While he wouldn’t box his character as either “good” or “bad”, singer-composer Arjun Kanungo says the part in Radhe posed the kind of challenge he hadn’t come to anticipate of a debut role. “I wasn’t expecting such a difficult part; it is a proper acting role. My character is not simple to understand in the beginning. He has different shades, and the fact that he is not straightforward made it difficult [to play him]. But, I enjoyed the process a 100 per cent. It was nice to be around people who guided me,” says Kanungo of his co-stars, Salman Khan, Randeep Hooda and Jackie Shroff.
Khan’s friend of several years, Kanungo chooses to describe the superstar as “awe-inspiring” instead of intimidating. And while Khan had been egging on Kanungo to give a go at acting, courtesy his good looks, the singer was only waiting for an offer from him. But, when on set, it was director Prabhudeva who served as his guiding force. “On my first day, I was working on a difficult scene, and wasn’t getting it. He highlighted the emotions that would be at play for the character, and encouraged me to think about them while I acted. I realised that every scene can be interpreted differently by various people, so I just relied on him.”
On the cards is another film for Kanungo. “I’ve sung for a couple of films, including one that has been directed by Anurag Kashyap. While it has been shot, a few days’ work is pending. The music is by Amit [Trivedi] and I’ve rendered a few songs. I got to be in the film as well.”
Attributing the fame he has achieved in the industry to his followers on social media, Kanungo isn’t ready to disappoint the music aficionados as he peruses other ambitions. A 12-track album is currently underway to meet an August-September release date. It will include numbers shortlisted from a bunch of 25 that he has in his kitty. “But I want this album to be a reflection of the musician I am, and hence, am writing [new songs]. There are four tracks that are yet to be worked on. I don’t want it to [sound] commercial. While that’s important, it’s the label’s headache [to push songs that are commercial]. Indie-pop is in an interesting space. It is the only time you can try new stuff. Hip-hop is doing well. The way pop music is perceived now is different from the way it was in 2015.”