ON THE THRESHOLD OF SOMETHING BIG: Ranbir Kapoor

But he is now ready for a relationship, says Ranbir Kapoor, as he talks about women, work and more

Sarita Tanwar (BOMBAY TIMES; October 4, 2011)

 

Ranbir Kapoor has emerged from selfimposed exile. The 29-year-old actor has lately been in the news for all the wrong reasons (read: women), and so he’s cleaned up his act. Either that or he’s gotten really discreet. There have been no new link-ups for months. He wants to be known for his work. A new film is up for release and he doesn’t want anything to take the focus away from it. That’s one of the reasons why he skipped both arch-rival Imran Khan and ex-girlfriend Deepika Padukone’s recent housewarming parties. He wants nothing to take away from his work. Somewhere in the interview, he says, “I’ve been called the next best thing for far too long. It is now time to deliver.”

RK is currently single and successful. He’s on the threshold of something new and exciting on the personal and professional front. He tells us more.

How have things changed since we last spoke two years ago, apart from the number of women you’ve been with?
Things haven’t changed and I’m pretty much the same guy. I live in the same house, I sleep on the same bed. The only thing that’s changed is that I’ve got the opportunity to work with directors like Imtiaz (Ali) and Anurag (Basu). So hopefully I’ve grown as an actor and as a person. I can now take things forward as I’ve been working for three and a half years.

You went into a shell after your last release. Why?
Anjaana Anjaani didn’t do well; I didn’t have anything to say. Secondly, there was a barrage of negativity that had enveloped me. I’m not saying I was a victim. Maybe I was wrong, maybe I wasn’t…who’s to tell? But I just felt I should concentrate on my work and stay away from the negativity, as it might seep into my work. I have two important films in the form of Rockstar and Barfee, and I just wanted to focus all my energies there. I thought that the need to contradict and clarify every allegation or rumour wasn’t worth it. Channelling my energies into work was a better call.

By negativity you mean all the link ups right? There wasn’t anything else….
Well, there were link ups and the Koffee with Karan episode (with Deepika Padukone and Sonam Kapoor). There was lot of things that happened in that six-month span. I was naïve before, now I’m not. I understand what the bigger picture is and what’s really important. All the rest are just frills that get attached to you as an actor, and are all in passing. In the end, it’s the movie and your performance that stands out. So if I’m a good actor, and if I’m part of entertaining, engaging films, the audience will like me. I was afraid that people would form judgments after reading about me and dislike me as a person. I think that’s unfair. I’m not saying that everything is untrue, but what is written is exaggerated and glamorised. That is not how our lives are exactly, our lives are quite ordinary.

Were you upset/hurt with the stuff being written and spoken about you?
I remember telling my friends I didn’t feel anything. After I began shooting for Rockstar, I became very detached. It is because of certain emotions attached to this character, and working with Imitiaz. He is so inspiring and motivating as a director that you want to submit to him. You want to bare yourself. Post the movie, for four months, I kind of went into depression. Not because of what was happening in my life, but because of the character I played. When I used to hear things like Heath Ledger killing himself because of his character in The Dark Knight, I used to think, ‘I’m an actor and it doesn’t go to that extent.’ I understand now how important these experiences are as an actor, because this is what is creatively satisfying in this line. It’s not the awards, the box office collections, or the money.

You seem to be mature for your age…
I am not that young. I am 29.

 

And you’ve achieved quite a bit already. Does it make you vain?
I’ve never been vain. I don’t take myself seriously. I don’t consider myself sexy or good-looking. I think there are 10 actors in this industry, or 10 waiting to get in the industry that are better looking than me. I know I am talented, and a damn good actor. I am vain about my work, not about superficial things. I am not vain about being called the next big thing or a chick magnet. If a certain actress says, ‘I like Ranbir Kapoor’s work’ I am vain about that, but if a certain actress says, ‘I find Ranbir Kapoor sexy’ I find that stupid.

You are working again with Deepika, is it going to be awkward?
Not at all. She has moved in life, I have moved on in mine. We are in a very positive place. We are not best friends, but healthy conversation happens when we meet or speak on the phone.

No residual feelings?
Well, you don’t come into a movie thinking I am going to get with this person. Ayan (Mukherjee) felt Deepika was best choice for Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani. He asked me if I had a problem. I said no. I will never have a problem working with anybody. I will even work with a man if he dresses up like a woman because it’s my job. I am here to act. If I am doing a kissing scene and I am not feeling it, I still have to make it convincing. It’s an act. I have to be detached. It’s your job as an actor and you get paid lots of money is to make everything believable. I understand how important it is to have chemistry with an actress. I also understand the baggage Deepika and I carry coming into this film; there is a pre-conceived notion about us because of our relationship. That’s been a movie in itself. So I hope we can start afresh as two actors coming into this movie with fresh energies and make the love story of our generation.

