The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, September 9, 2001

Khulja Sim Sim has opened new doors for him
Pratima Kamath

HEíS the kind mama would like for a son-in-law. Sparkling clean looks (as if he was scrubbed to perfection every minute), a smile that could launch a dozen toothpastes and confidence in plenty ó say hello to Aman ĎAnupam Kapadiaí Varma.

Aman Varma: Stepping out of ĎAnupam Kapadiaísí role
Aman Varma: Stepping out of ĎAnupam Kapadiaísí role

Just when the character of Mihir Virani had died in the serial Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi and the female viewers all over the country had gone into collective mourning, Anupam emerged. The makers of the serial had so well-timed the entry of his character that Mihirís absence was filled by the gentle Anupam.

And when Mr Good Boy had already become synonymous with his subdued and sober screen persona, then came along a game show called Khulja Sim Sim. The show not only opened doors to some more play-and-win entertainment but also reintroduced Anupam Kapadia as Aman Varma, the man behind the character.

Gregarious, fun-filled and happy-go-lucky, the audience welcomed the new Aman.


So do people finally recognise him as Aman and not Anupam? "Yes, some of them do now. They have realised Iím not Anupam and that itís just another character Iím playing. I guess it will take some time for the audience to know me as just Aman," says the actor, whoís shooting for Gharana, a serial on Zee. In between rehearsing his lines, Aman takes some time off to talk about himself. Ask him if he chose to do Khulja Sim Sim because it gave him an opportunity to play himself and he says, "Iíve always sought to go after change. If I have done a good role, itís been a conscious effort to do something chirpy and then something bad.

Unfortunately, I donít get roles to play Ďbadí. As for Khulja Sim Sim I was almost not doing that show as I wasnít confident enough about carrying it off. It was Star TV who thought I could pull it off. Their confidence in me was amazing and itís then when I thought I would give it a shot.

Besides, I have always wanted to associate myself with things which are doing well." That heís started enjoying the game show host avatar is quite evident as his smile gets broader. "Itís fun shooting for it. Iím enjoying it more and more. It gives me a chance to be myself and also a time to interact with my audience. I have 10-minute sessions with them just before the shoot starts. So that helps."

Television is getting hotter by the day. The competition is cut-throat and not much quality stuff is happening. A catch-22 for most actors.

"Itís basically the survival of the fittest here. I think only those who are good at their job survive here. The fact that Iím surviving here shows that Iím one of the best. Also I have never tried to walk over anybody to reach my goal. Besides there has to be competition in any field.

Otherwise how do you push yourself?" says the actor who came to Mumbai in 1996. A Delhiite? "No, I belong to the whole of India," he says adding, "My father was an army officer, so we have been all over the country." Like his screen alter-ego Anupam, Aman too has a younger sister. "I fought with my dad to become an actor (thatís what most actors say) and came to Mumbai. Mumbai is home now. I donít like staying anywhere else. Iím addicted to this city. Itís given me all that I had aspired to get and become,"he says, gratitude writ large on his clean-shaven face.

A student of English Literature, Aman has also done a diploma in journalism ("I tried for a job in The Times of India but I didnít get it") and an MBA in Finance. Heís also sold products and he quickly corrects you that he was "an actor first. Modelling happened later. Iíve been doing television much before I was asked to model.

Modelling is not what I was interested in," says he who will continue with his modelling. However, while modelling gets him some instant money and recognition, itís acting heís dead serious about. "Right now, Iím a very dissatisfied man. I need more roles, more variation, more range of parts. Iím hungry for a good role." So whatís on offer? "People come to me only with the Ďnice guyí roles. The kind where Iím the sacrificing type, one who pines for his woman but would happily give her away to somebody else and yet smile about it." But is he like Anupam who loved Tulsi and yet was ready to send her back to Mihir? "No, I would never give away something that was mine. Anupam is totally unlike me. Iím not that kind of person at all. Iím very temperamental and I can blow my fuse quite often. Itís only now that I channelise my negative energies into my acting," says the Libran.

His looks remind you of Dilip Kumar (a lot of people believe that) and his acting too. "Yes, many people have told me that. They tell me I look like Dilip saab in his younger days. As for acting like him, yes, itís bound to happen as Iíve followed that man so much, his acting has to have rubbed off on me. And who hasnít in the film industry been inspired by Dilip Kumar? From Manoj Kumar to Amitabh Bachchan to Shah Rukh Khan, every body at some or the other point has been inspired by that actor."

Tell Aman that heís the one of the most eligible bachelors going around and he breaks into a grin. "Thatís news to me. I donít know if thatís true." So is he or is he not? "I have friends in the industry but thatís about it. I believe in doing my work and going back straight home." Spoke like a good boy.

Finally, does he too eye the big screen? "Yes, there have been talks for four projects but I would rather not talk about them." The star of TV, will he get his due in films? "I have struggled right from my early days of television. Iím prepared to do so even for films. All I say is give me even a small part and Iíll eat away whoever is opposite me."

Arrogance? Naah, we call it self-confidence. óINFS

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