'I'm extremely jealous of Karisma Kapoor', says Armaan Jain as he wishes his sister Happy Birthday; EXCLUSIVE
Brother/actor and proprietor of Junglee Kitchen, Armaan Jain, wishes his star sister a Happy Birthday.
“A family that eats together, stays together,” is a maxim that works for the Kapoors. Armaan Jain, the youngest of the late Raj Kapoor’s grandchildren, has got his Showman grandpa’s yen for both films and food. The Kapooresque penchant to pamper the taste buds runs through the grandchildren as well, making them gourmet enthusiasts. In fact, Armaan’s memories of his growing years are replete with lip-smacking adventures shared with the family at the RK Cottage in Chembur. On cousin Karisma Kapoor’s birthday, he mentions that while she may be a fitness freak and is in fabulous form, her passion for food is unbridled. Be it food or family, for Karisma, there’s no downsizing, no compromise. And that’s what Armaan admires her for. For her sumptuous appetite for life and her generous ability to love.
In Armaan Jain’s own words:
My mother (Rima Kapoor) is the youngest of Nana’s (Raj Kapoor) five children, the other four being Randhir (Kapoor) uncle, Rishi (Kapoor) uncle, Rajiv (Kapoor) uncle, and Ritu (Nanda) aunty. So naturally, Karisma (Kapoor) and Kareena (Kapoor) and the other cousins including Ranbir (Kapoor), Riddhima (Kapoor Sahni), Nikhil, and Natasha (Nanda)… were much older than me. When I was a kid, I remember Lolo (Karisma’s pet name) was always busy. Most of the time it was like, ‘Lolo’s working, Lolo’s working’.
However, the RK home in Chembur brought us together at festivals and during celebrations. The house is an integral part of my early memories and it was all about Nani (the late Krishna Raj Kapoor). Nanaji had passed away two years before I was born. Mom would shuttle my younger brother Aadar (Jain, actor) and me from our home in South Mumbai to Chembur over the weekends. Generally, we’d spend one weekend with Nani and the other with my Dadi (Koshu Jain).
The morning breakfast had mandatory fried eggs and toast. I had a huge appetite and would easily have four-five eggs. Food was served 24x7, even as cookery shows kept playing on TV throughout the day. Nani insisted we have dollops of pure ghee as it’s said to be good for the bones. I called her ‘Ghee Nani’ for that. I was a chubby happy kid and would often overdo it. Nani would then have to say, “Armaan ab bas ho gaya!” She’d gesture saying, “Abhi plate le lo!”
We kids just loved Nani’s fish curry rice. Even today when Karisma and Kareena come home, I prepare Nani’s dishes, including the fish curry as a tribute to the splendid host she was. It’s a coconut-based red Goan gravy, with a Kapoor dash.
Sisters in arms
While my brother Aadar and I were growing up, we were not aware of films or the industry. Dad (Manoj Jain) belongs to a business family. So, we had a normal upbringing. For me, Lolo and Bebo (Kareena’s pet name) were my sisters, not stars. I didn’t visit a film set till I was 14. Kareena had just begun acting when my friends wanted to meet her. So we went to watch her shoot at Chowpatty.
As you grow older, the difference in the ages blurs. The bond between Karisma, Kareena, and us grew stronger. The interests are common, the friends are common, and the celebrations are common. Karisma has been a huge pillar of strength for me and my wife Anissa (Malhotra Jain, fashion stylist).
My wife and I introduced Kareena to the boot camp sessions, which are intense free-hand training. But I guess Karisma does a mix of yoga and other exercises. (Smiles) I’m extremely jealous of Karisma. I don’t know how she maintains her weight and looks so fabulous. For that matter, even Kareena keeps so fit. I’m not kidding. The sisters eat well. It’s not that they starve. They may have to control their diet at times being part of showbiz. But we all have a huge appetite. I guess they’re genetically blessed with good looks. Of course, Karisma has cultivated her own sense of style. The way she conducts herself reflects her inner poise.
The two are inseparable. Karisma and Kareena may appear to be different people but are similar in heart. Both are extremely sensitive yet strong. Actually, all the Kapoor girls are stronger than the boys. While Kareena appears more of an extrovert, Karisma is friendly and social too. They are extremely attached to their parents Randhir uncle and Babita aunty. They’ve stuck together as a unit through good and bad times.
As a single mother to Samaira (Kapoor) and Kian (Raj Kapoor), Karisma’s been wonderful. Hats off to her! She tutors them, she drops them to school, she attends their annual events, sports day… Be it their homework, exams, or extracurricular activities, she’s involved with every bit of their lives. The children are her priority and everything revolves around them. If there’s a family gathering and at the same time Kiaan has a test or Samaira has something coming up, Karisma skips the party or comes in late. She’s equally fond of Kareena’s boys – Taimur (Ali Khan) and Jeh (Ali Khan). She treats them as her own. The sisters even take off for holidays together with the kids.
As an actor, Karisma has outdone herself. She’s also a remarkable dancer, absolutely natural. That’s why she stood out in Dil To Pagal Hai (1997). Undeniably, Karisma is the most hardworking, most sincere amongst us all. She defied the odds to be the first lady actor in the family. She had the guts to tread new ground. From what I hear, she truly struggled to make a mark. I have huge respect for her. For me, it’s not about success or failure. Rather it’s the courage, the perseverance to pursue a goal. Karisma has maneuvered challenges with grace.
The entire Kapoor family was supportive when I began my career. Whether it was the music launch or the trailer launch of my debut Lekar Hum Deewana Dil (2014), the family came together as an army. However, extra push came from Karisma when she appeared with me in the show Comedy Nights With Kapil. It was lovely to share the stage with her. That was her way of encouraging me. Karisma has a lot of love to give, which she does effortlessly.
Individually, we cousins are aware of our roots beginning from Prithviraj Kapoor. We will always remain in awe of Raj Kapoor. He was a magician. However, our journeys of knowing him have been different. We know him through his films and the stories about him. And while I didn’t meet Nana physically, my cousins have.
While films are a Kapoor legacy, so is food. When we meet, we never discuss films. It’s only food, food, and food. My venture, the Junglee Kitchen (cloud kitchen), is my attempt to take the Kapoor legacy forward. It serves authentic Kapoor recipes including the famed Junglee mutton, paya pav, butter chicken, yakhni pulao, Kashmiri dum aloo, dal bukhara, laal maas, roast chicken… Inevitably, the whole family lands up in my house to savour those recipes. Karisma’s daughter, Samaira, loves the mutton galouti kebabs from Junglee Kitchen. There couldn’t be a bigger compliment for me. It’s my way of preserving our heirloom.
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