Every character in Blank has shades of grey: Karan Kapadia
The debutant actor talks about overcoming stage fright and making his debut with the fast-paced thriller
Karan Kapadia is making his Bollywood debut with Behzad Khambata’s psychological thriller, Blank, which will hit theatres this Friday. Set in Mumbai over the course of a day, the fast-paced actioner stars Karan in the role of a suicide bomber, who loses his memory before a terror attack. Sunny Deol plays an upright ATS officer, while Ishita Dutta portrays a female cop assisting him.
Karan, who hails from a film background — he’s the nephew of veteran actor Dimple Kapadia and brother-in-law of Akshay Kumar — grew up in the Juhu suburb of Mumbai, away from the usual crowd of industry kids. “Till age 15, I was raised by my mother (late actor Simple Kapadia), who was a single parent. A lot of my childhood was spent on film sets. That's where I guess the acting bug bit me,” he shares.
Watching Christopher Nolan’s Prestige for the first time, and through that discovering the works of David Fincher, opened up his mind to cinema, he adds. Karan suffered from performance anxiety from an early age and found acting as a means to overcome his fears. “I kept making zero-budget short films with my friends. Most of them were rubbish, but they helped build my confidence.”
He landed his first assisting gig on Rahul Dholakia’s unreleased film, Society. He assisted Anthony D’Souza on Boss in 2012 and pursued an acting course at The Jeff Goldberg Studio. “I also learned horse riding, martial arts, and motorcycling. I wanted to stay prepared for any role that might come my way.” While working on Boss, Karan met Behzad; the two hit it off but lost touch. Then, in 2016, when opportunities for a debut project seemed hard to come by, Karan got a call to read the script of Blank. “I liked the one-liner about a terrorist who has forgotten his past. It's a gripping story where you are thrown in the middle of the chase. It's not an overly patriotic or a ‘hero-villain’ film in any way. Every character has shades of grey.”
Despite being well prepared, Karan’s stage fright returned on the first day of the shoot. “We were shooting the main interrogation scene. I had never been so nervous in front of the camera. Sunny sir came in and said he wanted to do the scene impromptu. It gave me a mini-heart attack; I couldn't speak my first few lines properly. But he kept reassuring me and telling me to stay calm. After two-three takes, I finally got on a grip on the scene.”
While not an adherent of method acting, Karan says he listens to music extensively to get into the mind space of a character. In acting classes, he’d put on Eminem’s older tracks to get into the zone of an angsty character. For Blank, he curated a playlist of Hans Zimmer film scores and listened to them on loop. The 25-year-old actor bills thrillers and sci-fi as his favourite genres, but wishes to experiment with all kinds of films. “Comedy is another genre that interests me. I'd love to a traditional Bollywood entertainer as well. I am open to doing any film that I'll love to watch as an audience member.”
Besides making his acting debut in Blank, Karan has co-written a science fiction web series for an OTT platform. “It's an interesting concept, quite relevant to the times we are living in. I have conceptualised it from the perspective of a writer, but there are some characters I would love to play. We have pitched it to some leading platforms. Hopefully, it will get made soon.”