the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir at that time.

Kunal Khemu, thelittle boy,was first seen in a fleeting role in that serial.

Later, he went on to star in pivitol roles in such films like Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar Ke, Raja Hindustani and Zakhm.

But Kunalhas seen more than film sets. He has seen his Valley bloodied by terrorism. He has seen the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits -- including his family --from their land.

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Now, he makes his debut as a hero in the Mahesh Bhatt productionKalyug, which hits theatres on December 9.

"Life was difficult for my family, as we didn't know where to go after leaving Kashmir. We settled down in Mumbai, in a suburb calledMira Road.My family still lives there," Kunal says.

"As a child, I thought we had come to Mumbai for a holiday. I did not realise thatthis holiday was permanent.Now, our home in Srinagar has been occupied by the locals.There is no way we can go back," he adds.

But ask him about his new career, and he cheers up."The best thing about my debut is that people have forgotten my childhood face. Theydon't recognise me in this look," he says.

Kunal Khemu"My father [Ravi Khemu] felt that if I don't give up acting, then people will always recall me as a child actor. SoI took a break. I think that move paid up," Kunal explains.

"If you notice, no child star made it big when s/he grew up because the child's image was still fresh in people's memory. Theycould not digest the fact that the child star had grown into a man. After Class 10, I kept away from films,"

Kunal enrolled in Mumbai's Narsee Monjee College and started doing theatre.

Ask him how his acting career started, andKunal jokes, "Itall happened because I did a part running around a shikara [Kashmirihouseboat]," referring to Gul Gulshan Gulfham.

"I did a serial called Chitra Kathayen when my family shifted to Mumbai, and after that I was selected for a role in Hum Hai Rahi Pyaar Ke with Aamir Khan. I got many offers after that, but my father felt Zakhm should be my last film," he adds.

Kunal played a young Ajay Devgan in Zakhm, which also featured Pooja Bhatt, Sonali Bendra and Nagarjuna. The Mahesh Bhatt movie won Devgan his first National Award.

"It was a very different and difficult role from what I had played earlier. While doing the film, I struck a rapport with Mahesh Bhatt. At that time, he promised me he would cast me as a hero in future," Kunal says.

Emraan Hasmi and Kunal KhemuSeven years later, when Bhatt did ask him to be a hero, Kunal did a double take.

"I was completely taken aback after hearing the name of the film [it was supposed to be called Blue Film]. I was afraid that people would think I'm doing a blue [porn] film.Later, we decided to change the name to Kalyug," Kunal says.

"I play a Kashmiri.Onhis honeymoon, he and his wife are caught on a Web camera, fitted by the porn mafia. The wife then commits suicide and the boy decides to take revenge.

"Mohit Suri, the director of the film, has done a very good job. We are a very young group of people. Mohit is 24, and I am 22. This film is made onyoung people's sensibilities. After the success of his earlier film Zeher, I hope people will like me in Kalyug," Kunal adds.

After Kalyug, Kunal has no films at hand.But he says talks are on.

"Let me addthatsome dayI would love to go back to Kashmir for a film shoot," Kunal says."Or even a holiday."

Share your comments

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Read what others have to say:

Number of User Comments: 19

Sub: best wishes to kunal.

I'm below 18 so,I was not allowed to see Kalyug but I've seen the trailers & I,m really very impressed by your looks & acting. ...

Posted by Aakriti Monga

Sub: best wishes

I'm below 18 so I was not allowed to see kalyug but I've seen the trailers and I'm really very impressed by your looks. May ...

Posted by Aakriti Monga

Sub: kunal

kunal leave bollywood and be simple so that i could conquer my aim of meeting you

Posted by vivek

Sub: he is different

I know that Kunal obviously wont be reading all this but still after watching klayug i couldnt stop myself from writing something about him . ...

Posted by Liya

Sub: hi cutie

hey handsome u were superb in kalyug.u r soooo... dashing.soo... cute and soooo.... oohhhhhhhh. ...

Posted by rafia



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