Kunal Kapoor plays one of the most famous anti-heroes in history

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Kunal had to learn Karaliyapattu martial arts and Malayalam to play the lead role.

Actor Kunal Kapoor says in his next film, Veeram, he plays the character Chandu Chekavar, one of the most famous anti-heroes in the history.

Drawing another famous character to highlight the similarity, he says Chandu is very much like Shakespeare’s Macbeth. “Our story happened 300 years before Macbeth. Chandu’s actions are governed by different reasons and director Jayaraj has merged the two stories beautifully together”.

Kunal shot to fame with Rakeysh Ompraksh Mehra’s Rang De Basanti. He will also be seen in Gauri Shinde’s Dear Zindagi and Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Raagdesh, which is based on INA trials of heroes from pre-Independence and independence era.

Describing the challenges he had to undergo for a tough physical appearance for Veeram he had to put on about  11-12 kgs of muscles.

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“And to get there actually it was really very challenging because it was 4-5 months intense workout in the gym. And also Jayaraj sir wanted the character to look like warrior and not like a person who has recently developed muscles in the gym. So we mixed up lot of gym work with functional training and besides that we also did Kalaripayattu. So there was lot of martial arts training for three-four months and a lot of weapon training as there is a lot of fighting sequences in the film. So there was training in sword fighting and there is flexible sword called Urmi which I trained in as well because the climax fight is with the Urmi. So it was of course very physically and emotionally challenging.”

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“Macbeth starts off with somebody who is considered a great warrior and then turns into somebody that is tempted by ambition in power and finally he goes into being completely a reckless tyrant. So it’s a really interesting journey there. And we shot the film in three languages – English, Hindi and Malayalam. So that was even more challenging”.

“I was taught by a Kalaripayattu  expert who would come down from Kerala and I would train for three three hours in the morning with him. We shot the action scenes for 17-18 hours a day because we wanted to finish the film in a particular amount of time”.

He says he had to learn Malayalam for the role.

So, will Veeram be the Bollywood version of Macbeth? There are many versions of this Shakespeare’s drama made by world class directors and the drama is unique because it has a striking relevance to modern day politics. Perhaps, the best adaptations I have seen is Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood (1957) and what Roman Polanski made in the 70s. This one had the best cinematic interpretation of the play. – CINEWS

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