Learning lessons is a constant process - luckiest and rarest are the lessons we learn the happy way.
The two lessons I have learned by way of the happy news this weekend and beyond -
- 'That if you do your best, life will one day return the favour and do its best for you.' - UnboxedWriters
- That '...there is more enterprise in walking naked.' - W.B. Yeats
When he first took the screen by storm, the most obvious, and perhaps easiest, way to label him was as an Underdog. In my opinion of then, over a year ago, an Underdog was intended every way as a compliment. Underdogs surprise you, how veterans never can. Underdogs inspire a belief system which makes larger than life feel within reach. Underdogs are exciting. They are the game changers you never saw coming. And best of all, Underdogs never strive to prove a point. That they do prove a point is just a part of what makes them.
Some months later, in an interview, he mentioned his opinion of being identified an Underdog. It put the matter into an alternate perspective - into his perspective - but personally I continued to believe that being an Underdog was an accomplishment bigger and better than a veteran. In my head, he was still one. And for the better. He likely didn't get how we meant it for him...
It's funny how things in life come full circle. Much after you've let them go, forgotten about them, and far from anticipated their return.
This weekend, when he walked away with the trophy, he made me, and so, so many others, incredibly proud fans. I'd just ended a tiresome end of term month - and the news came as if on cue. I almost did what I have done on two occasions previously - got off to blog and gush about it. But then, I just wanted to hold the feeling within. The contentment of it. I don't mean to sound immodest about this, but selfless admiration is such pure joy, it's a pity one can't feel it often enough!
Anyway, Reema Moudgil from Unboxed Writers - who writes the most amazing odes to this amazing artist - blogged, and I was happy I'd given my impulse a pass. She cuts to the core of the matter in the most heartwarming manner. Reading her posts make me happy just thinking of how much he deserves to be told, and retold to infinity, how far beyond being just a fan-girl mascot he goes, and why. She gets what he is about - at least to that segment of the audience who are so starved for real staggering art.
Life was looking up. I wasn't even hating of having all the grading to do this week - and that is a mini miracle if you know what I'm half like about grading. Until... I watched a certain sourpuss video last night. No references. Those who should know, know it. And I won't subject the rest of you chance or intentional readers to the turn off that it is.
Anyway. I had my moment(s) of temper about it. By the time I hit the sack last night, I was - at the best - wry about the the whole matter. But sleeping over is its own process. When I woke up this morning, thoughts of it hadn't left me. The raised dissent of that video - inane and self conceited and fuckall as it was - the misguided notions about him, who in the list of nominations stood so little chance, for how un-apologetically un-typecast a character and actor he is, walking away with the award. Out of no particular where, the whole Underdog business came back to me. And belatedly though, I finally rued over it.
Which consequently brought me here to making this post. Because I think I finally get it. What he meant back in that interview, addressing being tagged as an Underdog. He isn't one. And as exciting and enigmatic as Underdogs are, I also finally get why his not being one is the only way I want to think about it now. Times change... opinions evolve.
An Underdog is a new, unforeseen challenge on the scene. He is not. And I don't mean it with respect to all the older shows he's done. I mean it for the challenge he has always been, in being who he is. Someone ever growing in what he does, never altering in who he is. It never stops amazing me, how comfortable he is being who and how he is. How being his own first priority in his life is something about him that is humbling, not vain. It is but under a year and a half, perhaps a year really, that the whole package of "stardom" hit him square in the face. More people know him. Many more. And more and more add to that number. The recognition has been exponential. The typecasting - or threat of it - is gone. But reputation is really what has undergone transformation - and reputations are surface concerns.
Fact is, there is no 'then and now' about him. As if, however much of a discovery he may feel to all of us 'Mohan' fans of him, he is not a discovery unto himself. And just because all of us except him are so late on the scene of realization, we should hardly pass him off for an Underdog. Just because on a platform of sworn mediocrity and overnight stars, he has toiled a long, long way, to experience and explore the journey of fitting into his shoes, he is hardly a case of 'just arrived'. If anyone, it is we, the fans, true to the nature and definition of fans, who have only arrived.
I'm going to say it again, because one can't say it enough. He makes me such an unconditionally proud fan. He manifests belief. On screen, rendering sensibility, and doing justice to such ambiguity around his character and the story. Off screen, being not just the actor with the skill and the difference, but the persistence to stick around no matter what. It's been a long time since I gave up on the show, forget its sequel. Now and then, when I go back to it, its because someone I heed to is raving about his bit. And every one of those times, I manage to defy my own determined resistance, and watch his delivery as a standalone, be awed by it all over again, like it was the first time. He doesn't get old at it, making his art.
And his honesty in it, at it, makes me envy him. Because it isn't something I - or anyone! - can cultivate. It's just part of being who one is, and he just is.
Kunal Karan Kapoor. An artist arrived a long time ago. Perhaps the conception of this actor arrived when you stood telling that guard you would become an actor one day... The number of people who can boast about living up to their word can probably be counted off on the fingers of one hand, half chopped. Whatever little or less you think of yourself, and your art, or whatever rightful assessment you have of it, there is the one thing you must do. Look into the mirror when you brush teeth in the morning and tell yourself this - you are an inspiration to those whose lives you touch.
(^^ (c) AreyYaar's Gallery Update )
[This post is now referenced on Kunal Karan Kapoor's Wiki page!]