#StarrySpecial: Sumit Kaul unplugged

Actor Sumit Kaul, who is in the recently released film Hamid, talks about the kind of projects he has done in the past, what he looks up to and who he wants to work with.

What are the prominent films you have done?

I have done a few films, some of them that have done well have been Munna Bhai MBBS, where I played one of the students. I was the student who rags and then gets ragged by Sanjay Dutt’s character. I was also a very tiny part of Rockstar. One film which did extremely well and I was a reasonable part of it was Haider, where I played the part of Shahid’s character. I received a lot of good feedback for my part and how I portrayed it because it was a comedy-based character and yet it had a certain sinister side to it. I received a lot of compliments for that. Recently, I was part of two films last year, one was Mulk where I played the main terrorist. It was again a small part but was very impactful. I was also part of this film called Laila Majnu which is directed by Imtiyaz Ali sir’s younger brother Sajid Ali, where I played the villain of the film. His name was Ibban and that definitely was one of my biggest parts that I have played in films. Now, I have a film that’s going to release on the 15th of March which is called Hamid. It’s a very tiny part but it’s definitely close to my heart because some of the scenes are extremely emotional, extremely sensitive and extremely subtly handled.

Which was your last film and what was the feedback you got for your role?

The last film of mine that released was Laila Majnu, where I played the main villain. I received great feedback for that part. It was an extremely negative character but it was also a very real character. It wasn’t a typical villain and a lot of people from the industry have called me and complimented me. I remember Mr Anurag Kashyap coming at the screening and just patting me on my back and saying, ‘Bhai Tune Toh Kamaal Kar Diya.’ For me, it was a very big gesture coming from an extremely talented writer, director, actor. He had seen me in Mulk as well and he complimented me on the fact that both the roles were so different from each other and yet so convincing. Imtiyaz sir was also extremely generous and sweet in his compliments.

What is your role in Hamid?

My upcoming film is Hamid and I actually have a cameo in the film. It’s a very small part but it’s extremely crucial to the plot because essentially, I play the father to this young boy called Hamid. He’s a Kashmiri Muslim who happens to be a bootmaker and he also has a hobby of writing poetry or shayari and essentially the film really starts where this man. Rehmat Ali is the name of the character that I play. He disappears and the film is about this young boy Hamid’s search for his father. The film is in the backdrop of Kashmir tension, militancy, the terrorism out there and obviously counter-terrorism by the army and CRPF.

What is so special about the role?

Me, being a Kashmiri doing a film that’s based in Kashmir definitely is a plus point. It’s a plus point for me. It’s a plus point definitely for the character. It’s a plus point for the film and it’s not just because of my looks, that I look Kashmiri, that obviously is a great advantage but apart from that I am someone who’s connected to the Kashmiri culture. I understand the language, I speak the language. I also understand the socio-political situation out there because I belong to the place. So, I think I had an advantage when it came to handling the entire role.

What kind of films do you want to do?

When it comes to films, I have just been extremely fortunate to be part of some really beautiful films, really good films, some very successful films. So, I really am not in a place to ask for anything else. I like to just wait and watch and see whatever comes my way. Having said that, unlike TV, where I have been offered very varied parts in terms of characters that have had extremely different backgrounds and extremely different looks and stuff like that, in a reasonable number of films I’ve done only Kashmiri roles. Over a period of time, I would definitely like to break that trend.

What kind of directors do you want to work with?

I’ve actually been extremely fortunate to work with some of the top directors in the industry. I have worked with Vishal Bhardwaj ji, I worked with in Imtiyaz Ali sir, I have worked with Milan Luthria sir, with Mr Rajkumar Hirani and now with Mr Sajid Ali. I would definitely want to work with them again. Vishal Bharadwaj ji and Imtiyaz Ali sir are just outstanding to work with for any actor and so is Rajkumar Herani sir. But there are definitely others whom I would love to work with. I hope to work with Mr Anurag Kashyap someday. I would love to work with Mr Rohit Shetty definitely.

Who are your favourite Bollywood actors and why?

I usually don’t have any favourites but there are certain actors whom I’m inspired by. I’m truly inspired by Shah Rukh Khan and Akshay Kumar because they were complete outsiders to the industry and they came and they made a place for themselves. Even Ranveer Singh for that matter. That says a lot about their character, it says a lot about their will to succeed. Amongst actors, I am extremely fond of Ranbir Kapoor. I love the way he performs and Irffan Khan is definitely somebody I admire a lot.

What difference do you find in the two mediums TV and Films?

The difference between TV and films actually lies in its deliveries. What I mean by that is, TV is a medium where you shoot today and the product is out there for everybody to see within three days. So, when that is the case, you’re actually talking about speed and pace of working and delivering. Efficiency is measured in terms of how quickly you can deliver episodes and therefore for an actor how quickly you can deliver scenes becomes extremely important. When it comes to films, there is a lot of pre-production and generally, a fair bit of time is given to actors to prepare and perform.We wish him immense luck and success.