Spotlight: Arjun Rampal

A hot model. A sexy actor. A great father. These are just a few qualities of the man we all know as Arjun Rampal. He started out as a model and became one of the greatest rising stars Bollywood has ever seen. From Pyar Ishq Aur Mohabbat to Don and Om Shanti Om, Arjun has proven himself to be flexible and quite versatile. Cousin to another Bollywood star, Kim Sharma, Arjun has yet to reach the goal of ruling Bollywood.

Born on November 26, 1972, nobody would have known that a young boy who grew up in the small town of Jabalpur would end up being an up and rising star in the Bollywood film industry. Standing at an amazing six foot two, Arjun has made wonders in just eight years. Son of Gwen and Amarjeet Rampal, Arjun went to study, along with is sister, at Kodaikanal International School, a boarding school in Palani Hills where his mother was a teacher. He then went to college but did not have much interest in his studies. He, in fact, was interested in girls. Well, boys will be boys... though he did well in his studies too.

When he was 17, he wouldn't have thought that going to a discotheque would be his first step into the entertainment world. Discovered and launched by Rohit Bal, a famous designer, Arjun became one of the well sought out models and became Rohit’s protégé in the modeling world. There, he first met his wife, former Miss India and supermodel Mehr Jessia. They both got married soon after in 1997.

You might have remembered seeing him for the first time in Pyar Ishq Aur Mohabat acting alongside Aftab Shivdasani and Suneil Shetty; but his first debut film was actually Moksha. Moksha was released after Pyar Ishq Aur Mohabat and Deewanapan in which he acted opposite newcomer Dia Mirza. In the same year, he was seen with model Namrata Baruah in a music video 'Do Not Marry' which was directed by Rajiv Rai. Unfortunately, both films did not fare well enough to earn him much recognition as an actor, but they did give him a head start in the film industry. Some even said that Arjun shines in his first ever debut. He dismissed every single belief that “models have wooden faces.”

Arjun was awarded in the International India Film Academy (IIFA) Award for Face of The Year in 2002, the same year his eldest daughter Mahikaa was born. Though his first few films did not do well, Arjun has never admitted defeat and continued acting in various other roles. He has worked with Preity Zinta and Mahima Chaudhary in Dil Hai Tumhara as Dev Khanna, Aankhen with Akshay Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan as Arjun Verma and even with Aishwarya Rai in Dil Ka Rishta as Jai Mehta. One of his well appreciated performances came when he portrayed the character of Salim Mirza in Tehzeeb. The movie also stared the talented Shabana Azmi and Urmila Matondkar. Slowly, he managed his way up the ladder of fame.

In 2004, Arjun only had one movie, Asambhav, in which he acted with Priyanka Chopra. The reason for just one release was due to Arjun working day and night for a concert tour. Arjun was seen on stage with Shahrukh Khan, Rani Mukerji, Saif Ali Khan, Preity Zinta, and Priyanka Chopra in the Temptations 2004 Concert, going around the world and having the girls swoon over his body and physique.

The very next year, Arjun appeared as an ex-cop in the multi starer Elaan which didn’t fare well at the box office but his performance was appreciated. Yakeen also released that year and Arjun was seen in a very complex role opposite Priyanka. Arjun had a taste of playing the hurt villain in Vaada as Rahul, the accidentally blind husband, and in Ek Ajnabee as the sexy Shekhar with Amitabh Bachchan. On June 2005, fates shone on him once more as his second daughter, Myra, was born.

Arjun began experimenting with more different kinds of genres in 2006. He played Rohit in Humko Tumse Pyar Hai and Kunal in Darna Zaroori Hai, a sequel for the suspense thriller Darna Mana Hai. He also had a guest appearance in Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, a multi starer movie directed by Karan Johar. Soon after that, Arjun was offered a role in Farhan Akhtar's Don, a remake of the original which was released in 1978. He had yet another chance to work with Shahrukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra as Jasjit, a father separated from his son and wife. This role was played by Pran in the original Don. In comparison, Don did feature him as a second lead and provided him ample opportunity and screen time, especially considering the fact that the film was an out and out SRK starer. Farhan said that while Pran did well as Jasjit in the old role, he needed to portray Arjun as young and trendy. Young and trendy is what Farhan asked for, young and trendy is what Arjun delivered.

Arjun then decided to work as a producer while acting in his film, I See You, alongside model turned actress, Vipasha Agarwal. He managed Chasing Ganesha, his home production company, with his wife Mehr Jessia. Though the film had Shahrukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan in a surprise guest appearance, it did not do well at the box office.

Do you remember the character Mukesh Mehra? Or better known as Mikey? That is one of the most remembered roles of Arjun. In 2007, Arjun was casted by Farah Khan in her movie Om Shanti Om, alongside Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone. His role as the antagonist Mukesh won him two awards for Best Actor in a Negative Role. Tricky, vicious, sly and drop dead gorgeous were all weapons of Arjun in this movie. Even though he appeared as a supporting actor, Arjun once again shone through with his own unique personality and style in the movie. He made the role look entirely different from any other. You know, like how the other older villains used to shout to the other henchmen, "Kitne admi hain!?!" Arjun wasn't like that. He didn't have any henchmen, he worked alone. He didn't shout much either. In fact, he hissed a lot which I find quite sexy actually.

In an interview with CNN-IBN, Arjun was asked how difficult it was to get into character. He replied "It was definitely one of the tougher characters that I have played. I have never done a role like that; I don't know anyone like that and do not associate myself with people like that. So it was tough to work on it. But I think I had to work on different expressions and the way this guy would think. It's heavy-duty stuff and I don’t want to bore you with it." He certainly didn't bore us with his role. Even Deepika admired Arjun’s work, especially how much he has improved as an actor though he had originally started out as a model just like her.

Arjun always has his fans and Hindi film audiences guessing about what he might do next. He has this thing for being unpredictable, be it movie-wise or reality-wise. Even in T.V. interviews, he has kept quite about many stories of his upcoming releases – a prime example being the plotline and his character in the newly released Rock On!! in which he is seen as a guitarist in a rock band. According to Farhan Akhtar, Arjun's costar in the movie, "His performance in this movie is probably the best of his career thus far." The film was released on Friday, the 29th of August. It is directed by Abhishek Kapoor and stars Purab Kohli, Luke Kenny, Prachi Desai, and Shahana Goswami alongside Arjun and Farhan. Arjun will also be seen with Amitabh Bachchan, Preity Zinta, and Shefali Shah in The Last Lear due to release on September 12th.

I must admit, I have never... not once... seen any interviews of Arjun, but I don't need to see them to know about the kind of person he is. Arjun Rampal... the great young man that has the looks, the moves, the personality and the family every man wants. There have never been any bad news or controversy associated with him. From working on the ramp to being in the spotlight in Bollywood, Arjun has proven to everyone that anyone can be a someone one day.

You can honestly say that just by hearing his name, 'Arjun Rampal', you will have that image of Mukesh Mehra from Om Shanti Om in mind or Shekhar from Ek Ajnabee. The all knowing smile and a cute face that makes you all go "Oooo I wanna pinch his cheeks!" Well, let's just say we wish to know more about Arjun Rampal – the sweet hunk of Bollywood.

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