Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Ranveer Singh

“I’m not here for money. I’m here for job satisfaction”

By Ankita R Kanabar

(This interview was published in the Diwali issue - November 10 issue of Super Cinema) 

(Second image, courtesy : R Burman) 

It doesn’t happen very often, that your character becomes a household name with your debut film itself. But, it happened for Ranveer Singh. People started identifying him as Bittoo Sharma, a typical Delhi boy with the colloquial language. Well, that was a great thing but, it could have also worked against Ranveer, since there was a possibility of him getting typecast. But what’s commendable on his part is that just with his second film, ‘Ladies vs Ricky Bahl’, he was able to break the mould. Two films old Ranveer Singh, has made it here on his own, and is even rising high on the popularity charts, especially when it comes to all the young women. It won’t be wrong to call him one of the most promising newcomers we’ve had in recent times. And…he certainly has a very interesting line-up of films, and is working with the best in the business. Seemingly, all his upcoming projects are different from each other, and we certainly would look forward to what he has in store for us. For now, he’s shooting for ‘Ram Leela’. As I spoke to Ranveer, he was on his way to rehearse for a song for this Sanjay Leela Bhansali film, which he was to shoot the very next day. As he talks about the film, and this particular dance number, his voice is brimming with excitement. He’s had a back injury a while ago, but he admits that he’s come out of it, even stronger, and is in his best form. In fact, he reveals, he’ll be seen shirtless in the song he’s shooting for ‘Ram Leela’. Now, that certainly would arouse the curiousity levels of the audience. So, ladies, are we ready to see Ranveer in his super hot shirtless avatar? For now, we have Ranveer Singh in a candid mode, talking about his upcoming films, recovering from the back injury and things that make him happy!

You’re currently rehearsing for a dance number. But you seem like a pro at dancing…
People keep telling me that I seem like a trained dancer, but honestly, I haven’t had any formal training in dancing. I lack technical skills. I need to rehearse so that I can give in my best, and it looks effortless on screen. Plus, I’m so committed to movies, that I don’t wish to leave any stone unturned. Moreover, dancing is something that I love. I enjoy dancing thoroughly, not just in films, but in general even when I’m just partying with my friends.

From aspiring to be an actor to now…how has the little journey been?
It’s been really nice, and I’m very glad for being here, at this stage. At the moment, I’m very happy with the way my career graph is shaping up, and I hope it remains that way. The kind of films, that I’ve signed at the moment, are all so different from each other, and that has kept me so happy. The happiness I get from my professional life is the happiness that transfers to my personal life too. I’m so caught up with work right now, that it’s keeping me very happy. And I hope it remains that way.

You have a very interesting line-up of films. Tell us about it…
I’m extremely happy with the films I’ve lined up. I’ve just finished shooting for ‘Lootera’, which is like a period love story and it’s the kind of character that is completely different from what you can ever imagine me doing. In fact, in the initial days of the shoot, I used to even ask my director Vikramaditya Motwane, that ‘How did you even think of me for this role?’ ‘Lootera’ is quite an intense love story. Then I have ‘Ram Leela’, which is a full on massy film with hardcore entertainment. And then ‘Gunday’ is a film that has a little inspiration from all the Salim-Javed films that we’ve seen in the 70s and 80s. You can say that ‘Gunday’ is Ali Abbas Zafar’s modern take on films of those times. And I’m working with such talented actors like Arjun Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra in the film. Feels great!

Post ‘Band Baaja Baarat’, did you ever feel that you could get typecast, or get slotted in a particular genre or category?
Yes, I thought it might happen, since I’m a newcomer, that too, with no industry background. So, ‘Band Baaja Baarat’ was my first impression, which could have just stayed with the audience forever. For me, it was extremely important to break that image, as soon as I could. And I think to an extent, I did that with ‘Ladies vs Ricky Bahl’, and then with ‘Lootera’, they will see a completely new side of mine, because even I couldn’t initially believe, I could fit into such a role. So, doing diverse films and roles, has always been my constant endeavour. I need to be kept on my toes, I need new challenges. See, I’m not here for money, I’m here for job satisfaction. And I will only get that job satisfaction if I’m challenging myself with each film. That is something I had decided right since the beginning.

