Eros International’s upcoming web series Side Hero doesn’t promise drama, romance or action. All it offers is Kunaal Roy Kapur. “But who will watch him?” the trailer jokes.
Starring Kapur as himself, Side Hero examines the highs and lows of the Hindi film industry through the life of an actor yearning to make it big. Also starring Gauahar Khan, Shakti Kapoor and Gopal Dutt, the series has been directed by Rohan Sippy and was released on the digital platform Eros Now on September 24.
The series is fiction with a pinch of biography, Kapur told Scroll.in. “Whether it is getting the meeting with the right director or the right manager or hiring a bodyguard or nepotism or the misogyny in the industry,” the actor said. “It is basically taking on such topics. We are not making great statements about each one of these things or giving a solution.”
The genesis of the series happened three years ago in a conversation between Kapur, Sippy and Nipun Dharmadhikari, who has scripted the series, on the need to look at the entertainment industry through the prism of comedy. The three had worked together on the 2013 comedy-drama Nautanki Saala!.
“The initial idea was generally using someone from entertainment and getting into their lives including the ideas of petty celebrity, navigating through an industry,” Kapur said. “Once I got to chatting with him, we sort of veered towards using me as someone who has been part of Bollywood, also coming from a film background.”
As Side Hero’s trailer brings up numerous times, the actor belongs to the illustrious Roy Kapur family, which includes his brother, film producer Siddharth Roy Kapur and sister in-law Vidya Balan. Kunaal Roy Kapur’s breakout role was as a photographer in Abhinay Deo’s Delhi Belly (2011). Since then, he has mostly been seen in supporting roles, including in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013), Action Jackson (2014), Kaalakaandi (2018) and Love Per Square Foot (2018).
But unlike his character in the series, Kapur has no qualms in being the “side hero”. He said, “I never take it too seriously and that has what led to the show. Whether it is your career or anything else, you need to give it importance, but also remember that it is not the end of the world. That is how I think. Kunaal, the character thinks differently.”
As long as his character is integral to the story and has an interesting arc, Kapur does not mind playing second fiddle, he reiterated. “Personally I am very happy with the roles I have gotten,” he said. “I actually enjoy doing the supporting roles more for two reasons. Generally they are a little bit more grey, like Nitin from Delhi Belly. The leads are a little bit straighter. Sometimes in all honesty, the pressure is off you.”
Which are some of the favourite supporting roles he has played? “Yeh Jawaani Deewani was one of the fun ones,” Kapur said, referring to his role as Taran, Kalki Koechlin’s gawky but kind-hearted fiance in Ayan Mukerji’s romance. “They [the main cast] had a much longer schedule, while I was hardly with them for 10 days. But it was a character that a lot of people felt for. He was a sweet, little character who came and went.”
However, Kapur will be spending a lot more time on screen this year. He plays the lead in two upcoming films by Vishal Mishra, Hotel Milan, which is scheduled to be released in October, and Marudhar Express. Also in the pipeline is the horror film Mushkil, alongside Rajnish Duggal.