Kunal Kemmu’s cute act as the naughty little Sunny in Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke is unforgettable. But do you know he made an entry on small-screen first as a child actor when he was just four? Kunal appeared in Doordarshan’s Gul Gulshan Gulfaam in 1987. The show, directed by Ved Rahi, was being shot in the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir at that time when a young Kunal, then living in Srinagar, was approached for a small role.
Born on May 25, 1983, Kunal Kemmu’s parents – Ravi Khemu and Jyoti Khemu are actors as well. Belonging to a Kashmiri Pandit family, his family had to move to Mumbai after a few unfortunate incidents in the valley in 1990.
In picture: Kunal shared this picture on social media with Mahesh Bhatt and captioned it: On set still from hum hai Rahi pyar ke with my first and most favourite director
“I was born there and I moved away in 1990 when I was seven years old. After that, my family moved to Delhi and Mumbai. Now, only a handful of relatives live in Kashmir and we are constantly worried about them. It pains me to see that my birth-place is not a safe place to be in anymore,” said Kunal in an earlier interview.
Kunal Kemmu and his family settled down used to stay in Mira Road, Thane district in Maharashtra. As a child, he thought he had come for a holiday in Mumbai. Now, his home in Srinagar has been occupied by the locals and there is no way the actor can go back. But well, he is well settled in Mumbai now and stays in Khar with his family.
After coming to Mumbai, Kunal Kemmu bagged his first Hindi film in 1993. He made his film debut with Mahesh Bhatt’s Sir, starring Pooja Bhatt, Atul Agnihotri, Naseeruddin Shah.
As a child artist, Kunal earned popularity with films such as Raja Hindustani, Zakhm, Bhai, Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke, and Dushman. Do you know, Kunal Kemmu also featured in the popular Ujala ad? In the ad, he as a high school boy teases his classmate with the song ‘Neele Dhabbon Wali,’ and later, Kunal sings the song ‘Aya Naya Ujala’.
In picture: Kunal Kemmu with his mother Jyoti Khemu
After having worked as a child artiste for a decade, the actor proved his mettle as a lead actor with his 2005 debut Kalyug and followed it up with Traffic Signal, both high on content films. His career witnessed a downfall after a string of flop films until Rohit Shetty’s Golmaal 3 in 2010 and Saif Ali Khan-starrer Go Goa Gone (2013) came his way.
That’s Kunal Kemmu’s family – (L) wife Soha Ali Khan, father Ravi Khemu, mother Jyoti Khemu and sister Karishma Kemmu. Did you know Kunal’s father Ravi played Kabir’s (Abhay Deol) father in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara?
Another lesser-known fact about Kunal Kemmu’s family is that his grandfather, Moti Lal Kemmu, who passed away in 2018 was a very famous Kashmiri playwright. He was a recipient of several awards by the government of Jammu and Kashmir: Rashtra Bhasa Prachar Samiti, Sahitya Akademi award in 1982 for his contribution to Kashmiri literature as a playwright and Padma Shri.
If you follow Kunal Kemmu on Instagram, you know that he loves bikes and his social media is full of him riding his bikes. Kunal often takes road trips with his friends. Kemmu used to have an MV Agusta Brutale 1090 RR, and now has a Ducati Scrambler too. His retail indulgences, like any other rider, includes biking jackets, one helmet after another, gloves and of course, biking boots.
Kemmu harboured the dream of biking since school because he thought it was “cool”. “My uncle bought me a bike, but the day it got delivered, I was in college, and my father sent it back,” he told mid-day. “I have always been a rider. But, it’s only since 2018 that I have started to enjoy what it’s all about. I have made friends with those who ride with me. And I have been getting all this gear that improves the riding experience,” said Kunal, who had become a new father in 2017, and was quick to tell us that the one thing wife Soha Ali Khan tells him, is to be careful.
In picture: Kunal shared this picture on social media with his daughter and captioned it – Soon we shall ride together and soon you shall have your own. Let no one tell you what you can or can’t do. Make your own road and make your own journey. #bikerbaby
Talking about Kunal Kemmu and Soha Ali Khan’s love story, the couple tied the knot in a private ceremony on January 25, 2015, after several years of courtship. Their romance grew on the sets of their films, Dhoondte Reh Jaaoge and 99.
Kunal Kemmu proposed to Soha Ali Khan in July 2014 in Paris. “It gives me great happiness to share with you all that Kunal proposed to me in Paris with the most perfect ring in the world and I said yes,” Soha had tweeted back then. The couple had also been living in and were quite open about their relationship.
Kunal Kemmu and Soha Ali Khan were blessed with their daughter Inaaya Naumi Khemu on September 29, 2017. The little one has grey-green eyes and when the couple revealed their baby’s first picture there was immense curiosity behind Inaaya’s eye colour, given that neither momma Soha nor daddy Kunal has grey eyes.
Well, Kunal had explained the reason behind it. Though both Soha and he have dark eyes, his grandmother and grand-aunts did have light eyes. And perhaps that’s from whom Inaaya got her expressive pair.
Considering he started his career as a child actor when asked if he would be open to Inaaya starting off young, he said, “I don’t want to take decisions on my daughter’s behalf. I want her to do everything she likes. All I want to do is give her access — let her read, act, travel and do whatever she hopes to. I want to stand on the sidelines and support her every decision. I don’t want to transfer my aspirations to her. She has started walking and can say the word ‘blue’. She is training us to be parents.”
Asked if parenthood has helped him to evolve, Kunal said, “Yeah, definitely. I am learning how to be a parent and all my decisions are based around my daughter Inaaya. It’s a constant change and like after marriage people start saying life changes and I used to be like, not at all! It’s actually after you have a baby, your life actually changes.”
As much as he loves going on road trips, biking with his ‘boys’ gang, Kunal Kemmu loves spending time with his family. He keeps taking mini-vacations with his wife and daughter across the world. And sometimes Soha’s brother-actor Saif Ali Khan and his family – wife-actress Kareena Kapoor Khan and son Taimur Ali Khan too join in! This picture was clicked the Maldives in 2018.
Kunal Kemmu surely knows how to handle work-life balance in the right way! Here’s wishing a belated happy birthday to Kunal!