It’s finally happened: Kurran Pooni has been fired from The Apprentice. After six weeks – three with a broken arm – one of the, shall we say, most eccentric candidates to grace the show in recent years was finally booted out of the process by Lord Sugar after the airline advertising task.
The aspiring actor’s elimination seemed a long time coming, with Kurran continually criticised for not contributing to tasks, this week being his third stint in the final boardroom.
Not that he is letting it dent his confidence, though. “I would challenge you to find anybody who handles the boardroom like I do,” Kurran tells RadioTimes.com. “The way I see it is that if you’re in that boardroom it equals more airtime – it makes up quite a large proportion of the episode. I don’t mind it.”
In fact, Kurran says the idea of TV exposure influenced his decision to apply to The Apprentice. “It wasn’t the primary reason for going on the show, but it was certainly in the back of my mind: to build a bit of a profile of myself,” he says.
“I want to be an actor so I need to know if I look and sound good on screen and this is the best way to do that: get on TV. And, you know what, I’m happy with what I see. Just the facial expressions… and there are so many cameras from different angles… it’s nice to know that me being me is entertaining.”
Furthermore, Kurran thinks his entertainment value was a key part in avoiding Lord Sugar’s firing finger after last week’s designer shoe challenge. “I think it would be naive to think that [the airline advertising] task wasn’t made for me. I’ve said from the get-go I want to be an actor and want to direct the advert,” he says.
“The fact that [Lord Sugar] made me project manager was… I don’t know what goes on behind the scenes, but I know there are producers somewhere right now rubbing their hands.”
Kurran also claims there was another key reason why Lord Sugar allowed him to stay in the process for this week’s advertising task: his dad, Jimmy Pooni, had previously set up his own airline, a UK-to-India service based at Birmingham airport in the early noughties.
“It’s no longer running, but my father had an airline when I was around five or six,” he says. “It was called Poo UK, like my Surname. I think the slogan was ‘relax and let Poo take the strain’.”
Now, let’s get this out the way: somebody with, as Lord Sugar said this week, fresh eyes, would think that an airline called Poo UK might raise a few eyebrows. However, Kurran says he’s fine with people misunderstanding the root of the name. “Let them,” he says shortly. “It’s free publicity, isn’t it?”
Still, Kurran had his own reasons to be pleased mentions of the airline weren’t broadcast on The Apprentice. “I didn’t want the episode to be about my dad,” he said. “This is my moment, it’s not about my father.”
Kurran will also be gratified to know that it wasn’t just this episode of The Apprentice that had people talking about him. He also inspired plenty of talking points throughout the series– if not necessarily the ones he was hoping for.
Firstly: his likeliness to Shreks’ Lord Farquaad (“My sister used to say that to me and she feels quite justified now,” he says).
“I was sent out and was about to go into the boardroom and fight for my position in this process, so I was not going to be slouched!” he explains. “I’m ready for war! I’m ready, baby! The minute that phone calls, I’m there. ‘Where do you want me? Where we going?’ That’s my mentality and that’s normal for me”.
Then, of course, there was his broken arm, an injury which Lord Sugar greeted with a few zingers (“You got your big break. And from what I’ve heard you’ve been in Casualty!”). These weren’t quite appreciated by Kurran, however.
“I was out of hospital and into the boardroom with about two hours sleep. My arm was not functioning and he was cracking jokes!” Kurran says. “Like, I get it, you’re funny. But I found it a little bit insensitive.”
He quickly adds: “But it’s an entertainment show and that’s what people want to see. If that’s what the people want then let’s give it to them!”
The man himself doesn’t mind the criticism. In fact, Kurran seems to welcome the hate: “It takes more energy to hate somebody than to love them. I think if people are forming an opinion of me and they have me on their lips and they’re typing the word ‘Kurran’ into their smartphones then I’m doing my job.”
And Kurran even predicts people will be Googling his film roles in future, The Apprentice only the start of his journey to fame. “I’m looking to secure some representation so I can get a foot in the industry and get some more auditions and actually just demonstrate I can act,” he says.
“All I’ve done is build a profile for myself. Now it’s time to prove to people I can act and that Benji was not the extent of my ability. I mean it when I say I will win an Oscar.”
Obviously, it’s too early to speculate whether the awards season will bring trophies Kurran’s way and we won’t comment on whether he could soon be a Hollywood force to be reckoned with. We will, however, show you what Kurran looks like on stage.
Eat your heart out, DiCaprio.
The Apprentice continues at 9pm on Wednesday on BBC1