Actor Ranvir Shorey talks to Nandini D. Tripathy about “Khatron Ke Khiladi” and other projects

Ranvir Shorey. Actor. Stand-up comic. Action hero? The question mark is one’s instinctive response to his participating in this season of Colors’ Khatron Ke Khiladi. He talks about how the show is to him an adventure holiday-cum-platform to showcase his action skills, his funny man avatar still being his best known and more. Excerpts:

Your name in the list of contestants on “Khatron Ke Khiladi” was as unexpected as most of the show’s stunts are every year. What made you take it up?

There are three reasons, actually. One, I had promised myself an adventure holiday when I turned 40 — when you’re turning the decade it’s good to know what your fitness levels are, physical or mental — but I couldn’t go for one at the time. Two, when I found out that this year’s season is being hosted by Rohit Shetty I thought it’s a great opportunity to work with him as also to let filmmakers know that I would be interested in doing action and stunt roles as well. And three, people keep saying I don’t do TV any more and I keep saying I’m open to doing TV if the job is exciting. This is very exciting, so here I am.

You have been lauded as an actor for several out of the box films and your role choices have been varied and interesting, often straddling the line between ‘commercial’ and ‘art house’ cinema. What do you look for, in a film or role?

I always look for an alternative streak in any movie or the role I take up. That’s been the case right from my first film, Ek Chhotisi Love Story. I didn’t subscribe to the mainstream ‘commercial’ values at the time. Now it’s a different story because a good amount of the values I started out with have been absorbed by the mainstream over the years. Except for the odd obviously commercial film like Singh Is Kinng, even all the mainstream movies I’ve done have had an alternative streak. The idea is to constantly try and push the envelope on what kind of cinema is being made here.

Even with such a varied repertoire of roles, most people will still identify you as a funny man. Does that ever bother you?

It doesn’t bother me at all. I think the reason for this happening is that my initial success was in comedy and your initial identification does tend to stay with you. This business does tag you or bracket you, and that is the case with any kind of role. I actually think that if I had kept doing the same thing well over and over again I would have probably been more identifiable today and maybe even successful. But I think I’ve done quite well in dramatic roles too like Traffic Signal and Mithya. So really, the idea is simply to not repeat my work and not be typecast.

In most of your interviews, you don’t seem to have a very bright and sunny vision of the Indian film industry.

Bollywood is not an even playing field. I am very often asked if I feel that I’ve got my fair share of recognition in this business and I have to say that it doesn’t feel that way to me. It is very difficult to cut it here unless you’re related to someone or someone’s friend. You need connections. So yes, it is not an even playing field and I honestly don’t think I’ve managed to overcome that.

Tell us something about your upcoming projects, On The Ramp and Titli.

On The Ramp is actually a drama with a little erotica thrown in. I think except for a couple of filmmakers who’ve been successful with erotica, it is still a very touchy subject for Indian values. I personally feel that it is a very important genre of cinema and should be pushed, and this film does a little bit of that within its broader storyline and scope. And Titli is one of the best scripts I have read in years. Unfortunately not too many great scripts come my way, so when this one came I jumped on. Kanu Behl, the director, and Atul Mongia, his associate, really whipped the actors into performing — and I mean that in some cases literally — so it was a really hard shoot but lots of fun. It was a film impossible to say no to.