Khushalii Kumar continues to explore creative fields ranging from being a designer to appearing in many music videos produced by her former T-series brand to now her film debut. hers. Dhokha: Round D Corner saw her big Bollywood dreams come true. With talented co-stars like Aparshakti Khurana and R Madhavan on board, she’s really excited about the movie and can’t wait for it to be released. In an exclusive interview with Filmfare, she talks about her ambitions and dreams as well as the relationship she shares with her siblings Bhushan Kumar and Tulsi Kumar.
Dhokha: Round D Corner is a catchy name; Why is it written as “D” instead of “the”?
You will have to wait until the movie is released to get the answer.
Kookie Gulati has acted in films like The Big Bull — what was his experience like directing?
He’s very well organized and perfectly clear on exactly what he wants, and he also writes a great script. My brother made it clear to me that they had a scenario where they were looking for a new face. So you meet the director because it’s a purely performance-oriented film and he needs to be convinced if you’re the right fit for the character. And so he saw my work. I also did a short film before that. He saw that and then auditioned me. And the best part is, when I watched the trailer, I knew he used my voice in it for the narration because he felt it had a mysterious quality to it.
What prompted you to come out with such an unusual story?
For me, the story and the characters have to be engaging. And as an actor, I felt like there was a lot I could do with this character, which piqued my interest. And I realized that it is not easy for me to understand Saanchi and the way she behaves. It is extremely difficult, but I believe that I prefer to do the difficult things.
It’s not a typical rom-com but supposed to be a dark drama?
It’s not dark at all. It’s a suspenseful horror movie. I find it more enjoyable to experience something that I am not. I mean, that’s what I like to do. I care more about others. Like you know about that character, there’s a lot to learn about her. And do a rom-com or something along those lines when I come out, I mean, I want to do that too. I wouldn’t say it’s something
I don’t want to do. But this is what motivates My most concern.
Tell us a little bit about your character in the movie, any challenges you faced and what was the easier part for you.
All of my challenges are initial, that is, before I even get to the set. I sat with the director many times, always trying to understand Saanchi, my character. And then, of course, you’re acting alongside talents like R. Madhavan, Aparshakti and Darshan, who have a lot of experience. For me, just standing there and saying my lines was a big deal. Keeping up with them and standing in the same frame is a huge challenge. But the moment I became Saanchi, everything became a part of me. I remember that on my first day, I was shooting with Maddy. And he’s amazing because he knows how to make his co-stars relax. And the first day I met him on set, it was like I was Saanchi and he was my husband, Yatharth, and then everything went smoothly.
We found this photo of Madhavan and you from the movie Dahi Cheeni which is supposed to be your debut…?
Jeena Mushkil is a short film that I was in. It is only shown at film festivals and I received the Critic’s Best Actress Award for it also. So Maddy saw my work, and he liked it. And there’s this script, Dahi Cheeni, but somehow that project didn’t work the way it is supposed to. Amidst all that, the story of Kookie sir comes, which Maddy sir really, enjoyed. So the whole conversion happened.
You’ve made music videos before; How do you do different movies?
It’s completely different. Because it’s a performance-oriented, character-driven process. Saanchi wears a saree throughout the movie. So I started my reading and preparation at ease. Music videos are an entertaining ride. You’re on top because you’re always having fun and dancing. The movie takes you on an emotional roller coaster ride. Stressful scenes can be emotionally draining
You are a girl with many talents. You’re also a fashion designer — what was the experience like?
I’ve always wanted to be an actor since I was a kid. So I also worked on a religious film with my father. My father was the only one who supported me in this, but after his tragic death we moved to Delhi. My mother was extremely scared when I or any of us appeared in front of the camera. Because she was afraid of fame and popularity, at that time she convinced me to pursue a career in design. So that’s how I started my career as a fashion designer. And I used to skip NIFT and take an acting class at the same time. But later my mother found out. I still call fashion my hobby. And now I feel like it’s like a best friend, with each of my clothes having a story to tell. I started showing them in Paris and New York. And one creative assistant pointed out that each of your outfits tells a story. It’s a work of art with a lot of thought put into it. So, you know, when you get recognized in a place like that, and even when Shakira wears my dress, that’s what keeps me alive and my dreams alive. So all of this encouraged me; it gave me a way to keep myself motivated and keep going; that, yes, I will do what I want someday. And I can say that fashion is my best friend and has kept me alive.
