Ram Kapoor opted out of playing 'Rahul' in Sony Entertainment
Television's daily soap Ghar
it marked the beginning of viewers' disinterest in the series.
The sudden change was met with nonplused reaction with people
wondering why he left when the series was doing extremely
well. Ditto among numerous review writers.
tuned was the audience to the Rahul-Aanchal (played by Gautami
Shroff) pairing that when Ashish Kapoor replaced Ram it failed
to click with viewers. But it isn't just Ghar Ek Mandir
that he has stepped out of. He is no more to be seen on
Nyay and Kavita on Doordarshan Metro.
correspondent Harsha Khot met actor Ram Kapoor to know more
about the sudden disappearing act from the television scenario
and what he was currently doing:
When and how did you get a break in television?
graduating from acting school, I kept meeting people but the
offers I was getting were pretty sideline work. Not that I
was looking for only main leads but the roles were uninspiring
so I kept saying no. Then in television I got a very good
break, thanks to Mr Sudhir Mishra. He first called me to see
him for a film. But that film did not work out. So two months
later when we met he said there's a TV serial that he was
going to direct and asked me if I would be interested in it.
The serial was Nyay produced by Nimbus production house.
The serial took time to pick up but once it got on air… six
months later my phone started ringing nonstop for television.
sooner had you become a name to reckon with in series like
Nyay, Ghar Ek Mandir (GEM)and more recently
in Kavita, that you suddenly disappeared altogether
Nyay for a while I did not take up any work. Then Ghar
Ek Mandir came about, the screenplay was excellent, production
house was Balaji. That got very popular and got me a lot of
television work. Plus at one point I was doing four serials
at one time.
I never wanted to do that much, but it all just kind of fell
into my lap. It was kind of hard to say no to work. Sanghursh,
Kavita, Nyay, and Ghar Ek Mandir. At
that point I decided I didn't wanted so much.
I left two serials. One was Kavita and the second was
In Sanghursh my role was such that I go away after
13 episodes for about 8 episodes and then make a comeback.
So I took a decision that I would not come back and my producers
were okay with that.
this big project came along, I am not at liberty to talk about
it but it is a project that an actor like myself has been
waiting for. Not that it's a lead role or anything but it
is a fantastic project. And that required a lot of preparation,
lot of training, and they wanted exclusivity. Which is justified.
So at that point I had to also take a decision to opt out
of Ghar Ek Mandir, though I did not want to do that
because I was very close to the show for many reasons. It
did very well for me careerwise. My fans loved it. Secondly
the whole unit was like a family. It was brilliant. In fact
I was told to leave it (GEM) by December-end but I
still continued through the whole of January, February and
half of March because it took me two more months to adjust
to the fact that I had to leave it.
then I haven't taken on any television work and have been
doing pretty much only this project.
is the project taking so much time?
It is a very big project. There are a lot of big names involved
because of that coordinating becomes a big problem. So there
are a lot of delays happening. It could take at least a year
has your experience been with the television industry?
I have no reasons to complain since I've been very lucky.
I've struggled so to speak in the beginning since I had to
meet a lot of people when I wasn't getting work for six months,
but then I got my break so I don't think I've anything negative
to speak about the industry. Yes it is true in the Indian
television industry there is a lot of unprofessionalism. It
is not very organised like the corporate world. If you are
an actor who has chosen to be a part of this industry then
you have to look always at the good and not the bad. If you
focus on the bad then what's the point. There is bad in every
industry if you focus on the good then you're okay.
left Ghar Ek Mandir quite abruptly I believe it hasn't
been taken well by audience and even the production house?
don't have anybody else to blame. As an actor definitely you
have to be true to your audience, they are everything after
all. But in terms of career you are always looking for breaks
and when it finally comes you have to take the plunge. I am
not a star who has things in control. I can't say okay I'll
do this one year later and they'll wait for me. So there I
was faced with a choice. Either I continue with my work because
I know that's what my audience wants and I do that at the
risk of letting go something like this or since I finally
got the opportunity that I was looking for definitely I have
to go for it.
GEM since most of you all, even Sangamitra and two or
three others, left the serial as the same time, couldn't the
show have been concluded before a big chunk of the team left?
did talk about it. When I met Ekta (Kapoor, Balaji Telefilms
creative director) and Shobhaji (Shobha Kapoor, Balaji promoter)
they heard me out completely. They realised it was going to
be a problem for the show, but they did understand that from
an actor's point of view, he has to do this. When they spoke
to the channel (Sony Entertainment Television), they put a
lot of pressure because the channel was getting a lot of feedback
from the audience. The Rahul-Anchal track was working very
well so they didn't want anything to happen there. So at that
point we - me and my CO-actors - met the scriptwriter, the
Balaji team and the channel and suggested that the show be
concluded. We offered to give extra dates around the show
while an appropriate ending was worked out.
at that point the show was doing very well and the channel
did not want to end it.
at the time I left, nobody knew that the other people would
also leave. Though I was the first to leave, there were no
talks at the time of any other people leaving.
said that you left "unprofessionally".
is saying it?
viewer definitely and even the production house?
told Balaji Telefilms in January that I would have to leave
pretty soon. This you can check back with my costars who were
shooting with me. Everybody was informed about my leaving
in the month of January.
In February I gave them over 30 days and 15 days in March.
And luckily for me all the CO-actors the entire cast gave
extra time as and when needed.
They had over a month's writing and shooting but instead of
planning out a proper exist as they just continued as usual.
Because at one end the channel was trying to extend my stay
while the production house had hopes that I might stay on,
so those 45 days were kind of wasted in terms of making a
very crisp ending. So on my part I had informed them and had
given them full month and a half. It was not like I suddenly
said I am leaving next week.
'Method acting is seen in a bad light because a lot
of people don't see the need for it. It's too real so
a lot of people feel why go through all this when you
can act it out. The whole concept of method acting is
through your senses … to feel everything - if your are
not feeling it then don't do it.'
back to acting … What brought you to it?
I've always been into movies. My family has exposed me to
movies - not only Hollywood and Hindi films - but movies from
all over the world from a very young age.
By chance I went to a school (Sherwood, Naini Tal) that has
a very good acting tradition.
A very famous person called Amir Raza Hussain used to
come from Delhi to direct our Founder's Day plays. I was in
ninth standard when he has asked me to audition. Before that
I hadn't done acting at all. I got selected as the second
lead in the play called Charlie's Aunt and then we
did three months of rehearsals and five performances. Other
schools came to watch. I think throughout that rehearsal process
and the actual performances I realised that acting is something
I definitely want to do. After that I went to Delhi and did
further theatre …a lot of English plays.
I realised I seriously want to pursue acting as a career.
I decided to first go abroad and study acting. So I went to
America and did method acting from Stanislovsky School of
Method Acting because all my inspiration in terms of actors
have been 'method actors'. All the people who get to me have
all been method actors right from Marlon Brandon, Robert De
Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino… anybody. So when I decided
that I really want to pursue this.
failed to get in at the first attempt so I worked in America
for a year and a half. I finally managed admission and did
the two year course, graduated and came back and got into
the acting circuit. `
What are the things that you look for in a script?
follow a certain thing. I am the kind of actor who will never
limit himself to a certain kind of role, whether it is positive
or negative. So what I do when the script comes to me is to
read it completely and see whether I like the entire script.
Is it something that makes sense to me? At that time I don't
read it from the role's point of view at all. If I find it
interesting then maybe after half an hour or so I read it
again this time from the roles point of view that they want
me to play. That's when I ponder over - do I like this character.
How does he fit into the whole script, what are his good points,
is he somebody who makes sense to me? Do I want to play this
character? But the minute the script is read if I don't like
it, even if the role is good then I don't normally take it.
I look into who is producing it, will they manage it. What
is the production quality like?
acted in four serials so far. Of these, how many scripts have
came to you beforehand?
In the beginning you don't get that chance because then
you are looking for work and anybody who gives you work you
are just not in the position to say, let me take a look at
the script. But I was lucky enough in the sense that my first
project (Nyay) was with Sudhir Mishra and Nimbus productions
who knew exactly what they wanted to do with the show and
what my character was all about.
for six months I kept saying no to work I didn't take up any
work till Ghar Ek Mandir came about. Good production
house. When Ekta called me and spoke to me about the role
she had a complete script and screenplay ready because it's
a remake of a serial in the South Kudumbam, which was
a hit, so they had adapted that completely to suit the Hindi
audience. Every character was etched out very well, and again
I knew exactly where the whole thing was going and where I
fit in. So that was good.
Ghar Ek Mandir, because it became so popular, my phone
was ringing nonstop I said no to lot of scripts. Then Sangarsh
came. Girish Mallik (director) called up and explained
the role. Now there I didn't even know how the script and
the story progressed but my role was a small and very tight
one and it was a grey area. You don't know whether this guy
is positive or negative. In that instance, without knowing
the script I took up the role.
overall I was just lucky.
is you approach in terms of sketching out the character or
in getting under the skin of it to bring it to life?
is the history of this character? How has he come to this
point? I go into the history of the character. Why is he the
person that he is other than that?
A lot of actors, what they do is try and get into the character.
I do the opposite. I try and make the character into myself.
Everybody has all parts in them everybody has good, everybody
had bad, everybody has mischief. All aspects of personality
are there in every human being. When you read a character
- whether a negative or positive - you find those emotions
within yourself and make him as close to yourself. In my experience
this comes out as very real. It doesn't come out as acting
because you are being yourself as that person. So that is
my approach. Because I studied method acting.
Stanislovsky method is a very detailed approach to acting
and there are specific things that you do… well I can't really
get into that.
please… there are conflicting views about the method acting
approach so could you tell us more about it?
acting is seen in a bad light because a lot of people don't
see the need for it. It's too real so a lot of people feel
why go through all this when you can act it out. The whole
concept of method acting is through your senses … to feel
everything - if your are not feeling it then don't do it.
