He’s tall, he’s dark and handsome, everything that every Mills & Boon hero is known for. But it’s not only his looks that makes him endearing. Engineer-turned-actor Karthik Jayaram is also a wonderful person. Known as Superstar JK by his fans, he brings with him a positive vibe, every time he walks into the sets of a shoot or a room full of people.
1. Tell us about your growing up days. Your time spent later at your engineering college. What was your dream career in your childhood days?
I was born in Koppa, Chikmagalur. And from there we came to Bangalore as my father got transferred here. I was a very talkative student and was average in academics, as I was always very passionate about sports. I used to play a lot of cricket and loved the sport. I joined National College Jayanagar as a science student. And then completed my Civil Engineering from Bangalore Institute of Technology. I passed with a distinction, but even during that period my main focus was on cricket, as I had got into professional cricket by then. I had represented my University and also Junior Ranji cricket. My dream career was to play for India. But I couldn’t continue to support my dream and passion for cricket as there was no support for the sport in those days. I continued to study and completed by MTech in Structural Engineering.
2. When and how did the journey from an engineer to being an actor happen?
This happened in 2009, but before that I was into modelling, mainly as a passion. I walked for many ramp shows. I was also one of the Gladrags Top 5 winners. My friend James who was a DJ forced me to go for a movie audition where I was selected. That’s when my profession into the world of cinema started with my debut in “Deadly 2” movie as a villain.
3. What are your other passions and hobbies? If not an actor or an engineer, what else would you have considered being?
Cricket for sure. Also, I love to workout. I started gymming as a hobby but it ended up as a profession. I’m brand ambassador for a fitness centre and also brand ambassador for an Australian protein supplement. I have many hobbies. I love singing although I’m not a professional singer. If I wasn’t an actor I would have pursued my Structural Engineering career.
4. How challenging is it to carve a niche for yourself?
That’s the best part of life. One has to build their own if one doesn’t have Godfathers. Surviving is the biggest challenge. But for me it’s been fascinating to create my own identity and work every day in a different and new avatar and take my life to a different level.
5. What have been some of the biggest highpoints of your journey so far?
There have been many highpoints in my life’s journey so far and I’m sure many are yet to come. Graduating with Masters in Structural Engineering was my parent’s dream which I achieved. From a television serial getting title as a Superstar was also one of the biggest highpoints for me. Being recognised as Best Raavan for my role in Siya Ke Ram was unimaginable. And when my video of Raavan played on Times Square New York, it was one of the most memorable achievements of my career.
6. What does family mean to you? How was the lockdown period for you? How do you spend time when you’re not working?
For me family is a great strength and support. Without my parents support I wouldn’t have achieved anything in my life. They mean a lot to me.
Lockdown was a great lesson in my life too. A speed breaker in fact in terms of work, but it gave me time to know myself better, adapt to situations and I have realised that I’ve now become very strong mentally and internally.
I spent my lockdown time very productively. I gave more time for my fitness. I started writing a few scripts. I spent time with family. I also worked on my social media professionally which has been highly appreciated.
7. Were there any kind of apprehensions entering the field of cinema or was it a cakewalk?
My entry into film industry was by chance. James, a friend of mine pushed me into a meeting with director Ravi Shrivastava. I wasn’t keen on acting as I was busy working for a company called Praxair as head of their Civil department. But destiny got me into a line which I had never thought of or planned for earlier. I’m happy I did that.
8. What is your vision and dream in this field that you’re in now?
I have started loving my profession and have a great vision for the future. I am very fond of this world of cinema that I’m in now and plan to grow, expand my horizon and performing the best of the best roles.
9. How different do you feel you are from the others around and what are the changes you want to bring about?
I am a very determined and focused person. My vision towards my life is very unimaginable for others. I always want to be unique for people around me. So, I try to do what feels right to me rather than bothering about other’s opinions. If it goes right, I take the credit and if it goes wrong I take the blame.
10. How has life changed after entering the film industry? How different is it from the television industry?
Life has been wonderful after entering the film industry. It’s the most creative line I have chosen and it has made me a responsible person. We deal with different people every day. As an actor, we become an icon to lots of people. So it’s a great social responsibility. I have sculpted my career well by getting recognised by family crowd and kids especially.
11. Are you a home bird or a party goer?
I am a home bird. I prefer working out and staying at home whenever I am not working. I party very occasionally and when I party I party hard too.
12. How often do you take holidays?
Strangely, I have never taken any holiday. It’s always been work. I hardly have group of friends to hang around, so, whenever I get time I love my own company. The acting profession has made me a workaholic. But yes, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to take holidays. When time permits, I have lots of plans for holidays in the future. I want to travel the world.
13. What is your dream woman like? Would you prefer to date someone from the industry or from outside?
I don’t have a dream woman. I feel like my profession; my personal life will also be a surprise. From the industry or outside the industry doesn’t really matter as long as the person matches my wavelength.
14. Are you a romantic at heart in real life? What is the most romantic thing you have done or anyone has done for you?
I am not at all romantic in real life. May be my future partner will discover that in me and bring out the hidden romantic in me.
15. Any crazy or fun or cute fan message or incident you’d like to share?
My fans have been crazy. During our Ashwini Nakshatra serial, my HENDTHI (wife) had become very famous. So many times, my fans husband’s used to ask me to call their wife as Hendthi which was very funny.
16. Any memorable incidents you’d like to share with us during the shoot of some of your projects?
During our Ashwini Nakshatra serial shoot, while we used to have our bedroom scenes, I used to sleep off and director used to tell action and I would take the shot. I have slept off many times in between the takes.
Another funny incident was when I had to get trained to ride a horse in a movie. I had taken three months training, but all they taught me was slow walk with the horse. So, after three months I came to the set and the guy gets a horse and tells me not to worry as the horse is very obedient. I just plonked myself on the horse, and without my knowledge he spanked the horse with a stick and it started running very fast. I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t want to show I was scared too. So, I acted as if I was an experienced horse rider. By God’s grace, the horse stopped after 500 meters, and I acted as if I was fine and the shoot went well, but inside my heart only I knew how fast my heart was beating.
Raavan in Siya ke Ram was one of the best characters I have played in my life. I never imagined I would be doing that role in a Bollywood serial. It was a great experience to play that role, wear those wonderful costumes, and deliver those powerful dialogues. I got such great recognition all across India for that and so many compliments and accolades. Infact not just in India, the character was recognised and appreciated all over the world. I was extremely overwhelmed by the huge response we got for that role.
17. What is your fitness routine like?
I work out twice every day at the gym. In the mornings, I do weight training and evenings I do cardio. Fitness has been my biggest strength and motivator. I also take out time to play professional cricket on weekends as I love the sport.
18. What’s your style mantra?
I just wear what I love. It has to really appeal to me. I am very selective when it comes to clothes.
19. Who are your close friends from the industry?
I have many friends in the industry. Kiccha Sudeep has been a great friend of mine. My producers and directors are more associated too, as we have lot of discussions on various projects.
20. What is your dream role?
Whatever opportunities I get, I build that role and make it my dream role.
21. What are the projects you’re working on currently?
I have a Kannada movie IRAVAN for release soon. Also, my debut Tamil movie MALIGAI is up for release soon. I have just started work on another new Kannada movie named KAADA. I have also signed up my second Bollywood project called SHABAASH MITTU along with Tapsee Pannu, which will commence from mid-September. I will be signing a Hollywood project and the details will be out soon. I would love to talk about it, but at this point I can’t reveal more on this Hollywood project.
22. What are your future plans?
Future plan is to keep improving in my work and act in some of the best movies ever and of course, stay healthy and happy.