Kunal Kemmu is feeling nervous about Abhay 3 because of the expectations people have from it. The actor, who is returning as Abhay Pratap Singh for the third time, said there is a “pressure to deliver and make the audience feel satisfied,” but he is sure that “the makers have tried their best to figure out what they can do to keep the fans excited.” Abhay is Kunal Kemmu‘s first OTT series, which managed to receive an overwhelming response for its previous seasons. The third season, directed by Ken Ghosh, also stars Divya Agarwal, Vijay Raaz, Rahul Dev and Tanuj Virwani among others.
Talking about Abhay’s success, Kunal termed it as “one of a kind” because “this is the first time I ventured in a long format show. I am happy my first venture was successful.” He also said that being a part of the OTT series helped him “to reach a new audience, which earlier we had no idea we had access to.” He said he found a “different kind of fan base through the character”.
While playing Abhay for the third time felt ‘easy’, Kunal said the challenge was “to keep up with the continuity.” However, being a part of the crime thriller wasn’t a cakewalk for him. Recalling his first day on the sets of Abhay, Kunal said the series did take a toll on him. “When I read the first episode of the first season, for me, it was tough to crack. I knew the stories were based on true events. When you are on sets, there’s a part of you that is automatically thinking about how the victims or their families felt. Also, the first part of the season had crimes against children. I remember it kinda taking a toll on me. But obviously, as and when you shoot, you become very clinical in approach,” he told us.
For someone who mostly found himself doing back-to-back comedies, being offered something like Abhay was a surprise. “You can get type-casted even without you knowing it,” Kunal said, tracing his journey in the industry. “Sometimes you love an actor in a certain character so much that you want to see more of them in that, which is fair as an audience but unfair for the actor because he or she might have aspirations of doing other things,” Kunal said, saying that an actor’s relationship with his/her roles is “ever-changing” till the time someone else imagines them in a different avatar.
“Until I did comedies, after Kalyug and Traffic Signal, no one imagined me in comedies. Then came Go Goa Gone, Dhol, Golmaal, 99 and Lootcase where they only saw me doing comedy. So, being offered films like Kalank or Malang or series like Abhay, was a surprise because finally, someone was offering me something like this,” Kunal said.
“There were only comedies coming my way. A couple of dark things that came to me weren’t exciting enough. But I think the timing is everything. There are times when you keep waiting for something to happen, but it happens when it has to happen. For instance, I was offered Malang, Kalank and Abhay in the same year, which was amazing! Luckily, all these projects found an audience. I also received appreciation for my roles in these projects, which made me confident about the decisions I took. Everybody thought it was a risk, including a part of me. But the fact they worked gave me the strength to keep doing work I believe in,” Kunal added.
Comedies and crime-thrillers are two genres that have always worked for Kunal. His debut (as an adult) was the 2005 release Kalyug, which received accolades from critics but failed to make a mark at the box office. “I know that everybody who watched the film has loved it. But maybe in terms of box office, we were not able to say that. So, I would probably say that it did not get enough platforms back then. If OTTs were present then, its success would have been different.”
But in his career so far, does he think he has reached a point where he is being offered the kind of scripts he would want to be a part of? “I feel more confident now. At least, I am doing the stuff that makes me happy. I am glad that whatever roles I am getting are in sync with what I want to do. I would rather not work than do something I am not passionate or excited about, which is why there was a lull period in my career. As an actor, I have always believed that you have to be honest about what you are selling. Acting is the only profession in the world where you are the product. You have to sell yourself. In hindsight, it has been a fulfilling journey. The ups and downs have kept this field interesting and entertaining. Just like how a film has its rise and downfall, but in the end, you see a happy ending. I hope at the end of it (my career), I will have something to be proud of,” Kunal replied.
On a concluded note, we quizzed Kunal to share an update on Go Goa Gone’s sequel. “I would have wanted to do another part the minute we finished the original,” Kunal said, revealing a disappointing news for his fans. “I feel so sad. I don’t want to make a fake promise. But as far as, Go Goa Gone 2 is concerned, officially, there is nothing on it. I don’t know if it is even going to happen, unfortunately. But we will try and create something as fun like that,” he concluded.
Kunal Kemmu’s Abhay 3 will be exclusively streaming on ZEE5.