Ronit has undergone a veritable transformation to play the villain in Boss

While most actors would do anything to earn the love of their audience, Ronit Bose Roy (Udaan, Shootout at Wadala and Student of the Year) insists that he’d rather have his audience hate and despise him. After all, he is playing the menacing villain in Akshay Kumar’s forthcoming action drama — Boss, a remake of Malayalam hit Pokkiri Raja. “Unless they really hate me for what I do in the film, I won’t believe I have done a good job,” says Ronit, who has undergone a veritable transformation for the role, with a muscular physique and a thick moustache, to mark his debut as a villain, one “for whom there is no redemption except death. There are no grey shades in him.”

Directed by Anthony D’Souza (earlier Blue), Boss sees Ronit in the role of a cruel, powerful top cop who locks horns with Akshay. “When I was told I was getting a role in the film with Akshay, I thought this is it. After Udaan, now they want to offer me the role of Akshay’s father! That’s when they said I was to play the villain. They wanted me, with my Mihir image (Ronit was very popular as the mild-mannered Mihir Virani in one of the longest running soaps on television — Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi) to beat up Akshay — the king of action! Who would buy that?” laughs Ronit.

That laugh turned into agreement when Akshay personally called him to convince him regarding the role. “When I started working out like a maniac, Akshay asked me why I was stressing so much and I said that’s my contribution to Ayushman Thakur (his character in the film).” Ronit and Akshay go back a long way when they were training for Parkour together. “His enthusiasm and discipline rubs off on you. It’s impossible not to become like him when you are with him,” he adds.

Comparisons inevitable

While Ronit is aware that his villainous act is up for comparison with that of Prakash Raj and Sonu Sood who have played antagonists in Hindi remakes of South films rather successfully, he says he doesn’t deliberate on it too much. “I am not an analysis-and-strategy person. I do things with my heart. There have been times when I have tried to plan, but I have realised that life doesn’t always work according to a plan. It’s best to keep your spontaneity.”

Ronit agrees that there is a thin line between making an entertaining film and being a wrong influencer. “It’s definitely a tightrope. I remember, as a child, walking out of Enter the Dragon and trying to be Bruce Lee. My daughter, for instance, didn’t speak to me for the entire day when she saw Udaan at the Cannes Film Festival. And this was when she was five-and-a-half years old. Films certainly affect certain sections of the audience but a lot is left to the maturity of the audience too,” he says.

The actor’s film Ugly by Anurag Kashyap has had a release at Cannes this year, and is now awaiting its India release. “It’s great that both my films are releasing back-to-back; one is an out-and-out commercial entertainer and the other, a dark thriller. I’d love to do diverse films; a comedy and a song-and-dance one too,” says the actor who made his debut 20 years ago with Jaan Tera Naam. He still rules television with his show Adaalat as Advocate K. D. Pathak, which he plans to continue.