As the countdown begins for the release of Rocket Singh — Salesman of the Year, Harshikaa Udasi pins down the jet-setting Ranbir Kapoor for an interview

Confidence speaks a different language. And Ranbir Kapoor is just about mastering it. Riding on the success of two films back-to-back — Wake Up Sid and Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani — this fourth generation Kapoor lad is awaiting his third and final release this year, Rocket Singh — Salesman Of The Year, and hoping to score a hat-trick. While the Kapoor appendage was the USP of his debut vehicle Saawariya, the 25-year-old says, “I don't believe in genes. I am here as an individual and while I feel the pressure on and off, it never totally engulfs me.”

Going by his otherwise down-to-earth demeanour, it's hard to translate that statement as arrogance. It's more a reflection of a relaxed mind. “Things have been good for me this year,” he smiles. “Wake Up Sid fared better than our expectations and Ajab Prem… has been a runaway success. It feels good. Moreover, I feel success and failure are two similar things. The pressure to perform is always there, so it's best to ignore. The good part is also that nobody holds on to your last performance and writes you off totally,” he adds, glad that the latter has not happened to him even though Saawariya turned out to be a colossal flop.

Yashraj Films' Rocket Singh — Salesman Of The Year is the story of Harpreet Singh Bedi, a fresh graduate with below average marks and an eagerness to give his career a rocking start. The movie looks at that slice of his life as he embarks on the new road into the big bad outside world. “It's a film about everyone since all of us have at some point in time stepped out of school and college and wondered what next? Harpreet has just started to think about earning a living, paying his own taxes and the whole rigmarole. He is an honest guy and to top it nobody entertains sales people!” he laughs. “This world names him Rocket Singh.”

Playing a Sikh must've come naturally to him considering his mother Neetu Singh belongs to that community. “Yes I am half Sikh and am glad that I turned out as a Sikh in the first movie I went in for a change of look. My maternal grandma always wished to see me as one in the movies. She passed away a couple of months ago and the night she died was the first time I came home dressed as Rocket Singh. I am content she saw me thus,” his eyes moistening as he recounts the incident.

Romantic interest

After working with Katrina Kaif, Bipasha Basu, Deepika Padukone and Konkona Sen Sharma, this time Ranbir has a newcomer in Shazahn Padamsee, adman Alyque Padamsee and singer Sharon Prabhakar's daughter. Isn't he wary of carrying the entire film on his shoulders? “It's not my film alone. I have (director) Shimit Amin and (writer) Jaideep Sahni's shoulders next to mine. As for my romantic interest, I'd say I'm in love with sales in this film,” he grins.

The affable Rishi Kapoor, who still makes the occasional appearance on celluloid, is known to be his son's biggest critic. “He may not give me instant feedback, but will always point out later if I could've done a scene better. It's not necessary he agree with the kind of films I do or the roles I accept because when I wanted to become an actor my parents never really sat me down and told me the right and wrong way to do anything,” says Ranbir, adding that his dad is his favourite actor and a huge influence on him. As a Sardar, how does he expect to woo the South audience? “It's not really about ethnicity. Harpreet could've been called Harry or Hariharan, he would still strike a chord in everyone's heart because the story is essentially about a youngster trying to make his mark,” signs off Ranbir. Whatever Rocket Singh does, that is one milestone the actor has already achieved.