He’s done television, movies, music videos, and even entered the realm of reality television not just as a contestant, but as a host as well. One wouldn’t be wrong if they took a look at Karan Kundrra’s career and asked themselves ‘Is there anything that he can’t do?’ Continuing to ace each and every role, with confidence, charm and charisma, the actor continues to win hearts, both on and off screen with him and his partner Tejasswi Prakash being the perfect pair, continuing to give their fans all kinds of couple goals.
Continuing to explore different formats, the actor is currently hosting Temptation Island—a reality show on JioCinema. We caught up with Kundrra, the latest member of Cosmopolitan India’s #SerialChillers series to know about his method of switching from one show to another, his love language and how he and his partner bring out the best in each other, his likes and aversions to reality shows, and much more.
Cosmopolitan India: What does it take, as a host, to switch from one type of reality show to another? What’s it going to be for Temptation Island?
Karan Kundrra: At the end of the day, my approach towards reality shows is very human. Because everybody has a personality, a tendency to react, a niceness in them. So, when it comes to people, I think I like being there for them. At the same time when it comes to different shows, it’s always the format and the approach that I take as a show. As far as Temptation Island is concerned, it’s a pretty crazy format where we take certain couples and put them in different villas as per the social experiment. They’re away from a lot of things and have to do a lot of tests. Everyone’s going to react differently. They’re tempters when they’re going through this test. The format is quirky, but at the end of the day, they’re people with hearts.
CI: What would be your strategy if you were a contestant on Temptation Island?
KK: There’s no strategy when it comes to love. This is a show where we’re talking about love and lust because we’re tempting you. My approach to the show is not something that you strategise and win. You’ll learn about yourself and relationships, and other things around you and come out stronger.
As long as the contestants are honest about the situations that they’re put in and they take part in the experiment, for what it is, they will come out stronger.
CI: You’re one of the most loved and appreciated actors from the world of TV, who’s now making waves in the OTT space and on social media. How much has social media contributed to your popularity?
KK: Whatever I am today, is because of that. Everybody is a good actor, a good host and is working very hard in this industry. I’m very lucky to get so much love, which sees me get more work.
CI: How do you ensure that what your fans see on social media is a true reflection of yourself?
KK: It’s not always rosy. You have good days and bad days. And then you do a show like Bigg Boss where the audience sees you 24*7 and then decides if they like you or not.
CI: What do you need to be mindful of when you’re posting anything that has your partner in them?
KK: I think it’s a give and take. It’s also about what you’ve experienced in life. Being part of a reality show—where you’re cut off from the outside world, I understood myself first. There is no input from someone else—your friends, and family. It’s all you. That brings out what you like and dislike. It makes you very sure of what you are. It makes your relationship very successful as you know what you want. That is what I tell all the people who come to Temptation Island. Understand yourself, only then will you be sure about the relationship you want. There’s no delay here as you know exactly what you wanted and went for it.
CI: How do you and your partner bring the best in each other?
KK: Just the way we are. We might be exactly opposite for the right reasons, and different for the right reasons. We just found each other. When we were falling in love with each other, people were already falling in love with the idea of ‘us’. Also, being the best of friends and liking the same things in life helped a lot. We’re also very honest with each other. We’ve been through life in the Bigg Boss house and seen things in the relationship and come out stronger. My advice to people is to find out what and who you really are and then take things forward.
CI: As the heartthrob of the nation, what’s your love language?
KK: First of all, I tempt her a lot. My love language is all about the little things. It’s the same with her. If her language was about grand gestures, I would have done the same.
CI: What’s the one thing you like and don’t like about reality shows?
KK: I’ve been part of reality shows as a contestant and a host. What I like about them is that they change you for the rest of your life. Be it Roadies, Love School, Big Boss, or even Temptation Island for that matter. It’s like life on steroids. The hardships come in the form of tasks and you learn so much that you come out as a different person when you come out. If you’re open to experiences and evolving, then reality shows will give you more in three months than what you experienced in 10 years.
The audiences have to change if the shows have to change. We’re giving them what they want, for better or for worse.
CI: Knowing how much you love to experiment, what do fashion and style mean to you? And how do you like to make a style statement?
KK: I would say that I really don’t think much. Because what I think and what I speak is more important than what I wear. I’m more of a thinker and talker. I’m a stylist’s dream because they know I’m not going to think about it. They think its confidence, it’s actually the fact that I don’t even know much about the clothes. I don’t think people are looking at my clothes when I walk into a room. They’re looking at who I am.
CI: Be it TV, OTT, or reality shows, you’ve proven that you’re the jack of all trades. At the same time, this surely requires relentless energy and dedication. What keeps you going?
KK: I think I’m very passionate about the work I do. If you see me on set, you’ll see someone who’s extremely involved with the creative side and looking to make things better.
CI: By foraying into music videos, you’ve shown that you’re not afraid to take risks. And such confidence has translated into success.
KK: Yes, I do take risks. For me, before I came into the industry, I’d made my money and knew how to make more. My approach wasn’t a stable one. When people come, they have a plan and know that they have to do this at this time. I wanted to do crazy things, that people don’t do, and make it look cool. No one wanted to do a crime show, but Gumrah was a super hit. After becoming a brand, no one recommended a crime show, but I knew that I had to do it now. When I look back, I see that I dared to do what no one else did.
CI: Out of all the formats, does TV satisfy you the most? What genre are you most keen on experimenting with?
KK: I’m very comfortable with all formats. I love being on a film set because of the way things are done, the people giving inputs and the fact that things are so thorough. I love TV and reality shows because they are all human beings who react. Watching them react is what I love. It’s very interesting to pitch them and bring the best out of them. They look up to me because they know I wouldn’t let anything bad happen to them.
CI: What’s something new that you want to do?
KK: If you see my career graph, I’ve always done stuff that I haven’t done before. We started talking about Temptation Island two years ago. It was an American show that we adapted for Indian audiences. How do we do it according to the tastes and preferences of our audiences was challenging. And that’s why I wanted to do it because it takes balls.