Ranbir Kapoor is certainly the ‘Man of the Moment’. Anybody and everybody who has seen his latest flick Rockstar can’t stop gushing about his performance in the film. A lot of critics have gone on to say that he is without a doubt the finest actor of this generation. Be it as the wannabe Janardhan Jakhad or the angst ridden Rockstar Jordan, Ranbir mesmerizes you and leaves you thinking long after the lights have been turned on. Bollywood Hungama‘s Nikhil Ramsubramaniam caught up with Ranbir for a free-wheeling chat where the actor spoke about Box office figures, audience feedback, critics’ views and the best compliment he received for Rockstar. Read onâ€¦
Rockstar has had a phenomenal opening weekend (appx Rs. 34 cr nett) How satisfied are you with these figures?
I am just satisfied with the experience of working in this film with a filmmaker like Imtiaz. Initial figures do generate a lot of curiosity these days but it’s important for the film to sustain in the long run. Having said that, it feels great that the hard work has been appreciated. There has been a mixed response to the film but that’s ok as people are entitled to their opinion. When we made this film, we knew it pretty well that not everyone is going to like it. In spite of that the film has got a tremendous opening weekend which shows that people are giving it a dekko.
Of late, every big film aims to enter the much talked about 100 cr club. Does this whole talk about aiming for the 100 cr club put pressure on you?
Not at all. I do want my movies to make that much of money but at the end of the day only mass-friendly films do that kind of business. I would be happy if Rockstar reaches close to that figure but it doesn’t put any pressure on me. I am not trying to compete with anyone except myself. I am fully aware of the choices I make and just to reach a certain number I don’t think I’d like to change the kind of movies I want to do.
Every single person who has seen the film has unanimously praised your performance. How does you feel about that and do you think Rockstar is your best work till date?
I really wish and pray that I can keep beating my own best performance with each film of mine. People thought I was really good in Saawariya, then they thought I was better in Wake Up Sid, then even better in Rocket Singh. People even liked me in films like Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani and Raajneeti and now I am glad that they like me in Rockstar as well. This film has been an extremely satisfying experience for me and I must share the credit for all the appreciation I receive with Imtiaz because he has worked very hard in conceiving the character the way you see it on screen.
The film seems to have caught on more with the youth and in the multiplexes of metros rather than in the single screens. Your commentsâ€¦
Yes that’s what the initial trends are showing but its still early days for the film. A film like this takes time to find an audience. We ourselves didn’t know what the target audience would be while making the film. I am not saying it’s a film only for the youth, I know of people in their fifties and sixties who have enjoyed the film and got something out of it. I only hope more and more people see the film in the days to come.
A lot of people and even a few critics have had reservations about the post interval portionsâ€¦what’s your take on that?
I believe that you cannot dissect a movie in 2 halves. We need an interval because of the duration of our films and the need for a refreshment break or a loo break. But a film is a film in totality. I have never been able to categorise a film into first half and second half. Having said that, a movie is a piece of art and its now out there to compliment or criticize as the case may be. We will happily take whatever response we get.
Imtiaz’s story telling and narrative follows a very non-linear pattern. Do you think a simpler storytelling pattern would have helped in getting more appreciation from the audience?
Not reallyâ€¦This was how Imtiaz wrote the screenplay right since the beginning. We were all aware of it. The audience today is quite intelligent and we don’t see any need in spoon-feeding the audience. We’ve tried something different and there are people who have complimented and liked the narrative flow of the film.
You are fabulous in each and every frame of the film, if you have to pick out the scene which was toughest to perform which would it be?
The toughest scene would be the whole ‘Sadda Haq‘ phase cos it’s not the kind of person I am. I really had to work had to bring out the angst in Jordan’s character. ‘Naadaan Parindey‘ was also quite a challenging sequence. But I really had a lot of fun doing the college sequences which appear at the beginning of a film. I really felt like a wannabe student who is trying to be a Rockstar but doesn’t know how to get there.
