Ranbir Kapoor is a man of many dreams for many people. A star in his own right, Ranbir has carved a niche for himself on the screen where you won’t see him doing meaningless action in films or going gaga about being the people’s ‘hero’. His characters don’t have the typical macho characteristics.
Ahead of the release of his next, Jagga Jasoos, which also features Katrina Kaif, he talks to InUth. Unlike his other industry counterparts, he does not look energetic or over enthusiastic. But, once he starts speaking, you can sense his emotional involvement in each word he speaks. His answers are meaningful and give an insight into the kind of calm person he seems to be from inside.
Here, he talks about Jagga Jasoos, his other film choices, influence from father Rishi Kapoor, relationship with Katrina, his own self and more. Excerpts:
3 years Ranbir? That’s how long the film was being made. Just what kept you going on?
I think the core story of the film we all believed in. It was Dada, Anurag Basu’s vision. He was trying to make something which will really push the barriers of genres, of style, of entertainment. We were in love with the story, with the treatment of the film. It was a true blue musical. It was a film which was meant to be a musical film for children, parents, their parents. I think the passion of just making this film alive kept us going.
But, you are also associated with the film as a producer as well. Was that an additional reason?
It’s that too. But, I was prepared for it because I had worked with Dada in a film called Barfi and that’s his style of working. He works under chaos, he takes time. He really kind of surrenders to the film, which can be really hard for the actors. Actors are insecure. They want the film to finish fast. They want to know what they are doing. But, at the end, he really makes such good films that he is granted how much time he needs.
There’s this slight observation about your film choices and script sense, that in this era where every second actor wants to do larger than life life action on screen and present himself as ‘Bollywood’s macho hero,’ you are choosing scripts where you are comfortable being vulnerable on screen, with those henna-clad hands, Ranbir. What triggers you to choose these kinds of films which are emotionally heavy and present you as vulnerable?
To be honest, there’s no formula to it. If I like the story, if I feel the director has to say something through the story, I am on. And once I am on, I am surrendered to the part. I always prefer the under hero. I don’t like the larger than life hero. I like a hero whose deeds will be heroic. It could be really something small. But, what he does will make a change in the society, will make people happy. That’s the kind of cinema I have a natural instinct towards.
Or is it also because of Rishi sir. In the era where every second actor was trying to fight for the love, to get the girl, he came up with something like Prem Rog where he was comfortable giving away his love. So, is that also an influence somewhere?
I don’t think so. I think my choices and my movies and the characters I’ve chosen to play have solely come from me. It’s not an inspiration from somebody else, from my father or my grandfather of any other actor in the industry. These are my choices because my gut tells me to be a part of them. And I would like to take credit for it. I would also like to take credit for my failures. I have chosen certain films like Besharam, which were designed around a formula. And I think a formula never works in the industry. When you are in the field of art, it’s what naturally your instinct goes towards and what you can express best through. So, I’ve chosen these parts may be because I thought I could express myself better in these parts. But, I haven’t designed it. Like whatever came my way, I’ve chosen the best of it.
Are you telling me that it comes naturally to you?
Yes, I would like to believe that.
Now that Katrina is not here with us, I would like to ask you… that I’ve been watching your interviews and there’s this love and hate relationship that you guys have been enjoying. In one of the interviews, I realised that Katrina knows you so well that even when you were doing this (playing with your fingers), she claimed that you were not there in the interview and you were not paying enough attention. Can you also claim to know her that well?
Absolutely, I have known Katrina now for 8 years. She has been such a positive influence in my life, professionally and personally. And we don’t have a love-hate relationship. Our relationship has always been like this Tom and Jerry where we are constantly fighting, bickering with each other. But, there’s a lot of love and respect behind that. There’s no malice, there’s no negativity. Sometimes, it’s misconstrued by the media. Sometimes, headlines are made out of things which are said in jest. But, there’s nothing like that. We both are also very hard working. We have supported this film for 3 and a half year. We have had two successful films before this — Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani and Rajneeti. We are hoping that we are third time lucky with this film.
How difficult or easy is it for you say that you have seen Katrina evolving as an actress and as a person as well?
I think we both have evolved. The core person doesn’t change. You do evolve as both an actor and a person. From what she was in Ajab (Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Ki Kahani) or Rajneeti, she’s very different in Jagga Jasoos. She is easier, she was more hyper back then. She isn’t more rehearsed in Jagga Jasoos because Dada doesn’t like rehearsals. He likes improvising, he likes to break patterns and preconceived notions. That’s hard for Katrina but she surrendered herself to the process. And that was very heartening to see. Katrina is such a major movie star in our country, but to struggle and really try to fit into Dada’s vision is very hard. I had to go through that process in Barfi. She did the same very effortlessly.
In the trailer and in fact in Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani too, you are stammering. Didn’t it come across to you, at any point, that it might upset a section of people or it might come across as insensitive to some?
I have always maintained in all the films I’ve done, even in Barfi, I played deaf and mute and we got so much love and respect from the deaf and mute society. I meet so many deaf and mute people around the world, they give me so much of love and affection. I am not that kind of an actor who will be insensitive. I understand that films reach a larger audience. We have the power to spread awareness. So, even if I am doing a character like Jagga and stammering in it, we are not making fun of it. It’s a disability and we are showing that even with a disability like a stammer, you can overcome and be successful in life and be a winner. That’s why we got the idea of singing, because Pritam (Chakraborty), the composer in the film, he is such a great composer, he stammers. But, when he sings, he doesn’t stammer. That’s where Dada got inspired from. It’s not making fun of anyone or cause any harm.
Best memory about Jagga Jasoos… one with Katrina and one whatever you want to share.
I think shooting in Pai. There’s a place called Pai in Thailand. I remember me and Katrina had to drive a scooter to go everywhere because it’s a really small street. And because we are actors and we can’t move around that freely in cities in India, in Pai, we were going around markets and nobody could recognise us, we could just be ourselves.
About the film, the first day of the shoot… I wore the school outfit and the glasses and the hairstyle, I really felt new. I felt different, I felt like Jagga. So that was an important day for me.
Who is Ranbir Kapoor today, and where is he going from here?
That’s a deep question… (Thinks)
I don’t know who I am. I am somebody else and I don’t want to realise who I am till the last few years of my life. I constantly want to have that struggle. I don’t want to be very skilled in anything. I want to be raw. I want to make mistakes. I want to fall. I want to fail. And it’s just in the pursuit of being a good person. The love I have for movies… I want to do something for cinema, I want to direct films, to act. At this moment in my life, talking to you, I am happy. I am happy with my life. I don’t have regrets. I don’t have guilt.
Is Ranbir a content person?
I am free. I am free from the baggage of the world. I think to be free is a luxury today. I am free of all of that.
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