Aadar Jain: 'I auditioned for my debut film Qaidi Band and never took any family favors'
Being a legacy has its own burden and no one knows it better than Aadar Jain. Raj Kapoor, Shashi Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor and Ranbir Kapoor are few names that are related of Aadar’s family. The very same legacy played a role on the day he was to be launched by the prestigious YRF banner, with its upcoming film Qaidi Band. And it was a bitter one.
Immediately after his launch, Aadar Jain spent the evening celebrating the day with close family members but what followed the next day was something difficult for him to fathom. Newspapers and the digital world dubbed his launch as another case of nepotism in Bollywood.
“They did a beautiful photo shoot to launch me and Anya, and Ranbir was to introduce me. I finished the entire press conference, went back home and celebrated with my family. When I opened the papers next day, they all talked about nepotism and there was a lot of media scrutiny,” recalls Aadar. “It hurt me because I had worked very hard to get Qaidi Band. I auditioned for the film and never took any family favors. I could have joined my father’s business but I had a genuine interest in acting. I just hope people see that,” adds Aadar.
Aadar’s family lineage goes back to the first family of Bollywood. While Raj Kapoor is his maternal grandfather, he addresses Rishi Kapoor and Randhir Kapoor as mamas (or mother's brothers), while Kareena and Ranbir are both cousins to him.
He was born after the death of Raj Kapoor and thus his introduction to him remains only through his vast legacy of celluloid work.
“While growing up, we did not know who our grandfather was and so my mom used to make us watch Mera Naam Joker on loop. We would clap and say Nanaji joker hai, Nanaji joker hai. It was only when I became confident of pursuing my career in acting that I became curious as to what my family did.”
It was during his school days that Aadar thought of making a career in acting, as stage performances gave him a high. He soon realised that acting was addictive. To pursue his ambition further, he enrolled himself at the New York Film Academy but shifted to The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute the next year. His years at both the institutes did expose him to various dimensions of acting but once back, he had to unlearn a lot of things.
He soon realised that the grammar of Hindi cinema is different from West. Ranbir Kapoor too was at The Lee Strasberg Institute, so was it a case of one brother following the footsteps of the other? “My reason for going there was different. Ranbir had told me that when he went there he was already getting film offers. His father wanted him to get educated if he wanted to pursue a career in the same field. In my case, I knew nothing about films,” reasons Aadar.
Once back in India, his family connections did help him and Aadar soon landed an opportunity to assist Farah Khan for Happy New Year. But ‘connections’ ended soon. The very first day on the sets of Happy New Year was not a pleasant one for the young assistant director. Farah yelled him at in front of the whole film crew. “I had no idea what clap is and I was supposed to give clap for the film in front of Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Abhishek Bachchan and Boman Irani. I was to go near their faces and give clap for the film. I did not realise that it was such an important thing as it syncs the audio and visual together. Seeing my inability, Farah yelled at me and asking what the hell I was doing on the set and where I came from,” reminisces Aadar.
While he learnt a lot on the sets of Happy New Year, his next venture Ae Dil Hai Mushkil made him fully aware of the nuances of filmmaking. Aadar also got a chance to know the craft of his cousin brother, up close and personal on the sets of the film. The time away from the sets was spent in Ranbir’s room where he helped Ranbir practice his lines for the film.
Aadar insists that he landed the lead role in Qaidi Band solely on his merit. But before the ‘good thing’ happened to him, he was as clueless as any other newcomer about the process of actually getting a role in a film. He finally managed an audience with Shanoo Sharma and the next three months were spent auditioning for the casting director.
“One fine day, all of a sudden, I got a call from Shanoo asking me where I am. She informed me to rush to the fourth floor of YRF and then abruptly cut the call. While coming from Versova to YRF, I had all sorts of thoughts going through my mind. I also thought that Adi sir might very politely say to me, 'beta yeh film line tumhare liye nahi hai'. When I met him, I realised that he had liked my audition and I was given the lead role in the film.”
Aadar is grounded and level headed to accept that at 23 he is not a patch on his grandfather, who by that time had already produced, directed and acted in a film. The legacy that Aadar carries is a daunting one and has the potential to unnerve anyone.
“I have my own journey. Whatever they might say – good, bad or ugly, I am ready for it. These days to be an actor also mean facing the media and the public and you have to respect them. Yes, comparisons will definitely happen and so far in my family most have proved themselves and created a niche. I hope they see something in me too,” says the Kapoor scion.