It appears that after Deepika, you decided to stay away from a serious relationship. True?
I don’t know if it’s true, but I am not in a hurry to be in a relationship today. I realise the value of a relationship and commitment, but I am not frivolously dating. I’ve been very single; I’ve never been more single in my life! I work with glamorous actresses and I get linked to them, that’s about it. It never filters into real life. I am not looking for love, at the same time I am not-not looking for a relationship. If it comes organically, great. That’s the best way for it to happen. You cannot have an agenda that now I want to be in a relationship, and I am ready for it.

Over time, does the Friday fear get worse?
Right now there’s still time, it’s releasing on November 11…so maybe as we get closer I will feel it. I have given a lot to this film. Rockstar is special, so I’ll feel dejected if it doesn’t work. Right now I’m very excited but maybe when it’s out there for judgment I will get the jitters… when people say something bad about the film.

But no one will tell you bad things to your face
Thankfully, I have not surrounded myself by ‘yes’ people. I have friends around me who will tell me the truth.

Lets talk about Rockstar
It’s predominantly a classic love story and is the journey of this musician. In life, we all have that one person we deeply love, that person who has the ability to destroy you. That also makes you the person you are. Rockstar is about that person’s journey.

What about the film made you go through the depressed phase?
Not only me, I think all those attached to this film loved it so much and gave so much of ourselves to it that we became empty. After the film was over, we felt a void. I think I grew up, or at least I feel I did.

Happy with where you are professionally?
I am grateful. When I came into this industry, I got a lot of support from the media, the industry, the people, because I am from a certain family. All that propelled me into a place. Right now, I know I am at a stage of my career where I really have to prove myself. I really have to push the envelope. I’ve been hearing that I’m the ‘next superstar’ for quite some time. I think it’s high time I become that person. I can’t always have this expectation around me. If I don’t become that right now, then there’s something going wrong. I have lots more to achieve. I am quite detached from this ‘next best thing’ tag. It doesn’t mean anything unless you are the best thing. The ‘next best thing’ could be someone who comes right out of the blue and takes my place.

What was your personal expectation, when you started out?
When I started out, I didn’t realise what stardom is. For me, it was just the enjoyment of being in the movies, getting the chance to work with Sanjay Bhansali. My first film was a big disaster, so that also made me realize, ‘Okay, it’s not that easy. It’s not an easy job.’ I want to be the biggest star in this country, but I know how much time it takes. I know the body of work you are meant to do, the kind of sacrifices you are meant to make, and I am ready for it. Movies are right on top of my priority list. I don’t want to just achieve what a certain superstar in this country has achieved. I want to go much higher than that. I want act, direct and produce movies. I want to do a lot. It could sound like an immature statement right now because these are just words and unless I don’t back it up by some action it doesn’t make sense.

What does stardom mean to you?
I have seen stardom in my family. I have seen my father being a popular leading hero and I have seen him in that transitional phase, when he ceased to become the most important man on a set and became a character actor. When you sit at home after working hard for 30 years, it’s very hard. So I am not stupid and I know that yahaan chadthe suraj ko salaam karte hain. If you are popular, you will have people around you and everything you desire, and tomorrow if you are not, everyone will go away. You just need to have a life beyond films. You have to spend time with family, meet friends, and have people who will take you away from this reel world.

Your definition of success?
Respect, if you can earn that. Money has never been my drive. I have never had shortage of money in my life. My drive is to achieve more than what my grandfather achieved, to make a name for myself, to get rid of this ‘star son’ tag. I hope people will remember my work for my talent. It really irritates me when people say, ‘He’s been lucky…born with a silver spoon in his mouth.’ I have my own struggles. I don’t take my work for granted, I don’t have a chip on my shoulder.

Have you kept yourself real?
I am trying to. It’s a struggle, but I realize the value of it. Sometimes I lie on the bed and just scroll down my phone the contacts and am wonder who do to call, which friend to hang out with. You get so taken up by your work, that you stop hanging out friends and then it’s unfair to call them when you want to connect. It’s like using them.

Who keeps you grounded?
My parents, and my friends from my school days. I believe that humility is an artiste’s greatest virtue. I don’t take it seriously when people treat me like a star and praise me. Even now, when I go to a public place and see people crowd to see me, I think they are acting and that this is not right. That they are playing a game, and it’s bizarre.

Remember your first celebrity moment?
I was treated like a celebrity from the moment I was born. As a star son, you are the cynosure of everyone’s eyes right from school days, and you get used to it. I didn’t have a choice. My real celeb moment was when we were promoting Saawariya. I remember I had gone to Hyderabad, and when I came out of the theatre suddenly all these young women pounced on me and tore my clothes. I got really scared, and Sonam who with me, started crying. It was really weird. Of course, I enjoyed it. I mean these are the things you strive for when you want to become an actor. You want to win a Filmfare award, sing songs in Switzerland, endorse Pepsi, and get your clothes torn!