Fussy about sitting down, Ranveer confesses his love for masala entertainers and Govinda and the one thing he absolutely loathes – the camera phone. Harshikaa Udasi catches up with the actor
He’s worn his grey jacket back to front. A Jim Carrey T-shirt he confesses to have “bought online for seven dollars!” rests on him while he keeps walking about the room. A stress ball is in one hand which he keeps bouncing off the walls. Just the sort of setting we’d want for an interview. This is Ranveer Singh, fresh out of two back-to-back films Lootera and Ram-Leela — both clutter busters and the latter a huge success as well. I ask him to settle down for the interview but he refuses saying, “It’ll block my flow of thoughts. I’ll give you a super great interview while walking or a thanda (cold) interview if I sit down. You make the choice.”
Ranveer says the success of Ram-Leela has not changed anything for him at a personal level. “For me, it is all the same. My family, my friends, my lovers — all the people who care for me still feel the same way about me as I do. Being an aware actor I have realised that what has changed is the perception of the media, the trade and the filmmakers. I am aware of this star value,” he says, with an air of detached observation rather than of pride.
The actor who has done diverse roles in almost all his films ranging from Band Baajaa Baaraat and Ladies V/s Ricky Bahl to Lootera and Ram-Leela says that it is a great time to be an actor but also a very challenging phase. “I regret not living when Satyajit Ray was around but now is a good time to be in the Hindi cinema space. As an actor it is very difficult to convince the audience and please them. They are more aware, have more access to channels, films, international acting and direction. There are more actors, hence more competition. So it’s tough choosing the films you want to do and want to let go. And, there is more exposure that actors have nowadays. I, for one, dreamt about being an actor, not a public figure. That is a big hassle for me. Last night, we were having a small party on the terrace here (Yash Raj building) and unknown to us, someone from the opposite terrace was filming the entire thing. I consider being an actor in the present day — the era of the camera phone — a big challenge!” he says. “However, the pros are many — sync sound, for instance. It helps the actor that the mood and the emotion are captured while the shot is taken. The changing topography of cinema is helping us; earlier you’d have five genres. Now with so many original voices, there is so much more we can do.”
Ranveer is ready with his third film Gunday with Yash Raj Films, the banner that launched him in 2010. Directed by Ali Abbas Zafar (earlier Mere Brother Ki Dulhan), the film set in Bengal of the 1970s tells the story of coal bandits Bikram and Bala and also stars Arjun Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Irrfan. For the actor who says he likes to deliberate over each film, how did Gunday fit the bill? “Yes, I like mulling over each script much to the annoyance of producers. I keep thinking of the various permutations and combinations before signing a film. I was dying to do a full-on mass entertainer for a long time. But I didn’t want a typical one — five action sequences, two items, one romantic number, one emotional scene, masala films are being directed almost to a template nowadays. Gunday came and I loved the script and there was solid characterisation. It is a masala entertainer and when it comes to fights, for instance, you can expect it to deliver the goods.”
This is Ranveer’s first double-hero project. The actor denies it. “In Band Baajaa Baaraat, it was about Bittoo and Shruti (Anushka Sharma), in Ladies V/s Ricky Bahl, I knew that Parineeti had the most hilarious lines. In Lootera, I knew again that Sonakshi’s was the author-backed role. In Ram-Leela, it is about the two of us. In Gunday, Arjun and I share 50-50 of the screen space. I don’t believe that the hero is the centre of the Hindi film eco-system.”
Speaking about his acting style, Ranveer says, “I am a bhelpuri actor. I take some things from here and there and everywhere. I just imbibe what I observe. Possibly when I have a few more films under my belt, you’d be able to identify a certain ‘original’ Ranveer trait”, he smiles.
And, oh yes, he sat through the interview.