Chasing Ranbir Kapoor these days is more difficult than chasing your ex-girlfriend. It took me 48 hours, 10 text messages and close to a dozen phone calls to finally share our common passion – nespresso, in his personally designed new vanity van filled with some of his favorite movies. Then of course, there are those famous FC Barcelona flip-flops neatly kept under his hair and make up trolley and ‘The King of Oil’ – Secret Lives of Marc Rich by Daniel Ammann kept on his side table for his leisure read. To give him company, his mini fridge is stacked up with Diet Pepsi and for those lazy hours, his Rockstar coffee mug stands gracefully for that sip of nostalgia. You don’t need a reason to know why you like Ranbir Kapoor, but here’s a really petty one: He’s one of those actors who carries his ‘don’t-give-a-damn’ attitude, stuff their life to the brim and carry it off like it’s a fleck of dust on their shoulder. He works constantly. Always has. Then he tells me, “I spend more time in my vanity than at home”, and after ordering my nespresso, he continues, “Out of the five days we celebrate Ganesh puja at home, I was there only for 2 days and I had to miss our RK Studio Ganesh visarjan too.” And in the midst of all this, he reckons that everything is fine. It’s hard to imagine Ranbir on a movie junket, where stars are installed in a suite and journalists queue to question them for a maximum of around eleven minutes or so, timed by a PR with a stopwatch. But the truth is – The man is surreal. He’ll always give you more than you’ve ever wanted – be it his time in person or his performance in movies. Sure, there’s the affable, charming young actor whose name crops up every now and then – the one you’ve come to know in the gossip pages, at a near by pub with friends, at family gatherings or at some girl’s bachelorette party. And then there’s this other guy, the one I know. The one who’s a little more shy yet a bit Besharam. He’s much more interesting. I call him our National Treasure.
Presenting you Part 1 of our special interview with Ranbir Kapoor.
The way your vanity is designed, it must be inspiring.
To be honest, I spend more time in my vanity than at home. Instead of having those boring white walls in the vanity, I decided to make some art and retro posters of some of my favourite movies. There is this artist in the U.S who does retro designs of big films. I told the art designer of Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Amrita, and she did the rest.
You crossed all Besharmi by dropping your towel in your debut film. So now how do you associate Ranbir being a Besharam and yet being so rooted after being tagged now as the superstar to look forward to?
(Laughs) Yes, I did drop it, didn’t I? I think I am in a great space in my life right now. I love my life, I love the work I do, the people I am associated with and whatever happens with it – be it my gossips and link ups, it’s a part and parcel of the fame and glamour that comes along. All our lives we as actors wait to be written about and spoken about and when we are finally being spoken about and written about we hate it. It’s not something that I hate. Media isn’t besharam. They are just doing their job. I am extremely grateful to them for where I am today. I believe in being rooted and that’s what I was taught by my parents. As for superstar, I will be a bit besharam and say I will be the best one day.
Every actor has this psychology that they want to do movies to earn money and fame and then there is that one movie they do because their heart tells them to do so. What was Besharam slotted in?
Every film that I do, I do it from the heart. God has been kind. Lot of people want to work with me, lots of scripts have come to me and I try and filter in and do the best that I can connect with – be it a director or a script. When Abhinav Kashyap came to me with the script of Besharam, I liked the simplicity of it. I liked his approach because he didn’t want to give any moralistic classes to the audience. He wanted to make a masala entertainer. At the same time the character was very vulgar, repulsive, somebody who you do mind having around, but through the course of the film you will get along with him. And yes, this word Besharam isn’t associated to removing your clothes and bad mouthing anybody. Besharam is attitude. It’s like listening to what your heart says and nothing else and being besharam about it. I liked the entire world that he created in Dabangg and wanted to work with him since then. So yes, all these facets drew me to take my hearty decision and saying yes to the role.