How has the ‘Lootera’ experience been?
It was extremely difficult. We shot few portions of it in Mumbai, and then was a long portion of the film to be shot in Dalhousie. But I think the whole Dalhousie schedule was jinxed. The set that was made fell down, and there was bad weather and what not! And then, I also had a back injury. But, we’ve finally finished the shooting. The film feels so right, and it makes me feel so good. I’ve seen few rushes of the film, and it has gone beyond my expectations. When you’re shooting for a particular film, you obviously have some expectations from it. But, when you see it exceeding your expectations, it’s a great feeling. I can’t wait to see it on-screen. But it’ll still be some time before it releases. I know for a fact, that I won’t be having a release any soon, and not in many months. But then, it’s okay, as long as I know that I’m doing some quality work.

Your back injury was really bad. How is it now? The recovery must have been really difficult?
It was very bad, and it was one of the reasons why ‘Lootera’ got delayed. I couldn’t stand on my feet for like a month and a half. And that, is certainly not something good to know. But I was assured by the doctors that if I took my whole rehabilitation process seriously, I could recover well, and in fact get even fitter than I was. So, for three months, every day for 6 hours, I would work on the whole rehabilitation process, and do every kind of physical activity, that made me fitter and stronger. And trust me, I’ve come out of the injury, much more stronger. But the whole incident has taught me a lesson, and I’m now taking things even more seriously than ever before. Though, this has been a very traumatic experience for someone like me, because my physicality matters a lot to me. It’s not just important for my career, but for me as a person, because I’ve always been someone who loves to remain fit, and who loves dancing. But my aim was that I want to be fitter than ever. Also, this was like a much-needed break for me, to spend time with my family and friends, which I usually don’t get the time for. I also could spend time reading and watching lots of films. I saw so many top notch Hollywood films and performances. And you know, when you see other actors perform so well, you’re also infused with that energy and fire to perform better. So, I wouldn’t even say that I wasted my time. That phase has been a big learning experience.

You came out of the injury, much stronger. Do you handle failures in a similar manner?
Oh absolutely! We always go through good times and bad times. But it’s important to learn from your adversities and move on. Moreover, there are a lot of other factors attached to success and failure which are not in your control. So, you can’t just sit and cry. You need to learn from it, and move on. Like in the span of my two and a half year old career, my learning curve has been tremendous. I’ve had such good and bad experiences.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali is said to be a task-master. How are you finding working with him?
You can say that he’s a task-master. He is a perfectionist, and sometimes that does make him temperamental. But if you’re an actor who wants to learn and improve, you wouldn’t consider that aspect of his as a negative thing, because at the end of the day, it will only prove to be good for the film. He’s an actor’s dream, and he treats his actors like babies and completely supports them. The kind of support I’ve got from him, not just him, but from my other directors as well, is amazing. He’s very encouraging. I think we have this great sink as an actor-director. In fact, he’s the only director so far, with whom I’ve had this sink, instantly. With my other directors, developing that sink took time.

Tell us something about ‘Ram Leela’ and your character…
Like I said, it’s a very massy film. It has all the masala to make it a thorough entertainer and it has lots of dancing. In fact, this one song that I’m going to be shooting for, is something I’ve been wanting to do for so long. You’ve no idea how excited I am for this film. And my character, well, I’d just say that right from the beginning, Mr Bhansali had told me that he wants me to be in my best form, and best shape. Romeo has to be someone who women fall for, because obviously, Romeo is this quintessential lover boy. He has to look that great. In fact, he had told me that I will be seen shirtless in the film, so, I’ve been working really hard. In fact, the song that I’ll be shooting for, will have me shirtless (smiles).

So, now women could just be drooling over you even more…
(Laughs) Well, I won’t complain at all. I just love it when women come and tell me that they like me. I thoroughly love and enjoy all the attention.

Any other projects that you’ve signed?
There are some very interesting offers, but nothing finalised so far. Things might get confirmed in a month or so. At the moment, I’m shooting for ‘Ram Leela’, and soon ‘Gunday’ will begin so I shall shoot simultaneously for both the films. But at the moment, I’m not sure about what I would be working on, after ‘Gunday’.

What makes Ranveer happy?
Films make me really happy. Apart from that, I just like to have a good time with people and create fond memories. Because the memories and experiences you gather as you move ahead in life, are priceless! 

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