Armaan Verma, who plays Shah Rukh Khan’s son in RA.One, admits he never expected to score such a huge debut. But what excited the 12-year-old most was the chance to perform stunts alongside his superhero dad. “I had to learn Capoeira, which is a martial arts dance form practiced in Brazil,” reveals Armaan.
Like any first-timer, he had to pass rounds of auditions, before making the cut.
“My mom got a text message from my school saying there was an audition for RA.One, asking if I would be interested. There were three to four rounds of auditions, and I even had to dance in one. Then I was taken to Shah Rukh’s house to meet him before they signed me on,” says Armaan, a seventh grade student at Billabong International School, Santa Cruz.
His character, Prateek Subramanium a.k.a. Lucifer, is an integral part of the film, as “it’s mainly focused around a father-son relationship.” Shah Rukh plays Shekar Subramanium, a Tamil scientist who creates the superhero, RA.One, for a computer game that he programmes for his son.
“My character is a gaming addict. He loves playing computer games, but doesn’t get along with his father, who he thinks is a geek,” says Armaan, adding, “Shah Rukh is very kind and he would always say ‘you are the most important supporting actor.’”
Ask whether he had to learn to speak Tamil to play his part more convincingly, and Armaan says with a laugh, “I didn’t, since my dialogue was all in Hindi. But Shah Rukh has some lines in Tamil, and he sounds quite funny speaking it.” Armaan has shot for the film over a year and a half in Goa, Mumbai, London and Hyderabad.
Didn’t it affect his studies? “I had a tutor at home and my school gave me extra classes. That helped me,” says the student-actor who is presently answering his exams. “I don’t discuss the film in school. Until about 80 per cent of the shoot was complete, no one even knew that I was in RA.One.” This is his first press interview.