Apurva spent his early years in Kanpur and shifted to Mumbai in 1985. He was keen to become a pilot — "I flew for around 15-20 hours" — but destiny steered his course toward films when Subhash Ghai signed him for a pivotal role in Pardes.
Popularly known as Armaan Sir, Apurva is married to Shilpa Saklani who is better known as Ganga. After going through a Tom and Jerry chase, we finally pinned Apurva at Chaithrath studios, Powai.
In between mouthfuls of sinfully rich kheer brought by Rakshanda, he spoke about food. We had threatened to bop him on his head for giving us a run around but he was charm personified.
Apurva's thought for food
I normally have nine am shifts, so twice or thrice a week, I wake up early and go for a workout.
The first thing I have in the morning is a glass of milk shake — either a protein shake or a mango shake. I have tea only when I am shooting. At home I don't have tea.
I go to a gym opposite Fame Adlabs for my workout. When I am working out, I don't speak to anybody; I am totally focused for half an hour. Later, I shower and head straight for the shoot.
If I have a day off, my mother prepares aloo ka parathas for me. Otherwise, it's eggs, bread and butter.
There was a time when I was gunning for those six-pack abs. People remarked that I had lost a lot of weight but I was feeling very fit. I was really in great shape, but then, I guess it took its toll on my face — it began looking too slim. Now I don't care because I have realised that in television your physique hardly makes any difference, because you are dressed from head to toe most of the times.
In the studio, I prefer my tea with adrak. Since it's not always possible for them to organise that, I have started carrying elaichi from home, which I ask them to add to my tea.
Recently, Shilpa and I hired a cook and now carry our tiffins to the studio. I don't like to trouble my mother because she has done enough for us. My tiffin is very simple. It usually comprises paneer, rice, roti and a vegetable/ dal.
I like bhindi; I dislike karela. Tadka yellow dal is my favourite.
I was a non-vegetarian previously but now I eat only eggs. My mom is a pure vegetarian. She asked to stop eating non-vegetarian. It's the least I could do for her.
When I am shooting, I keep sipping tea or coffee. By the end of the day, I have drunk 7-8 cups of tea — that's quite a lot.
I am very fond of meetha; I like to have it with my lunch and not after it. I like kheer. My mother-in-law makes amazing sugar-free rasmalai. I am from Kanpur, so I like imarti jalebi and ladoos. I like pineapple pastries any time, anywhere.
My poison is Baccardi.
My mother-in-law is an awesome cook and I have decided that if in my life I ever open a restaurant, I will make her the cook-in-charge. She makes excellent cheesy Italian fare.
By evening, I am ravenous. I like to have a cup of tea and omelette sandwiches. Holiday Inn's masala omelette sandwiches are a class apart.
I like to have an early dinner, but of late, I have been undisciplined.
At times I skip dinner, altogether. I have a protein chocolate bar instead. I have soup and boiled vegetables for dinner on other days.
I love cheese so I like Italian food, especially pastas. After marriage, we have been going out at least twice a week. Our current haunts are Kareem's and The Marriott.
For me dal, chawal and roti is the ultimate meal.
In Kanpur, we used to live in a joint family. But our food habits have remained the same – even in Canada, my cousins still prepare food as the family did when we lived together.
On a hot summer's day, I like to have a chilled glass of beer.
On a rainy day in Mumbai, I like to have omelettes. I am an egg freak.
On a cold winter's day, I would like to cruise on a bike at 100 mph.
I think I resemble a lauki, because I am lanky.
I have never entered the kitchen but I can whip up a mean omelette.
My favourite spice is elaichi.
My favourite appliance is the mixer.
An admission: I like baked vegetables with puris, followed by sugar-free rasmalai at my mother-in-law's.
Shilpa and I both love paneer bhurji. She can cook good non- vegetarian food even though she doesn't eat it herself.
When we were dating, every evening was a romantic evening. Shilpa and I are very fond of watching movies. So a romantic evening would include a visit to the theatre. If the film is boring, we end up binging on snacks.
Apurva's baked veggie
(Courtesy mother-in-law Priya Saklani)
1 bunch spinach (wash, boil, drain the water and grind)
2 tomatoes (slice into roundels)
1 packet mushrooms (dice into 4 pieces)
250 gm paneer (cut lengthwise)
150 gm processed cheese (grated)
3 tbsp butter
For white sauce:
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp maida
2 cups milk
1 tsp tomato sauce or puree
50 gm grated cheese
Salt to taste
Freshly grounded pepper
In a non stick pan, heat about one tbsp of butter, add the spinach paste and saut for 2-3 minutes till it is dry. Keep aside. In the same pan, add some more butter and saut the diced mushrooms till done. Keep aside.
To make the white sauce, heat the butter in a non stick pan, add the flour and saut on a low flame till golden. Slowly add the milk, stirring simultaneously. Add the grated cheese and the tomato sauce or puree to give it a tangy taste. Finally, add salt and freshly ground pepper.
To assemble the dish, grease a transparent baking dish. Arrange the sauted spinach. Top it with slices of paneer. Next, add a layer of tomato slices. Mix the sauted mushrooms in the white sauce.
Pour it over the paneer and tomato slices. Garnish with grated cheese. Microwave on high for five minutes and then grill for another five minutes.