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Flavour of the season

ANUJ KUMAR
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Chat Arjun Kapoor on his love for home food and fight against weight

in controlArjun Kapoorphoto: Meeta Ahlawat
in controlArjun Kapoorphoto: Meeta Ahlawat

Arjun Kapoor is on a strict diet. He is shooting simultaneously for 2 States and Gunday and the two films require two different looks. Before the interview, he settles for five egg whites and one yolk for taste and combines them with multigrain bread and coffee. “I owe it to myself and my audience to look the characters I play. In 2 States, I am playing an IIM graduate while in Gunday , as the title suggests, I am a lovable rogue who is known for reducing the opposition to pulp. So when I shoot for 2 States, I cut my hair and do cardio and when I shoot for Gunday I grow a moustache and my hair and focus on weight training.”

Talking of weight, a few years ago Arjun used to weigh 140 kilos. “I am not cut structurally like other Kapoors in the family. I am big on my shoulders and legs. I am a double Punjabi!”

Like many other youngsters from film families, Salman Khan took him under his wings and Arjun blossomed. “Food control is more important than exercise,” he says from experience. “People tend to think that if they are exercising they can eat as much as they want. You have to be disciplined for a long period of time. You have to be prepared for a lifestyle change.” Arjun kept his favourite rice recipes out of his diet for a year. “I went for a healthy process of dieting for four years. My metabolic rate was poor. Now it has slightly improved as I can get away with cheating once in a while.” But all this control doesn’t stop Arjun from calling himself a foodie. “My grandfather (Surinder Kapoor) was known for throwing lavish parties and my father has carried on that tradition. My grandmother is a great cook. In fact, I avoid going to her house because she always finds me thin! We like ghar ka khaana . Kadhi chawal and rajma chawal are my favourites. I still yearn for keema, paya and biryani. I love fried yam. Then shikari mutton is a Kapoor speciality.”

So is khujjama, which Arjun describes as the Indian version of French toast. Arjun’s grandmother is a close friend of Raj Kapoor’s wife Krishna and Arjun says there are many similarities between the food at RK house and his house. However, how has his uncle Anil managed to retain his waist size for a couple of decades? “He doesn’t eat from his plate. He picks little portions from other’s plates and moves on,” Arjun lets out the secret. When it comes to cooking, Arjun says, he learnt to make pao bhaji at cookery classes in school, but didn’t find it interesting. I will learn cooking when I find a girlfriend.” To impress her? “I think every man should know at least five dishes so that he is self-sufficient. In India, there is no concept of fixed portions and we use food as an expression of love and care. Even tea needs accompaniments in the form of biscuits; hard drinks are served with peanuts…”

He even has to eat food on screen in both his films. “ For a scene in Gunday , he was supposed to eat dal chawal . “I told the unit that I will bring it from home because I didn’t have it for a long time. I had no dialogue in the scene. I just had to eat and listen to Saurabh Shukla. These are the little advantages of being an actor.”

ANUJ KUMAR

My grandmother is a great cook. In fact, I avoid going to her house because she always finds me thin

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