SPRING IN THE STEP
The MAN|April 01, 2021
HIS SURNAME MAY NOT BE KAPOOR, BUT IT'S HARD TO MISS THE 'KAPOORIYAT' IN AADAR JAIN. HE SEEMS TO HAVE A BIT OF EVERYONE — LIKE MOST OF THEM IN INDIAN CINEMA'S FIRST FAMILY — IN HIS EXPRESSIVE FACE, HIS LOVE FOR MOVIES, HIS SMILE... MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE, HE'S FINDING HIS OWN FOOTING IN THE INDUSTRY WITH HIS UNCONVENTIONAL PICKS. AMAZON PRIME VIDEO'S HELLO CHARLIE IS A CASE IN POINT
Radhika Bhirani

IN SCHOOL, I WAS the class' prankster... the joker, Aadar Jain reminisces, unwittingly invoking memories of his iconic maternal grandfather, Indian cinema's 'greatest showman', Raj Kapoor.

Today, all grown up, charming and courteous in his demeanour, and confident and clear about his craft, the 27-year-old actor is out to be a joker once again... only this time, to elicit his audience's laughter with his new film Hello Charlie.

Look at me, I'm smiling, says Aadar, pointing at his flushed face, lit up by a glimmer in the eyes, and a curve that stretches from ear-to-ear, as he begins to share his outstanding experience of working in the madcap comedy entertainer with, well, a gorilla for a co-star!

I love Dunston Checks In... There also used to be a Hindi version, Ek Bandar Hotel Ke Andar, laughs the actor, recounting the 1996 film around a young boy befriending an orangutan, as the conversation steers to endearing human-animal films. While growing up, I have also seen films like Babe, King Kong. There's also Haathi Mere Saathi of course. I think you're going to see a human-animal film in Hindi cinema after a very long time, the actor says on a sincere note.

His surname may not be Kapoor, but it's hard to miss the 'Kapooriyat' in Aadar. The younger of two sons of the late Raj Kapoor's daughter Rima Jain and investment banker Manoj Jain, Aadar seems to have a little bit of everyone — like most of them in Indian cinema's first family — in his style of talking, his expressive face, his love for movies and food, his smile, his dance and his gestures.

But let's give it to him for trying to find his own footing in the industry with his unconventional picks.

That Aadar is neither a man of quintessential choices, nor is he scared to explore uncharted territories in a space where 'staying safe' is usually the norm, was established with his 2017 launchpad Qaidi Band. He auditioned on the behest of casting director Shanoo Sharma. In the film about the plight of innocent under-trials, he essayed a qaidi who uses the power of music to reach out for justice. Undeterred by the tepid response, he continues to pursue his desire of doing every kind of film.

I want to be known for being a versatile actor. I want to do all genres. The idea is to challenge myself with every film, and I believe that's the only way you grow as an actor, says Aadar, who can be counted among the bevy of fresh faces and talents to look out for in Bollywood in 2021. For one, it has been a while since Qaidi Band came out, and for two, he's in a diametrically different role and film.

It is definitely new and conceptually fresh, says the self-assured actor of the Pankaj Saraswat directorial, featuring Jackie Shroff, Rajpal Yadav, Darshan Jariwala, Girish Kulkarni, Elnaaz Nourani, and introducing Shlokka Pandit.

In the laughter riot, produced by Excel Entertainment — the makers of Fukrey — and premiering globally on Amazon Prime Video on April 9, Aadar will be seen as a simpleton named Charlie who juggles funny antics, a unique bond and a chemistry with a gorilla named Toto during a road trip from Mumbai to Diu. The trailer reveals how a billionaire's escape results in a comedy of errors, making it a rib-tickling rollercoaster ride for the audience.

Taking on the role of a chhote sheher ka, seedha-saadha, bholabhala ladka was something Aadar connected to instantly. He reflects, Maybe it's the kind of films I have grown up watching, or maybe it is the kind of people I have met. You always observe certain people, draw certain characteristics from them, and put them into your characters. That's something I did with this film.

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