July 20, 2017

I was obsessed with Ranbir, says 'Qaidi Band' actor Aadar Jain

He is the newest kid from the Kapoor khandaan to make a foray into films. Son of Reema Jain and grandson of Raj Kapoor, Aadar Jain is all set to make his debut in the film Qaidi Band. Even before the film hits the theatres, the youngster is making news. After all, he was introduced by none other than cousin Ranbir Kapoor as the new talent of YRF, the banner, which is launching him. His promotional campaign, however, got targeted by the Twitterati as reeking of nepotism. Here, the newbie talks about his debut film, cousin Ranbir and takes head-on the charges of nepotism..

The trailer of Qaidi Band is out, what are your thoughts right now?
It’s an amazing surreal feeling. I am at a loss of words. My family, friends, teachers, everyone, who has been a part of my life have appreciated it. My mother got so emotional, she was in tears. She actually saw it a couple of days before the launch. She has a Ganpatiji ka photo on her phone and she was pointing it at the trailer to seek his blessings. That was a special moment for me, because she was so overwhelmed. When my nani saw the trailer, she called and told me, ‘I am proud of you’.
 
What was Ranbir’s reaction?
He hasn’t seen it yet. He is in New York shooting for the Dutt biopic. I am waiting for him to watch it and give me his feedback.  

Are you closest to him among your cousins?
Yes, as a child, I was obsessed with Ranbir. I would follow in his footsteps. He was the one who gave me my first football shoes. We have several things in common. We share the same love for movies, sports and food! He also bullied me a lot! I am also close to Karisma, Kareena, Riddhima and Natasha Nanda, who is my maasi Ritu Nanda’s daughter, Nikhil bhaiyaa. We are a close-knit family. When we get together, it is like a big parade — it’s a full table tennis match. Food is going from one side of the table to the other, there is a lot of noise. Every Sunday we make a conscious effort to go and meet my nani and we never miss the annual Christmas party at Shashi nana’s house.  

Every actor dreams of making a debut in a love story with pretty visuals and foreign locales. What made you choose a film on undertrials as your first film?
My dream was to act and to entertain people. When I was auditioning for the film, Habib (Faisal) narrated the story to me. He said it is important that I like the story and connect with it. When he narrated it to me I didn’t see it ki yeh koi alag type ki picture hai, I really connected with the story. I thought it was entertaining and engaging and at the same time educational. I never knew anything about the situation of undertrials in jail. I had only seen it in films like Shawshank Redemption and Prison Break. I had a rough idea. What was interesting for me was our country has more undertrials than what is considered normal. Overall, I connected with the character and the music aspect. I have always been musically inclined growing up and played an instrument. In the film, my character plays the guitar. The way all of us express through music and come together in the film also interested me.  

Did you discuss it with your family and take any tips?
To be honest, when I started out, I told my family I wanted their blessings. I didn’t want any advice. Whatever choices I make I want to take credit. I just went with my gut feeling.  

What kind of prep did you do for the film?
We attended a rigorous workshop. I am a drummer, so had to learn the guitar, the nuances, etc. During the shot, I actually played the chords. I also learnt a particular dialect because my character has a northern accent. Since music is an important part of the film, I sat with the composer Amit Trivedi to draw some inspiration. I read up on different cases of undertrails and jails as the film is based on real incidents and real characters. There was an Assamese undertrail Machang Lalung who was in jail for 54 years for a crime he didn’t commit! When he got acquitted, he felt that his whole life was wasted and it affected him. I read his entire story.  

Physically did you have to undergo any changes?
Yes, I had to lose five-six kilos for the film. In jails they serve phiki dal and rice. My character had to reflect that. My lifestyle is such that I get proper food, but I can’t look healthy in the film, so I had to lose weight and get the rugged look.
 
Like Ranbir, you also started out by assisting directors. What is the idea behind it?
When I was in high school, I decided, I wanted to act. I went to New York Film Academy to educate myself. When I came back, I realised I needed to do the ground work. As a child, I had never gone on the set of a film, so didn’t know how a film was made. I wanted to know the basics, what actually goes into the making, how the DOP frames his shots, how the actor hits his mark, etc. I wanted to gain experience and exposure so I assisted Farah Khan on Happy New Year and Karan Johar on Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. Incidentally, Ranbir tried to bully me on the sets of ADHM. He treated me like a professional and I used to call him ‘Sir’ though it was a little awkward! Actually, he wanted to teach me how to do things in the right way. Then he told me, he didn’t find much to bully me!  

After ADHM, did you decide to face the camera?
 I wanted to train myself, I went to dance and acting workshops, concentrated on my fitness — I was doing all those things when I met Shanoo Sharma (casting agent). She told me that if I am ready to audition, she will test me. I was auditioning for three-four weeks before I got the film.  

Soon after you were introduced by YRF, you had to face charges of nepotism as you come from a big film family. Were you prepared for it, did you get affected?
 I did read a couple of comments. When it’s your first film, you work so hard and you give it your all for one year — of course, you feel bad when you read these comments. Obviously, you can’t help it. People will always have opinions. The only thing you can do is work hard and speak through your work. I just feel no matter where you come from, no matter your background, the odds are the same. Yes, it might be a bit easy for me to meet the casting director. But I have to audition, prove my mettle as an actor because I don’t think a producer or a director wants to take an actor who is not worthy of the script. A producer/director is putting so much of his own money on new talent. So, you have to audition whether you are the “insider” or the “outsider”. I got the film purely on the merit of my talent. There are so many who don’t belong to a film family, like a Ranveer Singh or an Anushka Sharma, who also audition. The odds are the same for everyone.

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