How was it doing that special tribute to Shammiji in the form of the famous ‘Yeh Chand Sa Roshan Chehra‘ song from Kashmir Ki Kali?
It was amazing. I remember Imtiaz and I saw the original video at least 1000 times the night before trying to figure out how to get the right feel. While it looked simple, Shammi Kapoor’s finer nuances and his expressions in the original song are simply phenomenal. I called Shammiji the morning of the shoot and he said, “Don’t try to mimic me. Just do it your way with a smile, sing loudly and go all out and romance the heroine.”
Your chemistry with Nargis is simply electrifying. Even though she has done pretty well for a newcomer, a lot of people feel a seasoned actress would have worked better for the film. What do you have to say to that?
I thought we are blessed to have Nargis in the film. You need to understand that the character of Heer is a very evolved woman. It’s not very easily acceptable to our society. I think the way she has pulled it off for her first film is quite remarkable. In fact a lot of credit for my performance also should go to her as she complimented me so well. I think she has done an amazing job and with time people would realize that
People seem to have liked the supporting cast as well especially Kumud Mishra and Piyush Mishra. How was it working with them?
Kumudji has been one of the favourite people on the set. He is so modest, so much fun to be with and I think he got the character of Khatana bhai by the ball. Be it the way he combs his hair, or the way he has applied powder around his neck or his dialect, it’s the finer nuances which make it a memorable character. Piyush Mishra is funny as hell. I remember during the ‘tel maalish‘ scene, Piyushji was in his underwear with oil all over his body and he shot for almost 8 hours in the scorching hot sun without any complaints. After pack up, I told him I am a professional acupuncturist and gave him acupuncture on his feet and started putting needles on his feet. I had a blast working with him.
And what about the female supporting cast comprising of Aditi Rao Hydari and Shernaz Patelâ€¦
I think it’s brave of Aditi to take on a role like this as it’s not your quintessential lead heroine’s role. She looked every part the journalist and played her character with a lot of honesty and sincerity. I really look forward to watching her in more films and hope to work with her again in the future.
I have worked with Shernaz in Black when I was in AD and she has always been very warm towards me. Whenever she sees any film of mine she has been kind enough to send me a sweet text message. I think she is by far the most beautiful woman I have seen as her face has that aura of positivity which reflects on screen. It’s been amazing to work with her.
Rahman’s music is one of the pillars of the film and the music seems to have a more profound effect on you once you watch the film. Your commentsâ€¦
Rahman sir went with the character and the film’s narrative while composing the music. Just because the title is Rockstar he didn’t go all out trying to show off. Imtiaz also paid a lot of attention to the music as he felt it’s as good as a character in the film and I am glad that people are now loving the music of the film.
With this performance, are you looking forward to sweep all the Best Actor awards next year?
Awards are a form of people honouring and appreciating your work but it’s not something you think about while making a film. I have been quite blessed to win quite a few awards as a debutant for Saawariya. It surely feels nice when you win an award but it’s not something I am chasing. If they feel I deserve to win, I am more than happy.
What kind of compliments have you received from people within the industry?
People from the industry have been really amazing. Mr. Amitabh Bachchan wrote me a hand written note, Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar saab called me at 3 in the morning congratulating me, Yashji has called me twice already appreciating my work, Raju Hirani too had good things to say. Though I am not on Twitter, I have heard that a lot of people from the industry have been appreciating the film and my work. These are the people whom I have grown up watching and for them to say such nice things is really heart-warming.
Your folks saw the film at a special screening. How did your mom and dad like your act this time around?
My mom has seen the film 3-4 times and is amazingly moved by it. My father called me after watching the film. I was really nervous to even pick up the phone. But when I did, all he said was, “I wish your grandfather was alive to see this performance of yours”. That’s the best compliment I guess and something which I will cherish forever.
Finally your next release Barfee too has you playing an unconventional roleâ€¦yet another challenge up your sleeve?
Every film should be a challenge and something different. Barfee is a fun film, it’s a romantic comedy set in the 70s. I play a Mr. Bean kind of a character so it’s a different genre and hopefully you can see a different side to me.