Armaan Jain shares his journey from an overweight teenager to a lanky actor, making his debut in ‘Lekar Hum Deewana Dil’
Next Friday, the Hindi film industry will witness the entry of Armaan Jain, the fourth grandson of Raj Kapoor, after Karisma, Kareena and Ranbir. Most of the publicity campaign of Lekar Hum Deewana Dil, directed by debutant Arif Ali, has been skewed to highlight the Kapoor lineage. Much was made about the title, borrowed from a yesteryear song featuring Neetu Singh. Recently, Ranbir Kapoor and Armaan came together to play a football match in Mumbai to promote the film. The new Kapoor khandan kid feels cinema was his natural choice of career. “I knew I wanted to be in cinema since childhood. But it wasn’t like I was only watching movies. My regular days started with stock updates, since my father worked as an investment banker,” says Armaan, treating himself to cheese popcorn in between talking to us.
Born to Raj Kapoor’s daughter Rima Jain and Manoj Jain, Armaan did what was expected of him — went to Regents College, London, to take up a business degree. “My father studied at London School of Economics and my parents felt I should have a good education. I did well in studies but realised I wasn’t cut out for business. Once during my trip home, I nervously told my parents that I was wasting my time and their money in pursuing something I wasn’t interested in,” he recalls. Their approval for him to join cinema came without much hesitation. Armaan took a route which many second and third generation star kids took — work as an assistant director. “I met Karan Johar and worked as an assistant director for Dharma Productions in Ek Mein Aur Ekk Tu, I Hate Luv Stories and Student of the Year. I was even open to being a production assistant just to be on the sets,” he says.
Through common friend and director Abhishek Varman, Armaan was introduced to Imtiaz Ali’s brother Arif Ali, who was planning his debut film. “I went through auditions and got selected,” Armaan emphasises. Arif narrated a coming-of-age love story of two best friends who decide to get married. “Within half an hour of narration, I fell in love with my character. The script was flawless,” says Armaan.
Like Kareena, who has often talked about the Kapoor genes and how she had to work on her diet and fitness to ward off extra pounds, Armaan discloses that he was an overweight teenager. “At one point, I weighed 95kgs. I played football and cricket but never lost weight. I realised I needed to take my fitness levels seriously. I began working out and became conscious of what I ate,” he says, now pushing away the cheese popcorn. “I kept fluctuating. Over five to six years, I steadily lost weight. Before starting this film, I lost 25 kilos. I may not have the best body in the industry, but I am making an effort to look lean and fit,” he says.
Having said that, he adds that his focus remains on becoming a good actor than merely looking good. He is in awe of his cousin Ranbir for his choice of films. “Ranbir is the one I open up to talk of guy things, football being a common passion,” he adds.
Armaan says he is ready to be assessed, “I am a practical learner. I like to learn from whatever I do.”
A.Ds turned actors
Armaan Jain, Siddharth Malhotra and Varun Dhawan have worked as assistant directors in Karan Johar’s production house. “It felt like doing an internship in a company. We shared ideas, directed short films and stayed in touch even after Varun and Siddharth moved on to acting,” says Armaan.
Mera Naam Joker
Armaan recalls watching Raj Kapoor’s Mera Naam Joker more than 50 times. “My grandfather passed away before I was born and I watched Mera Naam Joker repeatedly; perhaps that’s how I too wanted to be an entertainer.”