Was there a sense of nostalgia while you were working with your parents in one frame because years ago in Shree 420 and in a few more movies like Kal Aaj Aur Kal, etc we did see a son sharing screen space with his father and grandfatherâ€¦
You know, I’ve always wanted to work with my father in a movie. I’ve been a big fan of his. But thankfully and fortunately, we all have our individual personalities and choices. So when Besharam script came to me, I was the first one to be cast in it. But the writer wrote the cop role keeping in mind my father. I was hoping that the role would fall in his lap. I don’t think my father will do a film because I am in it. He loved the script, the space and his character. Then one day when Abhinav came home, he told me that it will make more sense and fun if Chulbul Chautala (Dad) had a wife called Bulbul Chautala (Mom). My mother also loved the script and her role. So yes, we all came together in one film thanks to the merit of the script and the vision of Abhinav Kashyap. We didn’t come as a family package. I truly believe that my mother is a surprise package of this film. You know my mother’s personality. I mean, she’s playing one cunning and corrupt cop that it really doesn’t go with how she is in real life (laughs). To pull that with so much sincerity and with that comic touch is commendable. My parents’ dynamics is the most interesting part of Besharam.
Do you at all get taken aback as an artist / performer, when you see Rishi Kapoor or Neetu Kapoor act so effortlessly?
It’s so strange because when I was working with my father and I would see him act in front of me, I was like – He isn’t doing much. It doesn’t seem like he is putting in too much of effort. But he puts in so much effort in his mind to look effortless. But when I see it on screen, it makes so much sense. He is a gifted actor. For me, it was a great learning experience. We young actors come with a baggage of notions that acting is this, that etc, and sometimes even intellectualize it. For my dad, it’s just about being spontaneous, straight from the heart and being passionate. This morning when we were having breakfast together and leaving in our individual cars for promotion of Besharam, I could see he was ten times more excited than I was, inspite of working for forty years. That shows on screen. I respect his dedication and that’s a great learning curve for me.
Is Ranbir Kapoor consumed by movies?
Yes I am consumed by movies. I breathe movies. But I am also a fan of movies. I can see myself out of movies and inside the movies too. I have grown up watching all kinds of cinema and not just Hindi movies. I watch a lot of foreign language films too besides watching Hollywood movies. And of course, a bit of regional cinema. If you ask me, I am living in Disneyland right now. I am surrounded by movies. I love this place. I am getting paid for something that I am having fun with. I really feel blessed and lucky doing this job as a hired actor.
How do you balance a Barfi with a Besharam?
I am not charting out or maping my career in that sense. Whatever comes to me, whatever appeals to me, whichever directors I connect with or I like. The fact that the director is trying to say something, I connect to it. I didn’t think that I did Barfi and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, so right now I should also do a Besharam. All of this is happening by chance and my instincts. I didn’t do Barfi because I thought it was an art film. I did it because I felt it was a commercial film that doesn’t get made every year. It probably didn’t have avenues to release on a larger scale. There is more interest in Besharam because the trade thinks it’s more appealing to a larger number of audiences. The difference is from a producers approach. My approach to every character or a film offered to me is not that this film is art or a commercial film. I see films as films, characters as characters and I think Babli in Besharam is as exciting as Bunny from Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani.
I recall you telling me in your car before the release of Barfi – “I too want to be a part of the 100 crore club”. Look where you are now. Has all this made you a better businessman too?
No. Not at all and I hope it never does. I get to know the numbers from my colleagues working in the industry and a few trade analysts. But honestly, I am the same post Saawariya. When Saawariya was a big disaster and when Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani was a big hit, I think the feeling has still been the same. The fact that I am still doing movies! 100 crores for me is that more people are watching my movies now than they were before, which is a great sign. It motivates me more and inspires me. I don’t have expectations from Besharam. It may do 10 crores, 100 crores or 150 crores. If you make a good film with good intentions and an engaging one, every film will do well. You have to be honest to what you are making.
Part 2 of the Ranbir Kapoor special continues where he talks about the future of RK Studios, his debut as a Producer and his Future and much more. Watch this space!