PeepingMoon Exclusive: It's a democracy, not illegal to go there- Kennedy actor Abhilash Thapliyal on multiple Indian celebrities flocking to Cannes Film Festival 2023


Abhilash Thapliyal might have just started his acting career but he is certainly going places with his choice of scripts. His upcoming film, Kennedy, was screened at the Cannes Film Festival 2023 this week and it reportedly got a 7-minute standing ovation. Directed by Anurag Kashyap, the cast also includes Sunny Leone and Rahul Bhat. 

In an exclusive interview with PeepingMoon, Abhilash spoke about the excitement to go to the Cannes Film Festival 2023, getting his first role and the reach Kennedy will get due to the world premiere. 

Excerpts from the interview:

Your film has reached Cannes. How's the feeling?

I was a Radio Jockey and had spoken about Cannes in the past. Having seen those red carpet moments, it feels great to know that I'll be a part of it. It is a big thing to happen when our film reaches the Cannes Film Festival. 

From being a Radio Jockey to Cannes, how has the journey been?

When I got my first film, it was a big deal for me. I would say my journey is exactly like others but I feel blessed that the journey has been relatively easier for me. I didn't have to fight much to find a footing. It gives me immense joy to face the camera and talk on the mic. When a director like Anurag Kashyap puts his faith in you, it is definitely humbling. I got to work with legendary directors like Anurag sir, Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, Amit Sharma and others. There's no reason for me to be upset. 

Any plans to venture into Hollywood?

I never thought I would even make it to Bollywood and that's what works for me the best. I don't think too much and just accept whatever is thrown at me. I work with a lot of dedication because I am not a trained actor and the director has trust in me. Whatever comes, I will do it with honesty. Fauji ka beta hu, bachpan se 3 cheezein batayi hai-duty, discipline aur dedication. I follow that.

How was it working with Anurag Kashyap?

An actor often prepares and plans to do method acting before reaching Anurag Kashyap's film set but there's no need to take so much stress. He makes it very easy and super comfortable with the kind of atmosphere he maintains on the set. I remember doing a scene with Rahul Bhat right in the middle of traffic. I believe only Anurag Kashyap can make you act in the middle of traffic too. Ab main harr director mein Anurag Kashyap na dhundhna shuru kar du.

Kennedy went to Cannes, does that add more pressure on your shoulder?

It isn't right for an actor to take stress or pressure and when you have worked with Anurag Kashyap, you mustn't spoil the experience by taking the load. You are in a safe space with Anurag sir and we were chosen for Cannes because the jury liked our film. There is no pressure but I am just humbled. 

People spoke about numerous Indian celebrities heading to Cannes for fashion and not films. What's your take on it?

We have a film to show and hence, we went. I don't think much about it. Each to their own. If you're invited or just want to go, you can do it. Democracy hai, illegal toh nahi hai na udhar jaana. Itna dimag kyun lagana hai. Our film went to the festival and that's a beautiful feeling.

With a world premiere at Cannes, are you hopeful that Kennedy will get a better reach upon its theatrical release?

We're talking about the film and appreciating it before its release and this speaks of its reach. Kennedy got a world premiere before its theatrical release and I believe it has global reach now. We're waiting for it to release in theatres and see the Indian audience's reaction. 

Do you hope that Kennedy's global attention will fetch you much-deserved recognition for your craft?

I want to be known only for my craft and nothing else. I got work on that basis and it shall hopefully remain the same. Every actor wants to be recognised for their acting craft. 

What can the audience expect from Maidaan?

I believe there's nobody better than Amit Sharma to tell emotional stories beautifully. I am in Mumbai because of him and Manoj Bajpayee who gave me confidence to pursue acting.