From a child artiste to an acclaimed star, why Kunal Kemmu does not deserve to be an underrated actor anymore

Kunal Kemmu, who started his journey in Bollywood as a child artiste has turned out to be one of the most bankable stars today. The actor who made his film debut with Sir as a child actor, went on to do notable roles in films like Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar Ke (1993), Raja Hindustani (1996) and Zakhm (1998). He debuted as a lead actor in Kalyug (2005) and followed it up with Golmaal 3 (2010), Go Goa Gone (2013), Golmaal Again (2017), Kalank (2019), Malang (2020) and Lootcase (2020). Kunal also made his name in the digital space with ZEE5's Abhay (2019) and Abhay 2 (2020)

Born to actors Ravi and Jyoti Kemmu, Kunal started working at the age of four and made his lead debut in 2005 with Mohit Suri's Kalyug. Even though the actor has always left an impact with all his roles, he is still considered one of the most underrated actors in Bollywood. He agrees to it and calls himself an 'under utilised actor'. 

Now, as Kunal completes almost 15 years in the film industry, here's taking a look at his incredible journey with laudable performances. 

ZAKHM (1998)

Mahesh Bhatt's last directorial Zakhm was appreciated for its storyline but it was Kunal as child artiste Ajay R Desai who stole the show. Based on a boy Ajay (Kunal) who is born into a family of varying religions, the film displayed the bad impact of communal riots. Kunal had grabbed every critic's attention with his performance, even though it wasn't the first time he featured in a film as a child artiste. His debut as a child actor was Sir back in 1993 after which he did 5 more films before Zakhm came knocking his way. Back in 2014, Mahesh called Kunal a 'wonder boy' and praised him by saying, "An afternoon with my 'wonder boy' Kunal Khemu. This kid made my last directorial film ZAKHM what it is." Kunal had even won 'Screen Award For Best Child Artist' for the film. 

KALYUG (2005)

Kunal's first film as a lead hero - Mohit Suri's Kalyug did not receive a great response from the audience but the actor's acting skill was appreciated. Kunal gained the much-needed limelight from Kalyug and went on to star in noted films later like Dhol, Go Goa Gone and GolmaalKalyug was based on how Kunal (Kemmu) and Renuka's (Smiley Suri) marital bliss is shattered when a group of people film and upload a video of them being intimate on an adult website. Soon after Kalyug, Kunal signed 3 films that released in 2007. 

GO GOA GONE (2013)

Raj and DK's Go Goa Gone changed the game for Kunal. It was after this film that filmmakers started looking up to the actor for his marvelous performance. The actor delivered a crackling performance in the film and his role of Hardik became quite famous amongst the audience, especially youngsters. Go Goa Gone was based on three friends who decide to visit an isolated island for a rave party but soon they find themselves not only stranded but also surrounded and hunted by flesh-eating zombies. Several reviews credited Kunal for 'holding the film together'. 

KALANK (2019)

Kunal did not fail to shine even in Abhishek Verman's multi-starrer Kalank.  He won hearts with his short but impactful role of Abdul. Based in the pre-independence India, Kalank was based on six individuals from different families that experience the throes of love, betrayal, revenge and depression. Even though Kunal did not play the 'lead role' in the film, it was his acting skills that got him the much-deserved attention. He brought in tension and thrills in his grey-shaded role that suited him from start to end. 


One could call Kunal's work in Rajesh Krishnan's Lootcase pathbreaking. With his perfect Marathi accent, Kunal was the star and the life of the film. The film is based on a lower middle class man Nandan Kumar who comes across a suitcase and discovers it is full of cash. The actor was not at all 'aam' in his role. He was funny and pulled off his serious dialogues by quoting them with humour. His struggle between right and wrong topped with generous dose of humour made a performance to watch out for. For Lootcase, the actor even received a handwritten letter from legendary star Amitabh Bachchan who called him 'exceptional and outstanding'.

ABHAY 2 (2020)

Kunal, who made an impressive debut with ZEE5's web series Abhay in 2019, made a comeback as Abhay Pratap Singh in its second installment that released on August 14. Kunal, plays a fearless STF officer who would do anything for justice, does a great job playing the character of a cop. The actor delivered a restrained and consistently effective performance as an investigator.