A lot of training goes into that. Method acting is only big
in America. For instance in Europe in places like RADA (Royal
Café of Dramatic Arts) where they do Shakespeare plays, there
they don't really do method, their approach is very different,
it is external. Despite that approach they are brilliant.
There they say what is the point in method acting, which in
a way is right.
the acting school that I went to the success ratio of graduation
in method acting is very low. Less than 50 per cent. In my
batch alone when we started there were 28 of us but in the
end only 12 of us finally graduated. Some dropped out in the
will tell you in one paragraph what method acting is. Basically
they believe that our five senses store memory and those memories
store emotion. For instance everyone must have experienced
this while on a holiday somewhere and they must have smelled
something that reminds them about their childhood with their
grandparents, or they tasted food that suddenly reminded them
of something their grandmother used to cook. So this is just
a basic example on how all the five senses store memory, and
those memories bring up the emotion that particular memory
is related/connected to whether it is a happy memory or sad
memory or method which uses sense memory is just training
yourself more and more to be able to use yourself to bring
up memories, to bring up emotion to make that real. So you
are actually feeling the emotion. That is what method acting
all about, but the problem is that people get too into it,
which is why method acting gets a bad name. I like to believe
in the concept of method acting. Every actor uses some method
or the other to prepare so that makes him or her a method
actor anyway, whether you are using sense memory whether you
are going at the back of the stage and screaming out you are
using a method anyway. I like to believe that is method acting.
But yes there are a lot of mixed reviews on the method acting.
said that you often catch up with Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman,
Al Pacino… through their movies. What about them do you like?
They are the epitome of method acting. Every time I watch
them I learn from them. All the biggest names of method acting,
they feel whatever they are doing so well that there's not
a single moment when they are laughing or crying or whatever
they are doing… they are actually feeling that. They are in
it 100 per cent. If it is shown that somebody is dying in
front of them and they are acting that they are actually feeling
it. That's the height of method.
acting is playing pretend. When we were small kids we would
play chor-police. To be able to put yourself into this
different world and to be able to play this person and be
able to feel the person completely is something that has always
attracted me. The people who do this the best, I can just
watch them forever. Each time I learn something.
need to be competent, to be on time, to have a strong
work ethic. If you have all these then its fine, you'll
get more work as opposed to the kind of actor who producers
don't want. What they want are people who are fast.'
you ever spontaneous or do you follow method acting only?
matter how much you train, acting is basically about spontaneity,
about instincts. It's like painting. When you train an artist
it is also very spontaneous and very instinctive no matter
how much you learn. So it is a balance of both. You have to
follow your gut feel, and your instincts.
in my personal experience from acting in television in India
(I haven't done any television abroad), if you do a lot of
method you are asking for trouble. Because there are a lot
of things that go into method, that go into it's research.
A lot of preparation is required. But you've got to keep all
that at the back of your head and forget it and then rely
on yourself more to perform.
need to be competent, to be on time, to have a strong work
ethic. If you have all these then its fine, you'll get more
work as opposed to the kind of actor who producers don't want.
What they want are people who are fast.
thoughts ran through your mind while acting during the initial
stages? Are they any different now?
what went through my mind at that stage was the hope I don't
mess up. I don't miss a line. Now with experience, the nervousness
will still be there - be it on stage or camera - but it is
in trying more and more to get into the character. To be as
much like the person that you play as opposed to the person
you are yourself. Definitely the nervousness is always going
to be there. It will remain even 15 years from now. But it
is much more about the role you are playing, the character
you are playing, and the kind of dialogues, it is more about
brings out the best in you?
facing the camera I like to be prepared as far as my lines
go. Have I understood the relationship that I'm having with
the people in the scene completely. Once that homework is
done, you forget about the script and everybody trusts one
another. The actors trust one another, the director trusts
while performing you let loose. Yes, you are following the
script but suddenly you are going away from the script but
it's still working. That definitely brings out the best in
you stick to the script or try to go beyond it?
think what I personally try and achieve is after I've understood
the script and my character well and how he fits within the
framework of the script, you can trust yourself to go wherever.
if that is not something the director wants he will cut it.
Which is fine but at least it gives the director the opportunity
to say cut or he just might say it is good. A lot of actors
just stick to the script. I don't like doing that. I like
to learn everything and then I leave it aside.
qualities do you look for in a director?
director who knows exactly what he wants from the project
and he knows exactly what he wants from the actor. And after
that a director who is willing to trust his actor. There is
a term which I am sure everybody has heard which is called
"actor's director". Now this term is rather freely used. But
an actor's director is somebody who is willing to trust his
actor. The director always has the visual in his mind. At
the same time he is willing to see what the actor has to offer.
That is trusting the actor.
and movies and plays is my world besides anything creative.
Music definitely inspires me. The only kind of music that
I don't like is heavy metal. I derive my inspiration from
the people I admire, be it an actor or a musician. Anybody
who I feel is 100 per cent into what they are doing. People
who are clued to whatever they do, they are honest to their
profession and they are willing to do anything and everything
for that. That inspires me.