The youngest actor from the Kapoor clan, Armaan Jain, who makes his debut with Lekar Hum Deewana Dil, on growing up in a film family
He is the latest Kapoor scion to step into the film industry and even before his movie Lekar Hum Deewana Dil has hit the screen, Armaan Jain has become the toast of the town. The trailer has got a tremendous response with Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan tweeting about him. The youngster oozes charm, is confidence personified and talks nineteen-to-the-dozen. In a freewheeling interview, Raj Kapoor’s grandson talks about his equation with his cousin Ranbir Kapoor, his earliest childhood memories and his dream coming true….
Your film is up for release. What are your feelings?
There are mixed feelings, which I call positive anxiety. I am very excited and equally nervous because the D-day is finally here.
Do you feel the pressure of carrying forward a legacy?
I’ve never thought of it that way. Rather, I have the self-imposed pressure of bettering myself. You have two kinds of pressure: one, is carrying forward the legacy. The other, is the pressure of my personal journey. I want to prove to myself before anyone else. I am self-critical and after every shot, I think how I could have done it better. Till this point, I have given my best. The rest, I leave to destiny.
Like your cousin Ranbir, you also started by being an assistant to a director before facing the camera. Are you following in his footsteps?
The reason I started out as an assistant director, however funny it may sound, is because I had a non-filmi childhood! I had never been to shoots, screenings or premieres. I had no idea how films were shot. I just knew I want to act and entertain people. When I was a 17-year-old, I wanted to be an actor. My father is an investment banker, so initially I went to England to do a business course but after a year-and-a-half, realised that I was wasting my time and his (father’s) money. I would rather try and understand the craft (acting), so I came back.
What was your parents’ reaction?
My mother was a little taken aback because for 20 years there was no film talk at home. She was like, what do you want to do, are you sure? Where do I send you? She actually cried. One day she called me and said ‘I have good news. Karan (Johar) is willing to meet you for an interview.’ I went to him — it was like joining a company for internship. I’m a practical learner and pick up faster that way. Ranbir, on the other hand, had done a two-year acting course in New York and then assisted (Sanjay Leela Bhansali) on Black.
What are your earliest childhood memories?
We are normal people, our talk and dress normally, but the food in Kapoor family is extraordinary! We love food, are a bit noisy and loud. Most of the family get-togethers happen in nani’s house in Chembur or my house. Family get-togethers are fun because my uncles and my mother are screaming and fighting with each other. Ranbir and I talk about football and play FIFA at play stations. I have a different bond with everyone. But we never talk about our careers.
Karisma came with you on Comedy Nights With Kapil. Which cousin are you closest to?
I have spent the most time with Nitasha (Nanda), who lives in Delhi. She spoilt and pampered me a lot. There is a huge age difference between us — almost 20 years — and she has no kids. We are like her children.
The whole family has come to support you…
We are a close-knit family, and it has always been like this. When Ranbir was acting in his college plays, we all used to go to watch him. When I was 10 years old, I did a school play and each and every one was there to cheer me.
How was your experience working on Student Of The Year (SOTY)?
I did three films — Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, My Name Is Khan and SOTY. On the first day of the shoot, I was completely lost. I did not understand what was happening. By the time SOTY happened I had gained a little experience and even shot a few short films and home videos.
How was it shooting for Lekar Hum Deewna Dil?
It’s been amazing, a dream come true. I was finally facing a camera. I was nervous and super-excited. I never felt at any point that I had acted. Even today I don’t feel it. My job is not done till July 4 (when the film releases) and it’s been two years. There have been points where I became emotional and cried, but not on the first day. After 20 days of shooting, it hit me that I am doing this.
The film is about coming-of-age. Do you identify?
I was probably like that when I was 17-18 years old. My character is full of adventure, thrill, crazy and energetic. He does things without thinking which can often be a problem. I was more immature then. But in the last few years I have grown up.
Who are you inspired by?
I am inspired more by characters in a film like Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight Rises. It is unbelievable the kind of work he put into the character’s shoes. His best scenes are improvised and not planned. Even Marlon Brando in Godfather, especially the cat scene. There was no cat. But he saw a cat lying somewhere and he took it into the scene. Christian Bale puts on 40 kilos for a role and sheds it for another! It’s inspiring. My role model, however, is my father. He is not an actor but I hope to inculcate at least half his discipline in my life.
The title of your film is inspired from your aunt, Neetu Singh’s song from Yaadon Ki Baraat. Was it deliberate?
It was Karan sir who came up with the title just a week before the trailer launch. We were sitting in his office and discussing. We had other titles like Locha.com, Dekho Magar Pyaar Se, Janam Janam but we weren’t happy. And just like that Karan sir said Lekar Hum Deewana Dil. My producer then spoke to my aunt and when she met me she was emotional. That was her first song and she was just 14-years old when she shot for it.
Your mother (Rima Jain) is media-shy right?
No, she goes for events, but yes was a little camera shy before she went on Koffee With Karan. She is a vibrant lady, full of energy, and a very good actor, she acts more than any family member!
Rapid fire with Armaan
If you were invisible , you would…
I would steal Mc Donalds or something.
On a deserted island which book and movie would you take along?
I will take the book Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde to read, watch Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.
Which cartoon character will you marry?
The smallest Powerpuff girl in pink because she is pretty
What did you most get into trouble for as a child?
I used to get into trouble for many things. I have thrown ash trays out of the window and mom has put me in the dark bathroom. I broke a fan in the class room when I kicked a football.
Your most embarrassing moment?
When somebody told me ‘stop talking. You have verbal diarrhoea’.
A movie title that decribes your life story?
Dark Knight Rises.
What do you enjoy doing most when alone?
The first person you think of in the morning?
What’s the biggest lie you have ever told?
I told this aunty that I have fallen from the first floor, injured my leg and badly hurt. She called my mom and I immediately informed her it was a joke.
One habit of yours no one knows about?
I don’t wear underwear when I sleep.
If you had to dress like a cartoon character..
I would dress like Popeye.
The weirdest dream you have had?
I don’t dream, but I have had nightmares where I am getting choked or that I am grinding my teeth so hard they come off.
The most irritating habit of your co-star Deeksha Seth?
She has several, but the most irritating habit is the one where she keeps making this weird noise.
The nastiest joke you ever played on anyone?
I have played many of them. The meanest one I played was one on the school teacher. I applied Fevistik on the chair and the teacher got stuck to it. After an hour or something when he got up, he ripped his pants.
The best thing about being a guy?
We don’t suffer as much as women — the pregnancy. I can’t imagine carrying a child for nine months and the subsequent pain. Women go through a lot of pain. They get their eyebrows plucked, get waxed, etc. I am not being a sexist here!
The worst thing about being a guy?
Shaving every day.
The craziest pickup line that you have ever used?
I never use a pick up line. I find it crass.
Do you dance crazy when no one is looking?
I dance like crazy even when people are looking.
Do you like to sing in the shower?
I have never sung in my life.
If you were gay which actor would you like to have a passionate affair with?
I am forcing myself to visualise this dream boy without clothes. Hrithik Roshan!