Kunal Kemmu reveals career’s ‘low phase’ pushed him to direct Madgaon Express: ‘Actor’s life is never smooth sailing’ | Bollywood News

Kunal Kemmu started his acting journey as a child actor with Sir in 1993 and shot to fame with Aamir Khan’s Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke the same year. He broke out as a male lead in 2005 when he starred in Mohit Suri’s Kalyug in 2005. While Kunal has been a mainstream actor for almost 20 years, he’s seen a fair share of ups and downs in his acting career.

In this interview with indianexpress.com, the actor turned filmmaker recently opened up about why he decided to take the director’s chair and how his directorial debut film — Madgaon Express — starring Divyenndu, Pratik Gandhi, Avinash Tiwary and Nora Fatehi helped him at a time when he was experiencing a low in life and was struggling with mental health issues.

Opening up about gaining confidence in his talent for writing films and dialogue during the time he worked with Raj & DK for Go Goa Gone, Kunal said, “I got some confidence with Go Goa Gone. Before that I used to only write for myself and I would be scared and embarrassed to show it to others. But because I was with Raj & DK for Go Goa Gone, I felt I received the right kind of guidance.”

On how the idea of Madgaon Express, a comedy-caper, germinated through “self doubt” and landed him directorial responsibilities, Kunal shared, “When I saw people give so much love to Go Goa Gone and its dialogues, I felt that there’s something there that I should definitely try on my own now and that’s how Madgaon Express happened. I had self doubt while I was writing it, but only got love from the first time I presented it. At the time I was told that with the way I have written it, I should also direct it. But I wasn’t prepared for it right until Excel Entertainment liked the script and we were talking about it. When I narrated the film to them, they said that since I was so clear in my head, I should definitely direct it. If they were so confident and wanted to invest money in me as a director, I decided not to take it lightly. I got serious about directing the film along with writing it.”

Kunal, at the trailer launch event of Madgaon Express, had shared how the film is a “product of rage” for him. He had said, “People say it is a product of love, but for me it has been a product of rage. I was very angry, I could not understand what was happening. I was sitting at home and I decided that I should do something that makes me laugh and makes others also laugh. That’s how Madgaon Express was born.”

When asked what he was going through at the time, Kunal said in the interview, “It was before Covid. And I am saying that as an actor you can go through those phases. An actor’s life is never smooth sailing. There are always ups and downs. You can’t be very happy with the ups and you can’t take the downs too seriously. It is also a part of maturing when you go through these phases. I always thought that you can either cry yourself stupid or then use this… like how do you channelise it. It is easier said than done actually but I remember this particular moment when I was feeling like that and I just said to myself that I want to use this (time) not to feel sad but (better myself).”

On how Kunal tackled his lows and fought his way back to feeling worthwhile, he revealed, “It was like an exercise, I wanted to see if I can write something really funny when I am not feeling my best, when I am not feeling funny or humourous. That’s when I wrote the synopsis of the film and a couple of scenes kind of stood out and it helped me get out of that phase. That’s just how it is. Today when you talk about mental health, sometimes when you feel like nothing is going to work out, all it takes is a conversation sometimes or just live that moment, accept it and move ahead, something good will come out of it.”

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“For me, Madgaon Express got me out of that phase and gave me something to do even though it wasn’t a commissioned project. I was doing it for myself. It was making me feel happy. Every time I wrote a nice scene it gave me something to do through the day and made me feel happy by the end of the day and I slept better. I knew if I did for fifteen days my mind would be in a good place. By the end of it I was very proud of the 150 pages I had in the end,” Kunal concluded.

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