Take two on the underdog- the thing called true love and the actor who deals in it- Kunal Karan Kapoor

‘Love’, with all its mystical powers to make us soar, have butterflies in our stomach, skipping and pacing our heartbeats to its own rhythm, provide a hormonal rush (also called swooning). Ending, if requited, with the feeling of being complete and replete and in peace with the world, has had a hard time making me believe in it. Though, lets not blame the emotion, outright. Maybe it was just the display and portrayal of the emotion on screen, in most cases.

A new friend of mine was describing the place she lives, when she said ‘It is just so beautiful, when it is beautiful’ ( that you forget the long months of cold, harsh winds and icy roads) also applies to love. That you just want to see and feel it again and would wait for eons in a desert (or in 40 inches of snow) and jump through fire rimmed hoops into a hot sulphur spring (boiling sulphuric acid, yum!).. if someone tells you there is ‘love’ in the end. Love, is also, not for everyone.

Poor Mohan was jumping through all the hoops. For months. Nanhi’s incisors have grown, they have been shooting for six months and so in real life terms, it has been almost a year our beloved Mohan has been trying to woo Megha. Who has been wooed, so to speak. In my last post I did not acknowledge Aakansha Singh and was really remiss in so doing, she is only about 21, I think and the character of a mature ( if not that much older in yrs) mother of two and her incantation of ‘Thik hai’ or betta… the concern and the trepidation, the turmoil and the incipient happiness in her motherhood all shine brightly through the eyes of this beautiful young girl. Who was excellently cast in this role and will hopefully avoid the typecasting that usually, no, religiously, occurs in every form of art, not just acting, all over the world, deserved and otherwise (Leo Di Caprio as a spy, Jack Nicholson as someone who is usually angry, Meryl Streep for successful women, Picasso for cubism, Jackson Pollock for drip painting,Stephen King for ‘horror’, Nicholas Sparks for horribly heart rending (in a physical manner for me) love stories, Daniel Craig for action etc etc). Perhaps a lot more perversely in Indian television shows.

Love is most definitely, for Mohan, and for Kunal Karan Kapoor. In the show NBTNMKK , he had loved Rashmi deeply in the past, relinquishing all hopes for anyone else in his heart, when she left him, until Megha came into his life. So he knows what it is. What it takes away in return for what it may or may not deliver. Even Rashmi knew what she was missing, because she had it once. That’s the catch with love, if you have felt it once, truly, even if it is not you yourself that has felt it inside you, if it was just something that came out in waves from the person that loved you. You will always remember it and look for it, everywhere, everyday. For us viewers, we feel it coming out in waves from Mohan, for Megha, right through the television screen. His hurt in tangible when Megha calls him irresponsible. I felt the pain and the dread of hearing the answer when he asked ‘Jab tum kisise bhi shadi karne ko taiyar ho, to mujhse kyun nahi?’ I thought that very good scripting and so logical that I forgot I was watching hindi television. Such clear questions are rarely asked in our dramas, people get most of their information via eavesdropping here!

I think, if you are one of those people who can really see other people, through their worldly faces and facades, and have seen someone truly in love, then also you are destined to keep looking for it, until you find it, if you are lucky. Its probably a good thing then, given the paucity of people capable of true love, that most people just take you on your face value.

The longing we all see in Mohan, is not that easily found in this world. The self preservation we are either taught or is innate in our nature, almost always prevents us to want something to a degree that could destroy us. To lose ourselves in someone else, till we as a separate person, cease to exist. Mohan Bhatnagar, crime reporter, clearly, has the courage to love, not once but twice. But that is the thing with any potent drug. Once you taste it, you simply want more, even if destroys you, as it most likely will.

Therefore, Megha, who had love, perhaps a simpler form that we can all have at some point of our life, is initially afraid of it. What she had was still deeply satisfying, as she knew no better. And deep is only as deep as we are willing to look. Contentment, is easier, and with a loving husband and children she had it for a long time. With Mohan, the waters are more testy. He is not your normal stoic gentleman that is the pillar of strength, patience, fortitude, good manners and dependability. He is also not your usual charming, metrosexual, well dressed and smooth talking modern guy. Some girls may like those.. TV shows are full of them.

