‘Kennedy’ Anurag Kashyap’s angry middle-aged man: Rahul Bhat

New Delhi: “Kennedy” is darker than what Anurag Kashyap explored in “Ugly”, says actor Rahul Bhat who believes his role of a cop-turned-assassin is the director’s version of an “angry middle-aged man”.

The upcoming noirish thriller, set for Cannes premiere later this month, follows the titular character working for a corrupt police force with scores to settle. It marks Kashyap and Bhatt’s third collaboration.

“There was once a time when Salim-Javed gave us the angry young man. And this is Anurag Kashyap’s angry middle-aged man,” Bhat told PTI in an interview, referring to Javed Akhtar and Salim Khan’s interpretation of the angry young man in films such as “Deewar”, “Trishul”, “Sholay” and “Shakti”, fronted by Amitabh Bachchan.

With “Kennedy”, Kashyap is returning to the festival where he previously presented titles such as “Raman Raghav 2.0”, “Ugly”, “Bombay Talkies” and the two-part gangster drama “Gangs of Wasseypur”.

Bhat said Kashyap’s “Kennedy” has “a lot of layering”.

“‘Ugly’ is a kid in front of ‘Kennedy’ when it comes to darkness and violence. This movie is something else. It’s more of a psychological and internal journey. Of course, it makes a social commentary and has so many things to say. But the story moves fast and I hope it’ll keep people engaged.”

When Kashyap sent the script, the actor said he felt overwhelmed that the filmmaker considered him for the main part.

“I was so emotionally charged that I could not stop myself from crying. I find myself very lucky that a director of the calibre of Anurag Kashyap thinks that I can pull off characters like these, which are so complex,” he said.

Bhat said his character is at “another level” of human nature.

“Kennedy is angry, but he’s calm. He is violent, but quiet. He looks as if he’s very intelligent and understands things, but he’s dumb at the same time. However, one thing that he knows well is how to kill. He’s a killing machine,” he said.

The model-turned-actor, who was initially famous for his work in TV show “Heena” and movies such as “Yeh Mohabbat Hai” and “Nayee Padosan”, found a career turnaround with Kashyap’s “Ugly”.

The 45-year-old described Kashyap as a simple man with a mind of a “genius”.

“The amount of knowledge this man has is unbelievable. He knows cinema so well and has an innate talent. I feel that everybody understands that he’s a genius. But he is also a simple-minded guy, which helps his talent somewhere,” Bhat said.

Creating Kennedy required the actor to transform physically and prepare mentally, a process that took eight months.

“I was told to bulk up. I weighed 90 kg. But apart from that, I had to be prepared mentally as well. There are a lot of psychological elements to the character. The way he walks, sits, talks, his whole voice modulation, it’s all different. You will not find Rahul Bhat in there, but you will find someone else and I hope it is Kennedy,” he said.

“Kennedy” will have its world premiere under the Midnight Screenings segment at Cannes. The film’s premiere at the prestigious film gala will be a moment that Bhat said he looks forward to cherishing.

“‘Ugly’ was also screened at Cannes, which was very special. But this time, we are part of the official selection and we’re going to walk the red carpet. The movie is going to be shown in their main theatre. I feel it’s once in a lifetime kind of an experience for any actor. It’s a great feeling.”

The Cannes Film Festival runs from May 16 to 27.

All in all, “Kennedy” — the film and the character — had a profound effect on Bhat, he said.

“Sometimes you need to go on a mountain top and you scream at the top of your lungs. And then while screaming, you start feeling calm. So this is the effect Kennedy had in my life.”

Produced by Zee Studios and Good Bad Films, “Kennedy” also stars Sunny Leone and Abhilash Thapliyal.