Exclusive | Villains seem missing from film industry: Kiran Kumar

- July 7, 2024
| By : Idrees Bukhtiyar |

The Veteran actor, who is remembered for his negative roles like ‘Lotiya Pathan’ in Tezaab, says actors who specialised in playing the baddies have disappeared from Bollywood; he also says directors must actively participate in casting

Film industry: Actor Kiran Kumar says that artists who were recognised only as villains in Bollywood have disappeared nowadays.

“Definition of villains does not exist in the films anymore and everybody is just playing a character,” Kumar told Patriot in an interview.

He said that time has changed to a level that every actor can now play a negative role in films.

“I believe that every actor can play a villainous character. The chemistry between hero and villain is no more there and everybody is busy making realistic cinema only,” he said, before quickly adding, “Line of demarcation has ended between these characters. Now, a hero can play a negative character while a villain can be given a positive character.”

Kumar expressed confusion over the role of casting directors in the industry.

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“This is a new term introduced in the industry, but I cannot understand their role. They do not know how to differentiate between senior and junior actors. It used to be and should be a director’s call to decide on the actors,” said Kumar who worked in hit films like Khudgarz, Tezaab, Khuda Gawah, Henna, Sapoot, Loha, Bholaa among others.

Kumar said that he does not go for any auditions. “I tell film directors that if I fit in your film’s character and the remuneration that I demand is paid, then I will consider the film,” he said.

“Nowadays, film directors take actors on the recommendation of PR casting agencies while many get roles through their social media following,” said Kumar who is the son of veteran actor Jeevan.

The 70-year-old actor said that earlier there was no concept of casting directors in the industry.

“We would get work based on our relationship with directors and producers. When we used to work with them and if they liked our work, they would take us in other films also. The trust was so strong that we would not even need to sign contracts,” he said.

He said that they have seen the toughest days of the industry.

“Today a script was given to an actor three months earlier to read it, but we were told about our role on the sets. The time and situation when we used to work, if the new generation of actors would have been there, they would have not survived,” said Kumar who has worked in about 550 films in different languages.

Kumar called his 1988 film Tezaab’s Lotiya Pathan character a breakthrough.

“The film changed my life completely. The respect and recognition I got in the industry is all because of the film,” he said.

He is also worried that such characters are not being written anymore.

“We may still have good writers in the industry but now one writes only about realistic characters and this is called change. Everything changes with time and we have to adopt it,” said Kumar who hails from Kashmir.

He said that he has adapted to the changes.

“I am working on new films and I did not find it challenging as I have adopted the changes and I am passionate about my work,” Kumar said.

Kumar said that his childhood was spent in the national capital.

“My relatives and cousins used to live in Delhi and in fact, my cousins were married in the city. My uncle also used to live in Delhi. We used to go to Lajpat Nagar for Chhole Bhature. I remember going to Qutb Minar and Red Fort. We would visit Kareem’s restaurant and have kababs, mutton nihari, and tandoori roti,” he recalled.

Kumar said he has huge respect for the Doordarshan channel, where he started his TV career.

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“I have done multiple serials with them and they gave me popularity too. My shows used to be watched in every nook and corner of India. The channel is still well received by people,” said Kumar whose Karan The Detective show on DD used to be very popular.

When asked about Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) days, he said, “I spent a wonderful time there and FTII has groomed me. But I would say that passion for acting should be there inside you.”

Commenting on OTT platforms, Kumar said there is a lot of freedom in it.

“If you do well in an episode, you will be offered another episode. It has also given birth to new actors,” he emphasised.

Without revealing much about his upcoming projects, Kumar said that he is going to Kashmir in July and August to shoot his next two projects there.