Nothing wrong with British gentleman we have all read about, or the usual smooth Casanova all girls dream to tame and make their own or Rhett Butler of Gone with the wind ( I personally hate the book). But I like a real guy, sincere, emotional, impatient, dreamy enough to forget there was a child riding pillion on his bike- lost in his beloved’s thoughts or a man wielding a gun to shoot him, in pursuit, when he sees his girl, impulsive enough to declare his love at any opportunity because he could contain it no longer, despite knowing better. One would almost believe such a guy doesn’t exist. Charm can be acquired, clothes can be bought and couture, maturity and patience may well come with age and experience. Blind love, or the real thing.. that, my friends, is not so easily had (though aging and experience are far from easy!). And much more difficult to portray. The background of the two protagonists, with knowing and believing in the power of love, is quintessential to this story, I think. Unlike what most people think or at least like to quote, ‘that true love happens only once’, I think that true love is more to do with the person who feels it, rather than the person he/she feels it for. If you can love, then you will find someone to love. Its a behavior changing drug, with permanent side effects.

As he played the underdog this time, competing with Manav, the child psychiatrist  who has it all together and most importantly gives the impression of being dependable. Mohan is also dependable, and we the viewers know it, but Mr. Kapoor just does a brilliant job, with the help of the writer, to somehow appear to come off as wanting on that quality. Essential for a father of two. A high point of the story is of course, unlike in other TV shows, Manav- the other suitor, is depicted as being a good guy, with what one could view (objectively), as a better prospective father and provider. This happens a lot in novels and in english movies, but rarely do we see that in Indian television, where the assumption is that when one digs for dirt on anyone,the only way to win against a competitor,  is to find it. Usually in movies the lead actor starts out as an underdog and then shows strength of character and what- not to end up being better than everyone else, despite his few shortcomings initially. In NBTNMKK, that has not happened, and that is quite fresh and much more realistic. We don’t always need evil to be good, nor does Mohan need to be the best to steal all our hearts, as he stole Meghas.

The defeated, stumbling walk carrying Megha’s wedding card, the unshed tears, that forlorn look I so adore.. Kunal Karan Kapoor does for a TV show I have not seen any one do for a movie in a long long time. That has been the reason I love satires, or cynical ends, they are just so much easier to believe and thus easier for someone to portray. On screen chemistry is a different matter, I have seen that much more often and I don’t think that is easy to achieve either, but the softness of true love, that I have not believed recently. The last time I believed in real love, on screen, was perhaps Forrest Gump, because Tom Hank’s character did not have the normal selfish or self preservation motifs, nor did he question or deny his feelings, he was an unusual guy, without malice, jealousy and other emotions that make up most people and hence still a hero, albeit an unlikely one.

Mohan is, ostensibly, the ordinary guy, most definitely not a hero, despite Nanhi’s belief. Yet, I believe his love is as close to the real thing, as one gets.

For someone to make me believe in true love, I would need just a lot more persuasion, a lot more talent, and a sandpaper treatment: to remove the years of accumulated jadedness. Mr. Kapoor, you do that. I have believed that love existed, in books, like in The Thornbirds, or Great Expectations or in Ape Essence and a few other books by authors who can write a life and its several realms in such eloquent words, that you would believe anything even in the good in humanity. To take it to screen is another matter. To move the viewers is another matter, in a language that speaks beyond the script. In the eyes that speak beyond the pain and heartbreak. In the dry swallows that control more than tears and show more than the passion and, yes, the real thing.

So when Mohan leaned towards Megha at her farewell party, my heart skipped a beat and when he told Megha ” Meri zindagi bhi tum ho aur meri khushiyan bhi tum ho..’ ,I released the breath I had been holding and I believed. Even when I know that love can be the most selfish emotion in this world. It destroys the weak, who pine for it when it was never theirs and give up the fight, that is life. That bends reality in ways that even Einstein would not comprehend. Love, after all, is not for everyone, it is for the strong hearted. I wouldn’t recommend it, unless you loved Mohan Bhatnagar or someone like him. Even then be prepared for a future of impulsiveness, impatience, the child like devotion that comes with the kind of guy he is, also comes with a child he can be at times.. No wonder Megha sees the issues, being sensible as she is!! Alas, not much hope for her either, love hurts, but hurt is good for the heart.

