Excerpts from the interview
You had a couple of cameos in 2014. But Roy is your first release in quite a while. How does it feel?
Well it feels great. Bombay Velvet was supposed to be released last year but because of certain reasons it was pushed back and Roy was released first. I don’t strategically plan my films and releases; I am extremely proud of every film that I have done. The cameo I did in Pk was decided just a week before the film was out; they wanted to shoot that particular scene. But yeah it feels great. I feel like a virgin again. Your anxiety, your stress, your excitement, everything builds up.
How was it like working with Arjun (Rampal) after Raajneeti?
I’ll get to the back story first. I think the first time I met him was at a party where we discussed Raajneeti and I didn’t know what the script was and he said “Oh you’re going to have so much fun”. And then we went our separate ways and finally we met in Bhopal. Katrina, Arjun and I were one gang and Ajay sir, Manoj Bajpai, Prakashji and Nanaji were the other gang. But Arjun and I had become great friends since then; we don’t really keep in touch every day since as actors you get so busy with your own lives and work. But whenever we meet we pick off from wherever we left last time. He’s a good actor, a great guy and I’ve always had a huge crush on him too! (laughs) He was always so good looking; he still is.
We all know that you’re a versatile actor. From Barfi to your Bachna Ae Haseeno Casanova image, Roy was something very new, you played a mysterious thief. What was the experience like?
It’s not just about the type of role; the entire experience was new to me. Because I don’t think I could refer to any other actor while approaching a role like this. I’m not saying that I’ve done good or bad in the film, but it’s always exciting for every actor to try something new so that you don’t get bored. When I do films like Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, to be honest, that’s very boring. It’s not boring but it’s like you have to play that common guy and look good. You have to dance and do these things. I mean woh hamara roti kapda makaan hai. To do that part you know; that’s what people really want to see you as. But it’s always exciting to do new parts and work with new ideas.
There is a lot of mystery around your character in Roy. Even Jacqueline shared that you’re quite the introvert and you take time to open up. Is that the real Ranbir that probably we’ve not seen? Are you really mysterious?
Mysterious? I don’t know. I mean I’m shy, it does take me time. It takes me a couple of days to warm up and then I’m pretty much like this.
The social media campaign that you went on to promote Roy on Twitter, etc., did it really change your perception?
Actually no, that was for a brand that I endorsed, Lenovo. It was an ad that we were doing and they wanted to do something with social media. There were many people controlling different things but I don’t know too much about how to operate social media. That was it. That was for the brand Lenovo which was a phone that they were launching.
Did it anyhow change your mind about coming and being active on social media like other film stars are?
You know, I have nothing against social media. I think it’s a useful platform to really express yourself. But I just share a different point of view. I feel that anyway too much is being spoken about you as an actor; you have to do so many films, you promote films. So the word mystery is anyway dying. I think the longevity of every actor is cut short; people are getting bored of you. So I think, if you can hold back as much of yourself as you can, the audience won’t get fed up of you.
What if your fans want to know more about you?
Well I would love them to know me through my movies. Not like what I ate for breakfast or where I am taking a piss. It’s very important that they like me for my work.
Who is that one person that you’ve looked up to, admired and wanted to work with?
I think my father. He’s always been my favourite actor and I had the opportunity to work with him in a film called Besharam which you guys haven’t seen. I look up to him; he’s taller than me (laughs).
Is it more challenging for a newcomer to come and make their place in this industry?
As a newcomer? No I think that the film industry is a very welcoming place. You just have to recognise the opportunity. But if you have the opportunity then you have to work hard. There is a false perception that to become an actor all you have to do is work out, learn horse-riding and do some stunts. But I think that there is a lot beyond that. There is a certain sense of intelligence and choice and a certain sense of your own emotional memory that you have to somehow put into your work. So you have to recognise that. I think that we’ve seen an influx of so many actors in the last 3 years. Before there were like 6-7 heroes and today suddenly there are like 14-15 heroes, and so many actresses – which is a great thing.So I guess the film industry’s really changing and moving forward.
Is there any role that you regretted playing or a film that you regretted doing?
There are no regrets. I think whatever I am today and whatever I hope to achieve, it’s all an amalgamation of what I’ve done. My debut film Saawariya was a big disaster, but it gave me so much, it grounded me so much and it prepared me. I think that every failure is very important; if you don’t face failure then you really won’t strive for success.
What are the most challenging things in the movie that actually might take you out of your comfort zone?
My process as an actor involves my spending a lot of time with the director trying to understand the part. You have to do the groundwork and your homework before you come on set because time is money when you’re on set. You can’t really take 3 hours to figure out a shot. At the end of the day filmmaking is not just art, there are a lot of people involved and there’s a lot of money involved, so you have to be organised, you have to be fast, and you have to be intelligent. I don’t think that there’s anything hard as such, I think that understanding the part itself takes about 1 or 2 days. And once you’re in it, you’re just in it.
If you have to select one of your movies in which you can say that it featured your finest acting, which one would it be?
I don’t think any actor can answer that question, because I cringe when I see myself on screen.There are so many mistakes that you see of yourself. So I would say that it’s yet to come. I still have a lot of good parts to do.
Do you share any resemblance in real life to the characters you have played on screen in your movies?
I think there are two characters in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and Wake Up Sid which I can relate to I have been there at that place in that situation sometime in my life. So yeah, those two are the only characters that I relate to, but those are also really hard because when you have the crutches of a character, or of a rockstar, then it’s easier to play. When you have just an urban boy living in contemporary times then it’s harder because you don’t have anything to hold on to. You just have to be charming, you have to be engaging and you have to be good.
You’ve worked with Arjun (Rampal) in two movies. What’s the one thing which you have learned from his stint as an actor?
One thing that I really admire and I saw in Raajneeti was that when Arjun’s acting, he may have a lot of thoughts and discussions, but whatever he does, he makes sure that it’s believable. I don’t think he’d do anything without being convinced himself. If he doesn’t do it, he won’t go ahead with it. And I think that’s one of the greatest gifts an actor has, because if you have that quality in you, you’ll always be a good actor because you won’t do something which isn’t believable.
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