Report on Hindi News Viewership

Larger than life characters are not part of his script : Kiran Kumar

A personality in his own right, this son of the famous villain of his time Jivan, Kiran Kumar is a man of courage and bag full of confidence. Though a Kashmiri by birth, Kiran Kumar is now a Mumbaiite to the core. His traces his lineage to the Kashmiri royal family; his grandfather was the vaziree vazarat. As a young boy, other than a vague desire to become an engine driver, it was the film industry which drew him because of his father's association with it.

The school years were spent at boarding in Indore. He enrolled at National College in the Mumbai's western suburb of Bandra for a while but at 15 decided he'd had enough and joined the Film and Television Institute of India [FTTI] in Pune for two years as by then he knew for sure that acting was his calling.

In real life he has always been an introvert and a loner and says that could be because he spent so many years away from his family in hostels. He is his own best friend, he states. Aside from his wife he is quick to add.

With over 30 years in the industry behind him, he is one of those rare types who is content with what he has and is still getting from the entertainment world and life in general. With two teenaged children and a doting wife who has stood by him through thick and thin, he is the ultimate family man. He is a non-fussy actor and prefers to turn out in casuals or kurta pyjamas.

So what is it with the erstwhile Lakhotiya Pathan (from the blockbuster film Tezaab) and today's favourite Papa (B4U)? KIRAN KUMAR bares it all to NUPUR REKHY, from his career graph to the immense struggle he has had in his personal life. Read on ...

Did you become an actor by default or was it a planned move?

No never by default. I grew up in the film industry and always was fascinated. I learnt from observing life around me and by the age of 15 decided to be an actor.

Were you inspired by your dad?

I was always very sure of myself but yes I did admire the conviction and dedication and sincerity that he had towards his work and the way he faced the entire struggle in his life with courage.

Did you ever have to face similar difficulties?

Not exactly the same but yes I went through a lot in my personal life. As far as my work is concerned I have no regrets, even though it's only recently that people have started taking me seriously as an actor.

What went wrong in your personal life?

I really don’t want to go into details but I went through shit even in my relationships. It was very tragic.

Why tragic?

Thirteen years ago my father expired due to liver problems. Then my younger brother who was only 36 years old died after his kidneys failed. Losing him has been the greatest regret of my life. As for my "relationships," let's just skip it but I will say that my bad times were my destiny and I have forgiven whoever hurt me so I expect the same courtesy. I have no qualms in apologising if I am wrong but not if I am right.

Whoa! This is little heavy. Lets divert to your work ok?

Yeah! Sure. Even I don’t like to revive those memories.

Its only recently that you have become a star although you have been consistently doing good work for the last 30 years. Can you explain why?

I guess they suddenly noticed that I am a good actor and an easy person to work with. Yes I do have plenty of self-respect but I am not proud. I will never go down to any level and let my self-respect die. The last year was great for me and 2001 is also looking bright. I have some great movies and television serials coming up. And the best part is that I had never been offered such varied roles and great money until last year.

Mind putting some figures on that great money?

Let's just say I am a very happy man and one of the highest paid actors on television at present

Who are the others?

There is Kanwaljeet whom I like and Shekhar Suman who is amazingly talented as an actor.

Do you treat them as competition?

There is scope for everyone. And all have their own stamp. Healthy rivalry is there and no one has played dirty with me and I must say this industry has very sensitive people.

But you do believe in being different. So what school of acting do you follow?

I follow the Lewinski saying about believing in yourself [which I totally do] that is why I don’t need inspiration, as I am sure of myself. I act spontaneously with total honesty and conviction. I work with single-minded dedication to pursue the role and I achieve it and let it go. I am like a sponge - I take it in and then squeeze it out.

Lets go back a little. What made you see television as an upcoming medium?

I saw the potential in television some years ago. I was told then that I was stupid to divert from movies to the small screen but thank God that wisdom and far-sight prevailed. In the 80's television was a technology in progress and was there to stay. I know one thing. You can't shun progress.

So where did you start?

Sunil Mehta's Prem Kishan was my first serial. Then came Zindagi, Ghutan, Sahil, Manzil, and Katha Sagar. Recent ones are Aur Phir ek Din and Papa for B4U, which is the latest. I did get the Mayor's Award for Ghutan and for Aur Phir ek Din

Which is your latest big screen venture?

I am doing a MKD movie directed by David Dhawan and starring Salman Khan and Ameesha Patel. I am playing a negative role. I also have another movie coming up with Hrithik Roshan and Amisha Patel.

How seriously do you take your work?

Very seriously. I never back out on dates and have a reputation for it. Basically acting is a blessed profession and you are paid to have fun.

Television is even more blessed, don’t you think so?

Well, its very difficult for me to comment on that but television is more organised because they are on a tight budget. Television has definitely been a boon for newcomers as they might get a small role but exposure does happen and actors have made their mark here. I have done so many different kinds of roles in both films and television so I have good feelings for both.

Talking about roles, which is the one role that you would love to play?

I always want to play shades of humanity and not larger than life characters. I would like to play Stephen Boyd's role in 'Ben Hur' and its only because he was so human that it was trully great.

Does Kiran Kumar have faith in God?

Yes! I am a god-loving person and not a fearing one. I believe he exists and Gayatri Mantra is what I say when I want to. Whenever I feel like I burn a diya (lamp) or an agarbatti (incense stick) because for me to FEEL is very important.

Lastly, will the real Kiran Kumar please stand up?

Basically I am a family man. I go to Khar Gymkhanna with my family when I am free. I am not beauty conscious but I do go for an occasional massage. I only wear cotton. I hate wearing shoes and I do have a good sense of dressing. My favourite is grey flannel trousers with a dark blue blazer and a light blue shirt with a maroon silk tie and handkerchief. Otherwise I am a total cricket freak and I will never forget (Sachin) Tendulkar's innings in Sharjah in a heavy storm.