Joined: 01 April 2008
He began his television career with 'Kitni Mast Hai Zindagi' on MTV, starred in a couple of other shows including an important negative role in 'Kasauti Zindagi Ki', where he met his best buddy and now wife Jennifer Winget, and finally bagged his moments of fame with the role of Dr. Armaan Mallik in 'Dill Mill Gayye' on Star One. Besides being well-known for the female frenzy following him there has been a lot in the news about his messed-up relationships, including his marriage and divorce to Shraddha Nigam. He completely refuses to speak about his personal life, instead concentrating on the work that comes along and hoping to make headlines with it. At the moment he plays the always angry, brooding and boring, young and successful businessman in Zee TV's 'Qubool Hai', that has already been picking up TRPs and digging small and steady pits into those of other popular shows. I start off pointing out that playing the handsome but hard to get guy is very different from the other characters he's played before…
"First point, I have always been handsome," he says mischievously as soon as I shoot my first question. Then adds, "The character Asad has been through so much in his life that he has never had a chance to explore the romantic side of life and he does not believe in romance because of what has happened in his life with his mother and father. He does believe in marriage because that's something that you have to do to carry your generation forward. But love is not something that he has ever thought about, it's not like he is gay or anything…"
I can't resist interrupting that it certainly is very unlike Karan himself who has been found in a bowl of interesting soupy stories from time to time… He decides to take no offense, instead laughs and continues, "It's just that he has never thought along those lines because he's been busy setting up things and making money; generally being responsible. Nobody else is there to do it, so it had to be him." How much does he associate with his character?
"I actually look up to him. He is a very, very responsible person, something that every man, including me, should aspire to be, I think he is a little too weighed down by the sorrow and pain in his life. But other than that there is nothing that I relate to because I've not been through the same things that he has. I understand pain in life but not to this extent."
But isn't he also a very narrow-minded person, especially in his attitude towards women... "He is not narrow-minded; I think he is protective, which I am as well. He is an MCP, and to an extent so am I. It's not like I feel women are inferior or something. In fact, I think it's the other way round; I've always been telling all my female friends and my wife as well that I'm sure God is a woman that's why everything is run by women, whether we want to accept that or not."
That quite doesn't make him the MCP…
"No, I'm an MCP who has accepted reality. I believe that there is a decorum that has to be followed. I'm not for short dresses and low neck lines, but if the occasion calls for it I understand."
MCP or not, he is quite a heart-breaker of sorts - with the women following him on-screen, off-screen … "I never meant to break any hearts. I'm fortunate that I've got excellent roles and that I've been presented in a way that women would like the character that I'm playing and I'm happy. Asad is a very strong person. Armaan, there is nothing not to like about - he is funny, emotional, very in touch with his emotions and he empathises with everyone."
Asad may be a strong guy, but in an age where we need and nurture a more progressive society aren't we are actually moving backwards if the lead believes that women need to be subservient… "I don't think the character feels that women need to be subservient. But because he is the only man in the house, for him his job is to go and make money and since the women in the house are not working he needs to do it. He does not believe that women are independent, but he is just so protective of them that he wants to be there with them when they are going out, that's it. Also since the women in the house have been doing all the work they know what he needs and if he does not get it he throws a tantrum. Probably someone needs to teach him a lesson and hopefully that will happen too," he adds with a sly smile that I can't quite decipher.
'Qubool Hai' – the term itself denotes marriage. What are his views
on it, considering he got into one that didn't go beyond a few months…
"It's something in the past and I don't want to talk about it; I don't really like talking about my personal life so much. The only thing I can tell you about marriage right now is that I am very, very happily married right now. Before being married to Jenny, I think for me, 'Happily Married' was as good as a fairytale which is only fictitious, there's nothing real about it. But I guess there is a point in life where you do find the right person and you do settle down and then you understand what everyone's been talking about." Then would he agree that second marriages work better than first ones?
"Some people learn from their mistakes early, some people have to make a lot of mistakes to realise that they are making them. But the point is if you have learnt and moved on then that's the best thing to happen."
He has been best buddies for a long time with Jennifer, seven years to be precise. How is it being married to someone who has been so close to him, yet seen things from the outside, someone who has seen through all his faults through his relationships even while she remained just a good friend?
"There are many times where I had spoken to her about everything that I had been through and there were so many times I would call her and talk to her about whatever problems I was having, and I've done the same for her. So it's nice to go home to someone who is that good a friend because you already have that connection. It's not like you are getting to know her after marriage.
But she does have her phases where she is completely the wife. I'll call her to say 'I love you' and she will go on about 'Tumne yeh kiya, woh kiya, khana kha liya'. I'm like, 'Do second mujhe mile hain and I called to say I miss you, man'. And she goes 'Haan, woh theek hai par tum broker ko phone kar lena aur bank waale ko phone kar lena'; she does play the wife really well. And then at home, because she is from the industry and she has been watching the episodes and I can talk to her about my work, about performances, we have a lot in common to talk about as well."
This is also someone who knows possibly everything about him, so is it a relief to live with this person or does he have to be careful that he doesn't let her feel that he is reliving the mistakes of his past…
"Very relieving… The thing is if someone knows me for so long and knows all my faults, has seen me in all my relationships and if that person still decides to marry me either she is out of her mind or she is madly in love with me. Both are good for me because I'm a 'surd' so we don't have a bright frame of mind anyway and at any time," he adds with a naughty wink. "But it's nice to be married to somebody who knows everything so there is nothing to hide anyways. It's an open book and she knows everything, and whatever pages are left we will fill them in together," he says with so much feeling that I want to forget any relationship goof-ups he's been associated with.
"There are times when we speak about the past and if we could have done things differently or changed some things. But the conclusion of every conversation is that if we hadn't been through that then we might not have reached here. Everything happens for a reason. It's like the dominoes effect; if one piece is missing or slightly away then it might not complete."
He has been speaking so honestly all this time that despite being a part of it, I feel pity for the loss of privacy that he must have faced through his muddled-up first marriage, the divorce and thereafter. I extend my thoughts to him too…
"I personally don't like to talk about myself but about the work that I'm doing. Whatever is necessary I tell, else I don't. I've had a very colourful past - most of it was 24 shades of grey. There was no white, no black. It's a difficult situation when nobody is wrong - if you consider personal perception of right and wrong then nobody is wrong or right. I just let my side be, because that is the way I am, I have never given an explanation to anyone about my actions except now (to Jenny), and I make sure that the explanation is right in every perception."q
I don't know if that's my cue to change tracks but I decide to move onto more impersonal questions. Karan is among those actors who feel that there is no difference in TV and film stars anymore, having been a part of both, albeit in a small way. So I ask him about his dream roles and memorable scenes and he goes…
"I really wanted to be in the remake of AGNEEPATH, but that has already gone and Hrithik has done a fantabulous job of it. Before that my dream role was Rishi Kapoor's work in KARZ which Himesh Reshamiya has ruined. Other than that Leonardo's role in SHUTTER ISLAND would be great, but I doubt that it can be re-made into a successful Hindi movie."
Regarding his fave scene he says, "There was this one scene in 'Dill Mill Gayye' where I am playing basketball on the terrace and Jennifer comes, she is wearing a white salwar khameez, and it's a dream sequence, where I go to her and she comes to me and we hug full-on for the first time ever. If you talk to her I think she will give you the same answer," he says with love-filled eyes that make me wish she would agree.
As I wind up my recorder, I see he is already preparing for his next take getting all broody, black-mood guy once again. Actors have to feel myriad emotions on screen all the time, but rarely get the opportunity to live in their own emotional space. And we think they have it easy…
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