Warning! This man has high-voltage effect on frenzied fans, the manic media and co-stars alike. A star of the masses. Every breath of his is spent flashing smiles, posing for selfies and even dancing on the streets, in bizarre costumes, if need be. He knows he’s a huge star and it’s his talent and tank of energy that’s got him where he is. And he’s not going to forget that in a hurry. If he shows extra affection publicly for his gorgeous wife
, it’s probably the way he behaves behind closed doors, too. We believe, this man is all heart, even when he’s not playing superstar onscreen. Yes, he’s a paradox, too. A masala man in real life and a class actor on reel. That’s what has them all trippin’. He now forays into potboiler land with Rohit Shetty’s cop drama, ‘
‘. Well, can you imagine how that combo will turn out? Like the lethal impact from blowing up a dozen hot wheels in one shot… a la Rohit Shetty. In an interview with BT, Ranveer appears super-kicked about his masala drama, but what gets him really emotional is recapping moments from his fairy-tale wedding. That’s our man, always wearing his heart on his sleeve. Read on…
It’s been an interesting year for you. It started with a lot of turmoil (‘Padmaavat‘), which you triumphed over. Then, you moved on to the most real episode of your life, your marriage. And lastly, the biggest masala film that you have done, ‘Simmba‘, is about to release.
Yes, it’s been a wild year, starting with a film which I could say was a legit turning point in my career. I took a risk and the pay-off was bigger. Then, I started shooting for Zoya Akhtar’s ‘Gully Boy’ that gave me a chance to explore my musical side. After that, I lost my naani, so that was a low in my life. Now, I am excited about ‘Simmba’, as it is my first full-on
, and being Rohit Shetty’s hero is a big deal for me. It has been an amazing year and I can see an upward graph in my life. Of course, the highlight of the year was my dream wedding. My wife (Deepika Padukone) worked meticulously on making our wedding so special, and I keep telling her that a wedding like this was beyond my dreams. I didn’t even have the vision for something like this. It was the most joyous month of my life, with a lot of tears of happiness. I could not have prayed or asked for anything more than this.
Rohit Shetty’s films have a massy appeal; they play to the gallery with plenty of seeti-taali moments for fans. Zoya Akhtar’s films are more contemporary in style and it’s all about subtlety. Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s work is deeply nuanced with every scene perfectly mounted. These are starkly different worlds; does it ever get challenging to slip from one zone to the other?
Yes, it is very difficult. For me, slipping from the ‘Gully Boy’ mode to ‘Simmba’ was difficult. I started shooting for ‘Gully Boy’ long after ‘Padmaavat’, so for that transition, I had some time in-between. The former was a quick turnaround. Sometimes, to switch the mode of performance can be tricky. Like you said, if you see Zoya and Rohit’s work, they are two opposite ends of the spectrum. So, the pitch of performance for their characters is also vastly different. I always had an immense amount of confidence in my ability to switch drastically between roles, but it was far tougher than what I thought it would be. Zoya’s character is very quiet and sensitive, and then there’s Simmba, this complete rogue, dil-phek, in-your-face
. Well, that’s also what I love about my work, that the next instalment in my body of work is starkly different from my last work. It’s something I have endeavoured for. That keeda is not leaving me. My belief is, in acting there is no good or bad, there is no better or worse, it is all subjective. While growing up, according to me, the best actors were the ones who were the most versatile. I admire actors like Daniel Day-Lewis, Sean Penn, Johnny Depp, and Christian Bale for their sheer range. They have a chameleon like quality where they can be brilliant in any genre. I want to be that actor. I want the audience to think ki yeh banda kuch bhi kar sakta hai. At one point, I am hoping it will be like… chal dikha diya. Sabko pata hai ki tu sabse versatile hai. I believe that a versatile range in one’s repertoire is what constitutes a complete entertainer. I always want to be remembered as a complete entertainer.
We’ve heard that right since childhood, you’ve emulated stars and nurtured dreams of being one some day. You always had that filmi keeda in you?
I wanted to be a hero. I didn’t want to be a star. That macho, larger-than-life hero is something most kids aspire to be. As kids, we would play-act… woh badi toy gun leke, sar pe laal patta bandh ke, we would act like we were one of those heroes who beats up the bad guys and saves the day. I started out wanting to be a
hero, along the way I matured and aspired to be an actor. Amitabh Bachchan saab, who is one of my greatest inspirations, has given us some extraordinary performances throughout his career, but you will be surprised to know that my favourite films of his were ‘Shahenshah’ (1988) and ‘Toofan’ (1989). I was always attracted to such characters and this is the first time I am doing something on those lines with ‘Simmba’. The way Rohit Shetty presents his heroes, no one does and he is very proud of that. In the edit, I saw some sequences where he has held the shot for two-three second extra. And I turned to him and asked…sir yeh? And he says, ‘Padegi nah, seeti aur taali padegi na yeh shot pe. You need three more seconds to accommodate that’ (laughs). There is immense panache in the way he shoots and mounts his films.
