CUMBERBATCH HAS A KANPUR CONNECT!
Actor Benedict Cumberbatch wants to visit India and thank his fans here
British actor Benedict Cumberbatch needs no introduction. The 42year-old’s great looks, acting versatility and compelling charm has earned him a dedicated fan following around the world. (The love he receives is quite cult-ish, if you ask his fans). However, the one who has pulled off complex characters like iconic British detective Sherlock Holmes, and superhero Dr Strange with ease, doesn’t know “enough” about the massive fan base he has around the globe.
“I am flattered by the number of fans who love me and the work I do. [But my knowledge about them] is not enough,” says Cumberbatch over the phone in his deep voice, from London.
He adds, “I am full of gratitude, awe and sometimes confusion that I have got some ardent and loyal fans around the world.” He also tells us that he would love to show his gratitude to his fans in India when he comes back to the country! Yes, he said “come back” recalling the time he spent in India when he was still a teenager.
“I remember teaching Tibetan refugee kids just outside of Darjeeling, when I was 19 years old. I remember I was in India for five months. I tried to explore the country in that time. I remember going to Kanpur, and from there going to Nepal,” he tells us.
And that’s not all that there is to this Indian connect. He will now be heard as Shere Khan in the film Mowgli, based on Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.
His desire to visit India once again became stronger when he was shooting for Dr Strange (2016) in Nepal, back in 2015. “We shot the first part of the movie there, and that was the start of it. Reaching there, all of us got the feeling of where the character is rooted — in mysticism, oriental tradition and Eastern wisdom. You know, I was heavily bearded, and had very heavy makeup. I looked nothing like what I do. And even then, people recognised me from day one!” he recalls vividly.
“To see that amount of love from Nepal, which is not that far away from India, I did think to myself that it will be great to come back to India,” he adds wishfully, “One day, perhaps, it will be great to come and experience all of that on my own, and say thank you to a few fans there [in India].”
I remember teaching Tibetan refugee kids just outside of Darjeeling, when I was 19 years old... I was in India for five months BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH ACTOR
In an exclusive interview with HT, Hollywood actor Benedict Cumberbatch discusses the upcoming Netflix film Mowgli where he’s the voice behind Shere Khan. He also talks about his fan following across the globe. Excerpts:
Unlike previous versions, Mowgli gives a rationale behind Shere Khan’s motivation to kill him. How did you approach the role from that perspective?
I am glad that people can see the rationale behind his reasons. I don’t think people’s actions exist in a vacuum. There are reasons because of which things happen. To answer the question, I was fascinated by the story of a wounded tiger, [who is] motivated by pride and jealousy and is locked in on revenge. So in many ways he is a tragic figure in a way and he just cannot get out of that.
You have played Smaug (Lord Of The Rings character) through motion capture. But how different was playing Shere Khan in comparison to Smaug?
In the case of Smaug, he was just motivated by venal greed. So, it was a singular trajectory. Shere Khan had a lot of layers to him. From a physical perspective, I knew that there would be lot of physical activity required, so I was in shape for that. We used a crutch that was smaller than the other crutches, to create the limp for Shere Khan. What was also important was to sound like this creature, who is looking for revenge. So, I used the word ‘man’ [instead of human] and made it more animalistic. Because that word, sort of is his trigger, and that breeds in the hatred that he has for humans.
You have crazy fans across the world. Does it factor when you choose your roles?
My fans are loyal and they know they are in for a ride. I like to surprise them as much as I can, and that sort of thing keeps me on my toes, rather than following a successful film formula, or doing things I enjoyed before. And, I think fans like that. It’s not like, me against them, or they are like, don’t do this and [instead] go in a different direction. They know that I am not going to listen to that, or [their] career suggestions [for me]. And honestly, I am really grateful for that kind of loyalty.
FROM SHARING DETAILS ABOUT PLAYING SHERE KHAN, HIS FAN BASE AND STARDOM, THE ACTOR BARES IT ALL
You have become one of the biggest Hollywood stars in a very short span of time. What would you like to say to that?
I am frankly surprised by all of it. I mean I knew that some of the characters I played will get a lot of limelight. I mean 70 odd people had played Sherlock before me, but I still knew that playing Sherlock will get some kind of attention. So, I am not surprised by the fact that some of the roles that I played got attention. I am shocked and surprised that because of them, I got so much attention.
Benedict Cumberbatch is noted for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes