ARJUN RAMPAL - A Man For All Seasons
TMM|June 2021
There must have been something special about the teenage boy, for Rohit Bal to walk up to him to ask if he is a model or would like to become one. That chance meeting with one of the country’s top fashion designers changed the life of the boy from Jabalpur who went on to become one of India’s top male models. Arjun Rampal was and still is one of the best-looking men in showbiz. Though he quit modeling for a career in films, the 48-year-old charmer manages to send everyone’s hearts racing each time he walks the ramp for a designer friend or posts his picture on his social media account. “I think life is about getting to know yourself and not creating boundaries around you. Don’t think about the end goal because that is limiting. I think that might be the reason people remember me as a model or others like Milind, Madhu, or Mehr because everybody was trying to do something beautiful and enjoying it,” says our June cover star. The stylish actor, who recently completed two decades in the movies, went down memory lane to share some interesting anecdotes from his fashion days
DEEPALI SINGH

SPOTTED!

I never planned to be a model. I had completed school in Delhi and was partying at a club in Mumbai when a gentleman walked up to me and asked if I am a model. When I told him I am not, he asked me to contact him if I ever change my mind. He wrote his name – Rohit Bal – on a coaster and gave it to me. Then when I was studying at Hindu College in Delhi, he spotted me again at another party and came up to me and asked if I am Arjun, the guy he had met earlier. I was quite taken aback that he remembered my name because by then, I knew he is famous. He was doing a shoot and asked if I’d like to come for it. I asked him what I will get in return and he said, ‘nice clothes’ and I thought, ‘that’s not a bad start’ (laughs). I ended up going for the shoot and I remember wearing a pair of bicycle shorts with a shirt and bandana and people pouring water on my head! The photographs were taken by Bharat Sikka and from what I recall, this was one of his initial shoots as well. I went to his office later and there were these big blow-ups of photographs. He asked me what I think and I said, ‘he’s a very good-looking guy’ and he said, ‘That is you, you idiot!’ (laughs) I thought ‘wow, he has made me look really nice’. That was the beginning of a friendship and association with Bharat and Rohit. I was still not looking at modeling as a profession; it was mainly for fun.

TASTE OF FAME

I shot for a magazine cover and got a bit of recognition. I liked the attention and the adulation that followed. My first fashion show was in Bangalore and I remember being very nervous walking on the runway. I got paid around Rs 5000 for it which was a lot of money for me. I got called for a Flying Machine campaign which was followed by Vimal and then Raymond and so, I moved to Mumbai.

HUMBLE BEGINNINGS

I come from a small town and it takes me a while to open up to people. I was painfully shy while growing up. Being in Mumbai around the rich and famous was quite intimidating for me. People would assume that I am arrogant and it was a difficult phase for me. However, I really enjoyed the process of meeting photographers and creating images. Bharat and I would experiment a lot with photographs. We would take clothes from Gudda (Rohit Bal) and I would style them on my own and Bharat would add his aesthetic sense to the shoots. We were really pushing the envelope and creating great images, and that for me, was very exciting.

MAKING FRIENDS WITH MUMBAI

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