Arjun Rampal Opens Up About His New Film ‘Crakk’, His Career Evolution & Personal Milestones

As Arjun Rampal gears up for the release of his upcoming film ‘Crakk’, he gives us an intimate glimpse into his multi-layered life – career choices, fitness philosophy, the loved-up bond he shares with all his four children, and his “Yin-Yin or Yang-Yang” equation with partner Gabriella Demetriades. As we keep pace with the riveting ride through the tumultuous yet triumphant life of Arjun Rampal, it’s clear that his magnetic charm is still intact! 

By Andrea CostaBir 

Raw, rugged, tough and seriously good-looking, Arjun Rampal is an explosive force that keeps forging ahead despite all the many roadblocks and obstacles that have strewn his course over the years. Born in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, this sexy charmer was also a Delhi boy for many years of his life. Kicking off his career by setting the runway afire for all the top designers as a fashion model, Arjun literally ruled the ramp before diving into glitzy Bollywood and the not-so-easy world of acting, where he has not just survived but thrived for a long time despite the myriad challenges. 

Chasing versatility on the silver screen, in the last two decades and counting, Arjun has made an indelible mark starting with ‘Pyaar Ishq Aur Mohabbat’. Major hits like ‘Rock On!!’, ‘Om Shanti Om’, ‘Raajneeti’ and ‘Chakravyuh’ cemented his position as a heartthrob with cinematic charisma. Newer films like ‘Nail Polish’ and ‘Dhaakad’ have kept Arjun in the running… and we’re now looking forward to ‘Crakk’ which will release towards the end of February 2024.  

Years ago, Arjun had also turned producer with his company Chasing Ganesha Films, a move that proved he was not just passionate about acting in films, but also hungry for a larger slice of movie pie action. While Arjun’s film career has had its magical moments, we do feel he has a lot of brilliant cinema buried deep within, and his best is yet to come… 

Off-screen, Arjun is the doting dad to his daughters Mahikaa and Myra (with former wife supermodel Mehr Jesia), and sons Arik and Arav (with current partner Gabriella Demetriades). His personal story has been rocky, yet filled with resilience and willpower. Slaying the demons that have crossed his path from time to time, makes Arjun Rampal a fierce and fabulous warrior. 

Excerpts from our interview…

Arjun, do share some highlights from your journey in the modelling and film industry…

Wow, you want me to put 25 or 26 years in a nutshell! Well, it started with ‘Society’ putting me on the cover as the Face of 1994. I’ll always cherish that moment, it truly paved my path in the world of modelling. Covers had such power back then. The Screen Award for Best Debut was given to me on the same day my daughter Mahikaa was born. The National Award for ‘Rock On!!’. Working with my idol Mr Bachchan in ‘Aankhen’, ‘Ek Ajnabi’ and ‘The Last Lear’. Walking the red carpet in Cannes. ‘Om Shanti Om’, ‘Don’, ‘Ra 1’ with SRK. Playing Arun Gawli in ‘Daddy’. ‘Rajneeti’ with Prakash Jha who always brings out the best in me. Walking the runway at the New York Fashion Week for DKNY in the 1990s. Being an integral part of the fashion revolution in India. The rest shall be discussed in detail in my biography. 

You have played a variety of roles in your career. How do you choose your projects? 

I honestly want to surprise myself, challenge is what I love. Of course, the subject and the person who will execute it are the most important reasons. Sometimes, you just go with your gut. Sometimes, you see something there and need to contribute a lot more than just an actor in helping put it together. Initially, it was to prove oneself, now it’s for the enjoyment that lies in the whole process and the creative side of it. 

You have ventured into producing films. How has this experience influenced your perspective on filmmaking?

You have a lot more control over how the end product will shape up. Yet, you need to be very careful about the team you select. Then, help motivate everyone to work towards one vision. It (the job of a producer) is extremely stressful and exhausting and thankless but, at the end of the day, it does allow one to express oneself. When it goes wrong, you only have yourself to blame and take on the setbacks. If it works, you create a foundation to create with freedom. The latter, I still have to achieve in its true self.

Could you give us a sneak peek into your soon-to-be-released film ‘Crakk’?

‘Crakk’ is a cracker of a film. Kudos to Vidyut (Jammwal) and Aditya Datt for pulling off such an ambitious project. No spoilers, just watch it on the big screen; you won’t be disappointed. 

Your fit bod over the decades has been an inspiration to many. Could you share insights into your fitness routine? 

Fitness is just a part of my lifestyle now. It’s not for vanity. It’s respect for my body. I enjoy pushing myself. The ‘me time’. The discipline. It’s now a habit that has become irreplaceable. Everyone must have this habit, just 30 minutes or, even better, an hour every day for oneself. The benefits are incredible. 

Both your beautiful daughters have followed in their parents’ footsteps (Mahikaa is planning on venturing into films and Myra has made her modelling splash). Could you share a few nuggets about your bond with your gorgeous daughters? We see lots of loved-up social media posts between you three… 

They are my angels, my girls, and I am blessed to have them. Right now, I get jealous of their friends as they have more of them. I guess that’s just part of growing up. But we will always have each other’s backs. 

You follow your former wife Mehr (Jesia) on social media and comment on her posts too, on and off. What is your equation with Mehr today?  

Mehr is a wonderful mother and has been fabulous in the upbringing of our girls. We will also always have each other’s backs. 

You have created a beautiful life with Gabriella and your two sons Arik and Arav, with Mahikaa and Myra often joining in the fun times too. You faced challenges when you started on this new path of your journey. How did you focus on the positives and ignore the negatives? It obviously took resilience, willpower and courage… 

Gabriella and I are like the Yin-Yin or the Yang-Yang in a relationship. It has been incredibly mind-boggling to me as to how we are so much alike. I just wanna say that we both have helped each other come closer to the best versions of ourselves. We are blessed with two of the most beautiful boys who complete my family. Mahikaa and Myra are the most doting sisters; their brothers are lucky. I am super lucky as Gabriella and my girls are best of friends.

Being a father to four children who live in different homes and are of different ages, how do you navigate parenting? 

They are like Google maps; I just follow the destinations!

Having gone through rocky times in your professional and personal life, who do you count on as part of your unconditional support system?

Life is a journey of ups and downs; we make mistakes and it is important to learn from them, not repeat them. It is important to let go of things not in your control. It is important to make certain sacrifices no matter how much they hurt. I look inwards and to the universe, to God, for my guidance. Honestly, forgiveness and gratitude are my support systems. Of course, I have my family and there isn’t a greater support than them. 

What is the most valuable life lesson you have learned till date? 

Change is inevitable. Acceptance of change. Never giving up; no matter how hard life seems today, there is a silver lining there for everyone. So, don’t end up becoming a people-pleaser. The only direction your finger should point is towards yourself. Don’t fall into the trap of the blame game. You will deplete your power. Find your purpose and everything else will follow. 

Looking ahead, what is the legacy you wish to eventually create?

I want to create the most incredible content. I want to leave a legacy that would encourage and help show the way for youngsters to believe in themselves and never lose their identity. A space that encourages originality. A safe space for artistes

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