Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Not... 'Just Arrived'.


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.

[This post is now referenced on Kunal Karan Kapoor's Wiki page!]

24 comments:

  1. BEAUTIFUL stuff once again, Jazzay!

    Once the news was out, there were two people I really wanted to see writing about it...one being you and the other being Reema from Unboxed Writers...I'm so glad you gave in to the impulse too and wrote...both of you articulate the sentiments of this niche group of fans so beautifully even as you take it from slightly different angles...it's always a pleasure to read.

    My fav. were the last three paragraphs...indeed I guess we fans are the ones that have 'just arrived' to this knowledge...but validation is oh so SWEET at this point...for the most unlikely of heroes and I mean this in the best way possible...he reaffirms faith in the fact that there is more than just superficiality ruling the airwaves...there is heart, there is such honesty that you can't help but be pulled in.

    For whatever it may be, it is lovely to see that talent being recognized to this level at long last...may the accolades and awards continue to pour in in the future as well :-)


    --Anu

    p.s. Thanks for using the sig! :D

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    1. Again, thank you so much Nureyy!!! And I know what you mean about "unlikely". It's not him, but what he represents. The difference, the quality, the not being typecast even in the most meandering typecast of script now! Validation IS indeed sweet - to him, obviously, but so very much to all of us too! He deserves to stay around and do his own thing for a long, long time...

      ps: The sigg completes the picture. Obviously! =)))

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  2. Very well written!!! what is so different about him is that he has won the heart of the young and maybe more of the older generation. ............. I've commented about this before too but he really really gets under your skin and starts running in your vein!!!!

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    1. Thank you Nita. He has won hearts across people of the decades indeed. But more importantly, he has won over that segment of the society that - like he said for his character - want to indulge in entertainment at an intellectual level too.

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  3. Quote - 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.

    Beautifully penned Jazz, if there is anything one can hang on to in the surreal world of television, its the once in a lifetime 'Mohan Bhatnagar'and the man behind it. "Traveller, there are no roads, roads are made by walking.” is my ode to the actor.

    Lekz

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    1. Hiya Lekz, long time! =))

      And what a lovely, love quote to pay him tribute. The image of a traveler who makes art is his, in my head!

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  4. brilliant piece of writing jazz u said wat all of d fans want to ..d way he gets into d skin of the character is amazing and dat is wat makes him different..and yes he deserved d award and its good to see his talent being recognized :)

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    1. Thank you so much! =)) His validation has been the sweetest return for fans.

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  5. Beautiful write up. And thanks for penning down what most of us 'unconditionally proud fans'(there are hundreds of them believe me!!!) felt about him.

    -Anu

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    1. Aww, you're most welcome! Writing about him should be intimidating, because one can hardly do justice by him - but it is such a self-contending effortless process! =))

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  6. Read it twice,a feeling inexplicable in words,proud,elated,well its hard to pinpoint one,but u have written a perfect ode to "the actor" as a resenting sentiment of the fans who have just arrived.
    Vous pleasure I will be reading this amazing piece again,Thank you,for writing this

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    1. Thank you Neha!

      I'm not sure any ode to him is really perfect, or says all there is to say. But he deserves them all, and then some. So glad you enjoyed reading as much =))

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  7. @Jazz: I have to add...after hearing him say that he's never won ANYTHING in life, even in school...I was really touched...and this award just became that much more meaningful...both for him and us fans...to quote Reema again, it makes you believe...life will indeed turn around and do it's best one day for you if you persevere....what a wonderfully inspiring thought...and to see it manifested through Kunal just makes one believe all the more...


    ---Anu/Nur

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    1. The validation was - like you said Nur - the sweetest thing in every possible way! My favoritest of his remarks in this segment continues to be how he says the gist is believing that all the people wanted him to win, and that winning, and knowing its like a personal win for them was wonderful. I can't get over the sentiment of it. You know audiences make celebs overnight phenomenons now, and I think it was actually Barun Sobti that I heard say this in some random interview pata ni kahan dekha tha, about how fans are ephemeral. I would give him full points of being candid, even right, there. But as I-don't-really-know-how-this-works and as rarely as Kunal goes into his gratifying notes, it *feels* personal. Not like he's an idealist who thinks that fans can outlive anything on his chart. But the kind of man who truly means and owes what he owes to them who make him a star. Not an artist - that's what he's of his own, always - but the star. His humility is the most disarming of all attributes - and his saying he's never won anything before came just as simply from him, in stride of that! Just makes you admire him with such a full and complete heart!

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  8. Wonderfully worded JZee!! He truly shines in his art and is deserving of such recognition. Really happy that he has won this for his very first lead role in a show where he had the scope to perform and outdo his act with each episode. Wishing him the best for all his future endeavors.

    Maz

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    1. Aww, thunkoo Mazzay! Gushing about Kunal wasn't the same without you around! It's just something that doesn't complete for me without Nur AND you - given HOW much of it we've done from the start of NBT1, together!

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  9. Beautifully written. Though, he's no more 'Mohan' on screen, he'll always be one for us. Many a times, we watch interviews and figure out how different the actors are in real life than reel life. However, I never felt so whenever I watched his interviews. I felt as if he's the same 'Mohan' personality in real life too, which is a fabulous thing. Takes a lot to be 'Mohan', on screen or off screen. My 9-year old is completely into 'Spiderman' and wishes one for her too.

    Once again, nicely written.

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    1. I don't blame your 9 year old. Watching NBT1 last year made me wish for a return to childhood, if only to find a child-man of a best buddy like him! Thank you for the lovely comment, glad you enjoyed reading it =))

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  10. Very well written article
    you have really brought out all the emotions all the fans probably feel...i certainly do

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    1. Thank you so much. I'm glad you enjoyed it, and more importantly, that you could relate with it. =)

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  11. Heard, NBT season 2 is coming to a pause. They will return with Season 3 in 2014. Anybody aware of this news?

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  12. Beautifully written..
    I wish i could say more, i mean i have a lot to say but his thoughts are running high at the momment to be able to put it in words,
    I read it the day afteer he does not win an award and still i am celebrating his victory. thats what i do everyday, to be true. the awards mater for material world, but for us its his aura and his hardwork ,that inspires us everyday and makes us believe that honest, humble actors or as a matter of fact human beings still exist..
    there is still somene who does not hold any inhibitions or have not errected wall around him just beacuse what he has become..he loves to be who he is, because that what has made what he is..very few understand this anf handful can practise it..an hence there's only one , just one o its kind..Kunal Karan kapoor..
    and as i say it always, he is my biggest inspiration and he just keeps adding to the inspiration every day..
    Nomination is recongnition enough..that sentence gives me an entire new perspective about winiing and losing..its the journey and who else can travel it so elgantly, except the traveler him self..

    i had said i wont say a lot, but i guess if tis about him..its hard to stop..
    i am goign to read it again, probably couple times , because not him but reading about him and his journey ,is a big inspiration in itself..
    you as always have done an incredible job, putting feeling into words is an art in itself..an you are a beautiful artist also..
    p.s... pleaae ignore my presnentation/spellings

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    1. You are very, very humbling in your comments, Urmi - thank you. For me, the thing about Kunal, and NBT (initial phase of season 1) and being an ardent viewer has been this... sentiment of sharing a journey with him. A journey he has evolved through - and somehow having been there from the beginning, and seen him come along through it has been such an inspiring and fond experience! There's no getting over such wonderful memories!

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