Kunal Kemmu reflects on Rohit Shetty’s hit madcap drama, Golmaal Again!!! and tells Bhakti Mehta what makes the series a smashing success
What was the transition like, going from the third film to the fourth one after seven years?
In the third film, it took me a little while on the first day to understand what Laxman was all about, how the muhawarasshould be said and how everything should be done. By the time it came to the fourth film in the franchise, we already knew what it was all about. The one thing that we did do on the first day of Golmaal Again!!! was sit down together and watch a little bit of Golmaal 3. It had been seven years so we wanted to get the energy right.
When people watch the fourth instalment, they shouldn’t feel that seven years have gone by. It should feel fresh. So, no, playing the character didn’t present any challenges as such, because I had done this before. It was with the same team, so there was a lot of comfort when we came back together.
Your character in Golmaal Again!!! has the same attributes but it seems different. Tell us about that.
The characters in Golmaal pretty much remain the same. Whether it is my character or Tusshar Kapoor’s or Shreyas Talpade’s. All of us have the same kind of quirks that we did before. We were sure it would be very similar and even Rohit (Shetty) was confident that for him, in Golmaal, the characters have worked. Whenever you make a sequel, you have to make sure the characters remain the same. Since this is a new film, the story changes, of course. With a change in the story, there are certain changes in the characters with everything else remaining largely the same.
In the movie, Ajay (Devgn) and Shreyas are in one gang, Arshad (Warsi), Tusshar and I are on the other side. It was practically the same. There was no brief on how the character would be different. All we knew was that this was going to be a different story and, this time, there was a little magic and a supernatural element. Otherwise, all of us were very excited to play the same parts that we had done before.
When you play the same character in two films, what do you bring to the table?
Sajid-Farhad write these amazing lines that we deliver on screen. I brought little improvisation and a lot of energy to my role. We have made these characters our own and people have liked them. So we use the same energy that we did in the past and then add something new to it. It helps so much because you are working with such good actors that we feed off each other’s energy and it adds to the performance. I don’t think that, beyond the energy and our improvisations, we do anything else.
Every frame of Golmaal Again!!! shows the camaraderie between all the actors. What was the bonding experience like, especially with the addition of leading ladies Tabu and Parineeti Chopra?
It may sound clichéd but the Golmaal set is so much fun that it is the only time when the actors don’t go back to their vans after the scenes are shot. Everybody sits together, chats together and has fun. It’s something we miss when the film is over. We hope the film does really well so that we can make another one and hang out together again!
I think that also shows in the chemistry between us on screen. If actors do not get along well, then the performance suffers sometimes because you cannot give one hundred per cent. But in Golmaal Again!!!, you can see the chemistry. We are so comfortable with each other which is why it looks like they are brothers or friends who have grown up together. It’s all of us – Ajay, Tusshar, Arshad, Shreyas and in this case even Tabu and Parineeti… we all got along really well.
What is your equation with the film’s director Rohit Shetty?
It was so much fun working with him. We all love him and trust him so much. A lot of people have asked me what is it that I like about him and what is it like being on the set. I have to say that, with him, you are so confident that you don’t even want to listen to the script. What stood out for me in the third part was that even though there are so many actors and so many characters, everybody stands out. He makes sure that every actor gets their due and equal screen presence. That’s why, even today, when you ask people who they liked most in the film, 99 per cent of them will say ‘everybody’.
What is most special about Rohit Shetty is that you can trust him completely. When he tells me to get into a washing machine, I don’t ask him why or what it will look like. I know he has planned something fun and it is going to be great. He has got that leadership quality. Otherwise, I can’t imagine how he would handle not only so many actors but 300-350 people who are present on set. It’s a pleasure to be on that set because he is a pleasure to hang out with.
You all recently visited Gaiety cinema to see the audience’s response, first-hand.
The response, overall, has been amazing. For many of us actors, the audience saw the film before we did. We were promoting it right till the night of October 18 and the next day was Diwali, so there was no screening. Then, the movie released on October 20. I actually watched it on October 21. So, before many of us had even watched the film, we started receiving the response from the public and the industry.
There were messages coming in from people who had watched the first day, first show. This is what every actor lives for. And, we got exactly what we expected. On Friday morning, we saw amazing reports, great box office collections, a lovely response from the fraternity, etc. Then, watching the audience react to it at Gaiety was the best experience an actor can ask for. When you shoot, you don’t know what will be accepted by the audience, and to hear people clap, whistle and laugh was so much fun! It’s hard to explain how it felt.
What is next on the cards for you?
There are a couple of things that are happening. Soha (Ali Khan) and I have joined hands with Ronnie Screwvala and we are co-producing a film on the life of Ram Jethmalani. Go Goa Gone 2 is also on the cards and, hopefully, we should get that ball rolling early next year. I have also been writing something but there will be an official announcement on that in a week or two.