Given that you have grown up watching full-on Bollywood masala films, it took you a while to make an entry into this genre.
In spite of always wanting to be a masala Hindi film hero, I didn’t want to do it with anybody else; I waited to do it with Rohit Shetty. I believe that he can do it best. During discussions with my core team in the past, we all agreed that one must also do mass-oriented films. And I kept saying that yaar… I don’t want to do it just for the sake of stepping into that genre. If I do a masala film, I will do it with Rohit Shetty, because no one can do it better than him.
There have been some iconic cop characters in our cinema. More recently, Singham and Chulbul Pandey. In fact, even Lakhan (from ‘Ram Lakhan’, which is one of your favourite movies), is a bratty cop, who turns over to the good side, much like your character in ‘Simmba’. Within this universe, there are bound to be comparisons, common traits and even some trappings, right?
This is Rohit Shetty’s universe and all eyes are on him, as he is making a film that belongs to the same universe. ‘Singham’ is a cult film, so it’s tough to go above that, and having done it before, his intention was to make it bigger and better. In all literature, there is a lovable rogue archetype. And Simmba is much like that. He is a people pleaser and audience winner. I am confident that I have added enough distinction and nuances to Simmba, to make him a never-seen-before character. Rohit was clear ki Simmba
nahi lagna chahiye, Bajirao Singham bhi nahin lagna chahiye. Woh Lakhan ya Chulbul Pandey bhi nahin lagna chahiye. We had to work hard to make Simmba distinctive, because a character like this could have so many trappings. Rohit sir told me, ‘Tu apne mann se character bana, tu galat jaayega toh mein bataunga.’ Even Rohit wants to evolve as a filmmaker. If he has set previous benchmarks for commercial cinema, he wants to set a new benchmark now. I hope people also feel that with ‘Simmba’, a new benchmark has been set in the masala genre, because there is a very strong narrative in the film, at the same time, you will not feel that bahut zyada story aa gayi toh Rohit Shetty ka flair kaha gaya. His chaap is fully there.
Sara Ali Khan, your leading lady in the film, made quite a mark with her debut film earlier this month. While talking about ‘Simmba’, she was all gung-ho about working with you. She told us, ‘Seeing such a big star work with such dedication and conviction is something that is hard to even find in a newcomer, and this is what one aspires to learn from him’.
Let me tell you, Sara is a born star. Even before her first film released, she appeared on Koffee With Karan and won the hearts of the nation. Certain things like charm and wit that one develops over a period of time, Sara already has those qualities. The other aspect of becoming a superstar, those traits toh she already has. I keep telling her that where you are as a proficient public figure today, it took me eight years to get there. It took me three years to just learn the A-B-C of it. I am glad to know that she is in talks with certain filmmakers, who I believe will further tap her potential as an actor.
You jumped into a whirlwind of promotions right after marriage. It’s been less than a month, but is the feeling sinking in?
Marriage is a life-changing experience, because I feel there has been a change inside of me. There is a feeling of safety, security and love. Recently, when I won the Best Actor award at an event, I told Deepika that if I have been able to achieve anything in the past six years (I’ve been working for eight years, of that we were dating for six years), it is because you have kept me grounded. My breakthrough
were ‘Lootera’ (2013) and ‘Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela’ (2013), and by then, we were already dating. Now, the lifelong commitment that we have made to each other has gone to another level.
You were always sure that she was that woman in your life?
Yes, I always knew it was her. We started dating around August 2012, and by December 2012, I knew that she was the woman. I was very convinced, so I always approached the relationship that way. I nurtured and cultivated it with the feeling that this is forever. Let me tell you honestly, two very big things have happened in my life. First, I became an actor and it was a huge thing for me. Second, I married her. And this is what makes me feel like maine life mein kuch kiya hai. Maybe, it’s my good karma or blessings… I know that I have the best life partner in Deepika and I understood early on, that it doesn’t get better than her. I have been proven right by myself, as during those six years (when we were dating) kuch bhi ho sakta tha, I could have met someone, but I didn’t meet anyone like her. I haven’t met anyone like her, ever.
Now that so much that you dreamed of has come true, and a lot that you didn’t dream of has also taken shape into reality, is there a sense of achievement and triumph?
When all this happens… there are two possibilities. One, it can go to your head and you can start believing that you are the cat’s whiskers. For me, in last eight years, I have seen lows, too. I never lose memory or sight of that. I have struggled to get the opportunities that I got, and I value it so much more. I understand how rare it is for a boy from nowhere to come this far. The feeling is very precious to me and I never take it for granted. If you don’t respect or value it, it will go away. Sometimes, I can’t believe that I was dancing with Mr Amitabh Bachchan at my wedding. All this love and attention that I get from my fans feel surreal. Where I am coming from and the place where I am in my life today… it all seems like a dream. It is the kind of stuff that story books are made of.
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