Kunal Kemmu’s Cinematic Voyage: From Actor to Director with “Madgaon Express”


New Delhi: Tracing the arc of a remarkable career, Kunal Kemmu’s transformation from a child artist to a leading actor and now a director is nothing short of cinematic itself. As he embarks on a new phase with his directorial debut, the hilariously crafted “Madgaon Express,” he acknowledges the guidance of his past directors in shaping his creative vision.

Kemmu reflects on his experiences, noting, “All the directors I worked with since childhood have been my teachers. I was subconsciously imbibing their process into my being as an actor as well as a creative mind.” He has an extensive comedy portfolio, having worked with acclaimed directors such as Priyadarshan, Rohit Shetty, and the duo Raj & DK, all renowned for their unique storytelling styles. “Priyan excels in assembling an ensemble cast and fostering an infectious energy. Rohit treats comedies with the grandeur of big-scale films, while Raj and DK favor subtlety and offhand remarks, which have been sources of inspiration for me,” he explains.

Still, Kemmu aspires to carve out his own niche, rather than imitate his mentors, suggesting, “Maybe some of their style reflects in mine, I’m not sure.” His opportunity to don the director’s hat came unexpectedly when producers Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani suggested he take on the role after hearing the script. The multi-talented Kemmu humorously admits, “I don’t think I would have had the courage to propose directing the film myself, along with writing and acting in it. I’m thankful they trusted my vision and allowed me to bring it to life with the cast I had in mind.”

“Madgaon Express” is more than just a comedy—it’s a rollicking ride featuring three friends, portrayed by Pratik Gandhi, Divyenndu, and Avinash Tiwary, whose Goan escapades become a comedy of errors. When discussing the impact of the cult classic “Dil Chahta Hai” on modern cinema, a story of three friends on a journey of self-discovery, Divyenndu muses, “That movie changed narrative norms and made you wonder why you hadn’t embarked on such adventures yourself. It started a trend.”. Adding to this sentiment, Kemmu suggests if there ever were a mashup of “Dil Chahta Hai” and “Madgaon Express,” it would be fittingly dubbed “Bachpan Ke Samne Mil Gaye Apne” (Dreams of Childhood Fulfilled Along with Our Own).

Goa’s scenic beauty and its quintessential vibe have made it a pivotal character in numerous Hindi films such as “Bombay To Goa,” “Go Goa Gone,” “Finding Fanny,” and “Dear Zindagi,” among others. Kemmu considers Goa his lucky charm, reminiscing about the cherished memories of working there, vacationing with family, or hanging out with friends. He affectionately states, “Everything about Goa is just positive.”

However, times have changed for Kemmu, who admits that the party-hard lifestyle of Goa no longer appeals to him as it once did. “Now the loud music tires me; I’m more inclined towards conversations,” Kemmu says, as he reflects on life’s different stages and how Goa remains a destination that caters to every mood and phase.

The anticipation for “Mdagaon Express” is palpable, and with a powerhouse of talent both on-screen and behind the scenes, audiences are in for a joyous cinematic journey. As Kunal Kemmu transitions from actor to director, his narrative demonstrates the evolution of an artist who continues to learn, adapt, and shape the landscape of Indian cinema.

Watch the insightful interview with Kunal Kemmu, where he discusses his directorial debut, the influence of past directors on his craft, the significance of Goa in his life, and the new chapter he is writing in his extensive career.

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