Year 2004. I went to the hostel. One of the very first friends I made was Ketki. As it is with new acquaintances about to be bound in the hostel for the next 4 years, we exchanged information about our hobbies and favourites (movies, actors, singers, etc.)
I told her my favourite actor was Kay Kay Menon. She said Kay Kay Menon who?
I was not shocked.
Year 2015. Kay Kay Menon is recognised by most of the people who follow Bollywood movies. He has just won the Filmfare 2014 for the Best Supporting Actor for the movie Haider (which is based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet).
This post is about how I discovered and then followed his work.
In 2002, on weekends, the 11.00 AM slot on ZEE TV was for Ketan Mehta’s Pradhanmantri. Kay Kay played the dashing Prime Minister of India. He was quite young in real life but portrayed a 45-ish person in the reel life. He made the PM so real, so alive – like no PM we have ever had. Most of the times, he acted through his eyes – throwing in one of his mischievous smiles in between. His whole cabinet and opposition alike seemed to be hell-bent on pulling him down. Still the PM spoke with poise when he met any of his adversaries. The subtle romance between him and his wife was a thing that classic novels are made of. I was hooked to the serial. I talked about it day-in and day-out to my friends and tried to make them follow it. Few converted. 😐
The same year, Hansal Mehta’s Chhal released. Unfortunately, it was not screened in the hometown. Finally I watched it on ZEE Cinema in 2004, when I came to Pune. He played an undercover cop who develops a strong friendship with the leader of the gang he infiltrates. Prashant Narayanan who played the role of the gang leader is also very commendable in the movie.
I was now well and truly a fan. I would always be on the lookout for movies starring him. Few came. From 2002 to 2004, I tried to dig information about his work on the Internet and found nothing apart from an odd Yahoo fanpage. The Black Friday promos were becoming popular in 2003, but everybody was in for a big disappointment as the movie was said to be canned by the Censor Board. Meanwhile after waiting endlessly for the Last Train to Mahakali (a short film) to be aired on the repeat telecast of Star Bestsellers, I watched it on Youtube. It’s a master thriller with a twist in the end. His acting justifies why Anurag Kashyap (the director) wants him in most of his movies. A little trivia – the actress who plays the reporter in it is his wife in real life.
In 2004, Deewar released. The first time Kay Kay had a negative role and was accompanied by stalwarts like Amitabh Bachhan. I was delighted that he held his own in the face-off scenes with the Big B. We, me and the younger sibling, watched the movie (click to watch on Youtube) on loop on the computer whenever I came home. The cane-in-hand walk of the crippled old Major Sohail was imitated by us so many times, as the puzzled family members looked on.
One fine day in 2005, I spotted a movie ad in the Indian Express. The movie was recommended by Shekhar Kapoor himself. I was more intrigued by the poster which had Kay Kay Menon and two other newcomers in the industry. I requested everybody I knew in the hostel, but nobody would agree to go to the theatre even if I sponsored the tickets. Finally, when Mummy came to visit, I dragged her to the multiplex. When the show was over, she only said one thing – You told me this was a Hindi movie. (Half of the movie had English dialogues!) The movie Hazaaron Khwaishen Aisi now has a cult status. Especially the song Bawraa Mann, by Swanand Kirkire.
I even watched the poorly made Silsilay once. That was a bad idea though. Then Sarkar came. Again he was acting with the Big B. I made my friend Shilpa watch it right after a show of Dus. We also watched Main, Meri Patni aur Woh in the same year. The hall which could accommodate more than 100 had about 15 people in the audience!
The most hilarious incidence is that of Black Friday. Morning shows had a heavy discount on the tickets. I booked a show for me and my friend Neha at 8.00 AM. I always reach the theatre a few minutes after the show has started. The earliest that I reach is when the show is about to start. That day, I reached the theatre at 7.30 AM – fully dressed in a party outfit and high heels! The multiplex hadn’t even opened. We walked in to find the cleaning staff looking at us like we had trespassed or something.
So you get the gist, eh? Kay Kay finally got recognition after these movies and became a household name after his radical transition from serious roles to a lighter one in Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd (2007). He took the lighter side forth in ‘Aage se right‘ (2009) where he played a terrorist who loved poetry.
According to me, his performance in Shaurya ( a remake of A few good men) tops Jack Nicholsons’ in the final scene. But then I may be biased 🙂
Bottomline – Big fan! *kung fu panda style* Do watch his movies listed on the Wiki-page here.
This post is a part of the April A-Z Challenge.