In a departure from his usual, urban avatar, actor Purab Kohli dons a villager’s role for his upcoming movie ‘Jal’. The Girish Malik-directed movie boasts of an interesting storyline and has also been featured at the 66th Cannes Film Festival.
MXP: How’s ‘Jal’ coming along?
PK: ‘Jal’ releases on the 4th of April in India, in which I play the role of Bakka, a water diviner, who tries to find water in the parched land of Rann of Kutch, but faces unforeseen circumstances when he tries to help a female ornithologist save flamingoes.
MXP: You, along with other VJs of the 90s, pretty much shaped the urban scene in India. An entire generation grew up watching you on TV. How does it feel now, so many years later?
PK: It feels very good to be still recognized for what you did back in the day. I used to love being a part of Channel V. And it helped me gain quite a strong fan base, especially in Bangalore in the south and some regions of the north-east.
It’s kind of funny that my character Mazhar from Hip Hip Huraay is still appreciated, almost 16 years later! The other day, while at a Women’s Day function, I had some senior woman officer in the government come up to me, and say, “I loved you in the show”. That was quite interesting.
MXP: But with the quality of original TV declining, do you feel you could go back to TV?
PK: I think that TV today has become very dynamic and broad, and it caters to so many markets. I was categorically clear that I don’t want to do fiction on TV after Hip Hip Hurray. Now, if I want to act, I will do so only in the movies. That said and done, I do realize that TV is the largest platform. I have a very good relationship with the television industry, and if they pitch in an idea, I definitely think about it, and ultimately pick what’s best for me.
MXP: You did a lot of adventure sports in Life Mein Ek Baar — your adventure show on Fox Traveller. Was there any particular activity you were initially scared to try?
PK: My adrenalin was very pumped up during the filming of the show and I had quite an exhilarating experience while shooting. But I admit I was initially scared to try sky diving and caving.
Caving more so, because I am claustrophobic. Also, I had been told horrid stories about it before. There was this one time when we were walking under a rock which was perched precariously on top. Had it shifted even slightly, we would all have crumpled inside.
MXP: Any sport you fell in love with?
PK: I’m a Piscean, and staying true to my zodiacal symbol – fish, I also love water. Hence I liked deep sea diving the most. The silence, the calm that one feels under the water is absolutely amazing.
MXP: Talking about movies, are there any directors in particular you’d like to work with?
MXP: Tell us about your future projects?
PK: There’s a movie called Tere Aane Se with Rituparna Sengupta that I am shooting for, which will be out soon.
MXP: What’s on your playlist right now?
PK: Surprisingly enough, I have been really enjoying Hindustani classical music lately. I listen to the Gundecha brothers, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, sarod player Amjad Ali Khan, etc. I also recently went to a Pentagram concert, and thought it was super cool. I am a big fan ofDualist and Alt-J too.
I even enjoy what Randolf, Nucleya etc. have come up with.
MXP: Have you been watching any shows lately?
PK: I last watched Breaking Bad, but now I am about to start watching House of Cards. All my friends have been saying great things about it.
MXP: What’s the one thing surprisingly cool about you?
PK: (Laughs) I think it’s the fact that I am basically a very chilled-out person.
MXP: And what’s not?
PK: Hmmmm… What is the least scandalous to admit? I guess I am a bit of recluse. I sometimes shut myself off completely from everything. That’s one thing my closed ones tell me a lot.
MXP: Who is the hottest female according to you right now?
PK: Jennifer Lawrence hands-down. She’s really cool. She might not be exceptionally pretty or anything, but there’s something about her attitude and the way she talks, that’s really hot.
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