In his debut film’s production house – Eros International’s office, Armaan Jain appears like any other well to do youngster. He wears jeans, a striped shirt and fidgets rather compulsively with his phone. Unlike any random youth, however, Armaan stars in Arif Ali’s (Imtiaz Ali’s brother) debut release, Lekar Hum Deewana Dil. We caught up with the surprisingly deep voiced AJ to get him talking about his debut movie and here’s what the soft-spoken baritone revealed…
Are you more nervous or excited?
I’m happy, excited and nervous. It’s more like a mixed feeling.
You have everything going for you – family’s support, good promotions. Has that raised your confidence of people’s belief in you?
My close knit family has always been supportive. I don’t know if its better, I’m sure it’s for the better but I haven’t been without it, so I don’t know what it would be without them. You need to be a confident person first for others to support you and your dreams.
Do you think things would have been easier for you had you not belonged to the Kapoor Khandaan?
I don’t think it’s easy. Secondly, I would still follow my dreams because it’s something very personal. They had nothing to do with my family. I’ve had a very different upbringing. I’ve grown up playing sports, watching my father at stock market every day. I barely watch TV; instead I like playing cricket and football. So for me it’s very different and quite normal. I play cricket at Azad Maidan on Sundays. I have been to just two premieres and two shootings so far. I had no idea about films. We never used to discuss films at home. Right from my childhood days, I liked entertaining people. It gives me a high to make people laugh. When I was eight, I asked my mother if I should join a circus. She asked me to finish studies first. The only option was theatre or films. So I joined theatre in school. I auditioned for this film three times. In fact, even after that they weren’t quite convinced about signing me and auditioned other people for the role. But eventually I got on board.
You’re quite fond of your grandfather Raj Kapoor…
You know, I used to watch my Nanaji perform. I never saw him in person. I loved Mera Naam Joker so much that I watched it repeatedly. I used to cry. I thought my Nanaji was a joker and thought he’s a joker by profession. That inspired me and I thought of becoming a joker.
So if you’re offered the sequel of Mera Naam Joker, would you take it up?
I’ll get a heart attack. It’s such a big thing. Without thinking I would love to take it up.
You wanted to debut with a romantic comedy as the genre is considered as a safe bet for debutants?
I’ve never had a plan. All I knew was I wanted to make people laugh. Entertaining people gives me a different high as an individual. I have never thought of playing characters. But I instantly connected to the script of Lekar Hum Deewana Dil and my character. In a way I was destined to do this film. I have worked as an assistant director for Dharma Productions.
How has your brother Ranbir Kapoor reacted to your film’s trailer?
He’s very happy and proud. As a family, he wouldn’t want to break or disappoint me. Instead, he always encourages me. When he saw the trailer, he was very impressed. My family said – yeh tu nahi hai! There were harsh criticisms from my friends like someone said my look was not better in a particular scene and my dialogue delivery could have been better in that particular scene. So that helps. I’m very open to it. Sab ka suno, apna karo.
The hype surrounding the film is intense and the expectations from you are immense. What’s going on in your mind right now?
I haven’t thought about it. People keep asking me about pressure and expectations. After I started interacting with journalists for interviews, I started thinking about pressure and expectation. I’ll do the best I can and can’t change anything. I believe in God and know what I have done. So I’ll keep quiet and wait.
Your cousins – Ranbir, Kareena, Karisma have carved a niche for themselves and are popular stars. Do you see yourself going that long?
I aspire to act as long as I can and as long as people connect with me. I want to do many films I can and I want to keep acting because even if I don’t get another chance I’m open to other source of entertaining the audience. Now where I reach, how I reach, I have not thought about it.
Last month saw the debut of a star kid, Tiger Shroff. Would you wish your start to be like Tiger?
Tiger has got a good body and he’s a great dancer. I can’t dance like him. I’m very happy with my project, cast and crew, AR Rahman has done the music and a talented filmmaker like Arif Ali has directed the film. I’ve been very lucky.
Do you keep a track on box office numbers?
I keep checking numbers with friends from the industry. I know in today’s times it’s only about weekend figures that matters the most. I wish I had worked in a production team I would have understood. Henceforth I will be more interested.