I had also not acknowledged the writer in the last post and that was most remiss and kudos to them or her? I watch the show online and the writer’s name is barely visible.. 😦 My sincere apologies.

Note: after July 12th’s episode= AREY YAAR!! WTF..  so much for impulsiveness being adorable. Now the onus is on the writer, completely, to make this work, because acting cannot save stories. Though TRPs are important, and one cannot blame the producers for trying to keep the show going. We want the fast pace, we want the great acting, we want the daily dose, we, therefore, cannot pummel an attempt (however outrageous, but stranger things have no doubt happened in  heaven and Earth than what we can contemplate, predict or comprehend), to continue the drama. But again, WTF!!! ( ANd I really really, I swear on the holiest of holy things on this planet, that I don’t swear easily).

P.S. post July 28th: I think I can see where this is heading, the two weddings is intended to be an intrinsic twist in the plot which, I think, will continue to focus on M and M’s relationship, after (what is definitely an illegal) marriage. For us in the know, marriage requires more work than whatever (believe me), went before, no matter how tortuous it was. I do believe nice moments are likely in their blossoming love, some chemical reactions are forecast. The added complexity of the two kids, with Addu’s animosity and Nanhi’s partiality to Mohan, in a single roomed house.. There are many palces to go, yet. Mr Kapoor, I still love you. I know you will be made to jump through even more hoops, fire lined and directed to end in swamps (sometimes) . I also know, only you can do it and make it worthwhile to watch. And I think the writer is Sonali something,  she is brave to try to walk the tricky fine line between popularity and sensibility. I believe she will try to save Mr. Kapoor’s character from quicksand, even though it must enter the swamp. Its too bad, however, that within six months of the best show in years, before Mr. Kapoor received the recognition he deserves and is due him, the TRP dominated TV industry turned this into another hollow story, or perhaps just another soap that leans towards being forgettable, but may still be saved for people who have seen it from the start. Like us..

12 Comments on “Take two on the underdog- the thing called true love and the actor who deals in it- Kunal Karan Kapoor

  1. i really look forward for ur writeups………i love this underdog…supermohan…kudos toh his brilliance in acting and kudos to ur wonderfull expression….!!!

  2. What a wonderful write-up. Its simply superb . And about KKK ,he is such a wonderful actor . Mohan ,s LOVE is the one we truly yearn for ….Kunal is doing a brilliant job. He does not act, I think he behaves. You never know you are watching a hindi show . When he is happy we r happy !!!! and when he is in pain we r also in pain .

    • thanks Sreeja 🙂 KKK is very natural and in six months he has progressively changed my definition for a good actor, in a way quite exceptional for any actor, but really commendable for a TV actor..

  3. Pingback: The Field Beyond Right And Wrong | Unboxed Writers

  4. I just love your take on the love..it’s right that we all yearn for such love. Mohan is not a usual hero being shown on Hindi television..he is perfect with all his imperfections that Megha could not realize when she was swept off by her feet..this is the real charm of this character..though it was writer-director fault on not focussing Megha realization or turmoil properly…but character Mohan is quite realistic yet unbelievable and completely different from what Megha could have wished for..she had experienced a well settled life with a Perfect son,father, husband but falling in love with a jhalla guy like Mohan does not come automatically ….she had seen through him to find real MB…though she still lags behind in this from her own daughter Nanhi 🙂

    • Hi Pals!
      Thank you so much for taking the time to leave two very special comments. It means a lot to me. Many people have written about KKK, and thats all we can do in return for his doing his job, so exceedingly well and keeping us entertained. – Thanks again-

  5. beautiful write up…….keep writing dear on NBTNMKK and Our Rockstar Kunal Karan Kapoor

  6. kunal is such a natural actor i like him in lrl too he loks very cool. nbtnmkk rocks but drop the shocking twist because kunal looks bad when he seems sad.

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