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'Ranbir is the best looking among us Kapoors. I don’t think I am as good looking as he is.'
Armaan Jain gets candid about the Kapoors.
“There is only noise and food pollution in the Kapoor family,” giggles a shy Armaan Jain, grandson of Raj Kapoor, who is all set to make his acting debut with Lekar Hum Deewana Dil.
Wearing jeans and a T-shirt, the 23-year-old actor launches into a conversation about food and claims that he is the biggest foodie among the Kapoors. As if to prove it, he chomps on samosa and wafers during the interview.
With LHDD up for release on July 4, Armaan is nervous yet excited but adds that he does not feel the pressure.
In this exclusive interview, Armaan tells Sonil Dedhia more about himself, and also talks about the famous Kapoors.
You are making your big debut with Lekar Hum Deewana Dil. Are you nervous?
I am really happy and excited. And edgy and nervous. It’s a mixed feeling.
For the past two years, we have worked hard on this film. I hope we get it right.
Is there pressure on you since you are being promoted as Raj Kapoor’s grandson?
I am very proud. It is an honour to be promoted as Raj Kapoor's grandson.
I am lucky to be associated with this name and the family.
I do get scared at times of this name. But I am not under any pressure.
I will do all the hard work and give my best.
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Has anyone in your family seen the film?
My parents have seen the film. Some of my aunts and cousins have seen it.
Being family, they have good things to say about my work and the film.
My parents aren’t judging me at all. Everyone in my family is very proud of me and it’s a great feeling (smiles).
What is the best compliment you have got so far?
The best compliment came from Babita aunty (Karisma and Kareena Kapoor’s mother). She told me that I was a natural actor and that made me really happy.
Your nani (maternal grandmother) Krishna Raj Kapoor made a rare appearance at the music launch of the film. Tell us about your bond with her.
I am very close to her. She is like an emotional support for me.
She is full of energy and always likes to entertain and make people eat.
When I was a kid, I would spend my weekends with her. Every Friday night, I would stay with my Dada-Dadi (paternal grandparents) and on weekends, I would go to Chembur (in suburban Mumba) to stay with my nani.
My cousins Kareena and Ranbir would also come over on weekends. My nani would feed us all the time and make us fat (laughs).
She would put seven-eight spoons of ghee in our food. I still can’t live without it but unfortunately, I have to control it now.
Which is that one dish made by your nani that you relish the most?
Maachi kadi chawal (Fish gravy with rice). I have grown up eating it and every time I go to her place she makes it for me.
I can eat that at any time of the day.
Out of all the Kapoors, who is the biggest foodie?
It has to be me.
If I hadn’t chosen to be an actor, I would have been easily 200 kilos by now (laughs).
If someone calls himself a bigger foodie than me, it hurts my ego. I live to eat. Food is my first love.
So when it comes to a food challenge, which of the Kapoors is your biggest competitor?
I think it has to be Chimpu uncle (Rajiv Kapoor).
Ranbir also loves food. He just loves eating Paaya and Junglee Mutton.
I used to weigh 100 kilos before I decided to start dieting. Every girl that I met wanted to make me her brother!
Tell us about your growing up days.
I led a very normal life. I was never exposed to films in my early days.
In the Kapoor family, we talk only about food. Nobody talks about acting or films. I barely saw any movies.
Every time the family is together we pull each other's leg. There is only noise and food pollution in the Kapoor family. It is a mess when everyone gets together but it is a lot of fun.
Everyone is acting, screaming, jumping and doing some kind of melodrama.
I hardly visited the sets. I think I went on the sets of Prem Granth and Aa Ab Laut Chale. I went for a couple of film premieres.
In one interview you said you were scared to tell your parents that you wanted to become an actor.
After school I went to London for further studies. My father comes from an investment banking background and they wanted me to get a management degree.
I always knew I wanted to act. I love to entertain people.
I didn’t have the courage to tell my parents because I wanted to first finish my education and make them proud.
During one summer vacation, I came home and nervously told my parents that I wanted to get into acting. My parents supported my decision and told me that I could do anything that I liked till the time I was passionate about it.
But there was a twist in the tale. Just a couple of hours after telling my parents about my decision to get into acting, I saw my mother crying.
She was concerned about my career. She went into a panic attack. I went back to London and started studying again.