You’ve designed for international superstars like Justin Bieber and Shakira — how can you reach them?
I started doing that by giving my first gig in Paris, then in New York. And there, you get to know all these buyers, and you’re retailing in nearly a hundred stores around the world through these shows. Stylists of Hollywood stars visit these shows. Shakira and Justin Bieber’s personal stylists, as well as their main publics, visited the show. So they all go there, visit you, then click photos and send them to their celebrity friends. Shakira loves my dress that I sent to Paris. I can not believe it. I remember I didn’t sleep all night. I still get goosebumps thinking about it because I’m so excited and nervous.
Are you also involved in running your family business?
My mother, you see, is the one who handles everything in Delhi. Many people are not aware of this. My mother is in charge of our headquarters in Delhi. My mom handles all the finances, backend, and management of the large T-Series family. I have always been attracted to things related to creativity. If you’re wondering if I’m involved in the day-to-day activities of the T-Series, the answer is no. Yes, I am always available to support my brother and mother, but I do not participate in their business decisions.
Share some memories of your father.
Every moment with my father is priceless. I recall attending his bhajans photo shoots and always sitting with the crowd in the front. My father came to see me play the role of Cinderella in the school play for the first time, and I still cherish it. Another great memory came to Vaishnodevi and Haridwar with him on a regular basis. He has accomplished so much in such a short period of time. Whether it’s acting, philanthropy, or building such a massive empire when it’s cassettes and CDs and producing those things. There was a large T-Series family with over 5000 employees at the time. He usually takes care of everyone and everything all the time. There used to be people in Mumbai who caged birds and sold them on the street. So if he comes across them, he will buy all the birds and open the cage, releasing them. And then if he also finds the sellers the next day, he will buy back from them and release the birds. “I have a factory in Noida; come and work there,” he often told them. “These birds are designed to fly and enjoy their freedom. They shouldn’t be locked up.” This is just one example, but there are many more. As a result, every moment I spent with my dad was extremely special and memorable.
How is your relationship with your sister, Tulsi Kumar? Do you two have the same taste in music?
We have similar fashion sense, but in music, itna nahi milta hai aesthetic, we are unique. Although I love hearing her speak. All my playlists include Tulsi songs. I share a wonderful relationship with her and with my mother. We are both close and for our mother.
What is it like to grow up in the shadow of a tragedy?
After Papa passed away, everything changed overnight. Tulsi, mom and I have moved to Delhi. Despite the fact that he hadn’t even finished college, my brother Bhushan had to stay in Mumbai and take care of the business. He is in his freshman year of college, there are so many jobs and pressures that the initial time of bonding, fun and bonding between siblings has faded. Before, I recall we always played games together. Then Papa passed away, and he was under pressure from work. He only comes home around 12:30-1:30 am And then he will leave at such an early hour. As a result, the gap begins to increase. We made sure to have family vacations and we continue to do so even now. And now we have everything and don’t have much time to spend together. Tulsi has her recordings, I have my acting, Bhai always has a long queued list of releases. But the relationship will always remain, no matter what.
He is well known for his exotic car collection. Do you worship? for what?
As for the clothes, I’d say. I really care about fashion and style. It doesn’t have to be premium brands; In fact, I love going to flea markets abroad and buying things from them. So for me, it’s anything that looks interesting and grabs my attention.
Do you feel pressure or expectations because you are an inherited child?
I am not because, as you can see, I like to follow my Father’s direction in all things. Of course, you have a great legacy to carry, but I believe you can never do anything under pressure. Dad is never under any pressure, so just always be happy, positive and loving people. Whoever you are, whatever you earn, always give it to those who are a little less fortunate. So do it, and keep spreading love, happiness and smiles. I believe that is my true legacy, and I will always adhere to it.