In the meanwhile, my mother met Karan Johar. Later on I got the opportunity to assist him on three films -- My Name Is Khan, Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu and Student Of The Year.
When it comes to studying, are you like the Kapoors? Most of them have failed in school and college.
I wasn’t very studious. I was an average kid when it came to studies.
They all failed, I just dropped out of college (laughs). I left my management course mid-way but I do plan to finish it.
I am also very good at Vedic maths.
Tell us about your mother, Rima Jain.
She is the best actress. She is always acting. She never did any films but she did it for her life.
My mother is always happy, bubbly and energetic. She is full of life and I think her energy has come into me.
My mother is very similar to Rishi uncle (Rishi Kapoor). If you see Rishi uncle hyper and screaming, it means he loves you. It is actually his love that makes him yell all the time.
If he talks softly then you should be scared. It means something is very wrong.
When my mother is quiet, I run out of the house and when she screams I always sit and listen to her (laughs).
My mother married quite late and she spent the maximum time with nana (Raj Kapoor). Nana was closest to my mother amongst his children. All her experience is helping me today. In spite of not being an actor she gives me the maximum advice.
Tell us about your uncles, Randhir, Rishi and Rajiv Kapoor.
I share a great bond with my uncles.
Rishi uncle comes across as a strict person but we share a very chilled out relationship. He is a no-nonsense and straightforward person.
I always start laughing when I look at him. Even if he is shouting at me, I laugh and start shouting back. But that’s love and we share a different bond.
Randhir uncle is so much fun. He is like Mr Wilson and I am Dennis from Dennis the Menace. I always do stupid things to trouble him.
My mother narrated a funny incident to me. I was a kid and we were all travelling to Pune by train. Randhir uncle, who loves his drink, took 20 minutes to make one. He was ready to take his first sip when I pulled the chair back and the entire drink spilt!
I am very fond of Rajiv uncle. He doesn’t have kids of his own so he brought all of us up as his kids.
How well do you bond with your cousins, Karisma, Kareena and Ranbir?
We always do a lot of masti. Growing up, we would get together and play a lot of games.
Since I was fascinated with Mera Naam Joker, I would always have joker parties. Kareena and Karisma would come over to help with the preparations.
In school also, I would participate in fancy dress competitions as the joker. I would perform to Jeena yaha marna yahan.
Amongst all of us, Ranbir is the naughtiest.
I remember going for the premiere of Ranbir’s debut film Saawariya. I couldn’t believe that my brother, who I grew up with, was jumping, dancing and performing on the big screen.
I loved him in Barfi! Ranbir has always been supportive. He is happy that I am making my acting debut.
He is a great actor. I think Ranbir is the best looking among us all. I don’t think I am as good looking as he is (smiles).
You mentioned that you are a big fan of Mera Naam Joker.
My nana passed away even before I was born so my association with him has been through his movies and the stories my mother tells about him.
My mother tells me that I would not eat my food and would always cry so she would play Mera Naam Joker -- only the circus part. So I always thought that my nana is really a joker.
Whenever people asked me what he did, I would tell them that he was a joker and made people laugh.
I remember telling my mother that I wanted to work in a circus. I recently went to watch a circus.
My biggest high is when I am able to make people smile and laugh. If films don’t work for me, I might open my own circus show and travel the world and make people laugh.
How was it being an assistant director and work with Shah Rukh Khan and Kareena Kapoor.
I wanted to know how things work in the film industry and that’s why I decided to become an assistant director.
Actors like Arjun Kapoor and my cousin Ranbir have grown up in a film environment. They have seen their parents act but I hadn’t seen that.
I barely saw films so I thought assisting was a great chance and who better than Karan Johar? I started assisting him on My Name Is Khan when he was more than half way through his shoot.
I was clueless; I couldn’t get over the fact that I am assisting for a film that had Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol. It was inspiring to see how they work, how professional and dedicated they are towards their craft.
Later I was an assistant on Kareena’s film Ekk Main Aur Ekk Tu. It was funny to see a different side of her. On the sets, I would call her Kareena ma’am (laughs).
I also worked with Rishi uncle in Student Of The Year. He is a thorough professional, punctual and disciplined.
Are there any plans to revive the RK banner?
It’s such a big decision and I have just entered this industry.
I am sure one of my uncles would decide to do it or probably Ranbir would do it.
It would be a great opportunity if I could ever work with the RK banner.