Ranvir Shorey: I am a very cool daddy
It comes as a big surprise for an actor, who's had many acclaimed performances to his credit, to state that he is still struggling to make a mark in the industry.
But that's the truth Ranvir Shorey lets us privy to and appears quite relieved that one of his films Fatso is finally seeing the light of day after being in the pipelines for nearly three years!
The actor talks to Sonil Dedhia about his career, why he's still struggling at 40, and how he loves to spend time with his son.
What does it feel like being a father?
Fatherhood has changed me a lot. I don't think I have changed all these years as much as I did in the last one year. And this is all because of my son. I used to worry about becoming a father. But now, after becoming one, I am very happy.
What kind of a father are you?
I am not a serious daddy. I am a very cool daddy.
Earlier, I used to go out after work, hit a pub, have a couple of drinks and spend time with friends. Today, after the shoot is over, I go straight home to spend time with my son. He is too much fun.
I love changing nappies, playing with him, putting him to sleep.
Image: Ranvir Shorey with his son Haroon
'Konkona possesses some of the best qualities of a mother'
You have seen Konkona Sen Sharma as a friend, co-actor, and wife. How is she as a mother?
She has this no-nonsense attitude to her work and it's the same as a mother. She likes to do things correctly and very precisely, which is one the best qualities a mother can possess.She is a very good mother.
Amitabh Verma, who made Antardwand, was planning to make a film with you and Konkona...
Unfortunately, that is not happening. We are doing a film together called Gour Hari Dastan directed by Anant Mahadevan.
It's a biopic about a freedom fighter. Vinay Pathak is playing the lead role and Konkona plays his wife. We are not paired opposite each other.
Image: Ranvir Shorey and Konkona Sen Sharma
Photographs: Rediff Archive
'I have decided never ever to put on weight again'
Did you really put on weight for Fatso?
Yes, I had to put on 18 kilos.
When we started preparing for the film, we realised that we could create the fat look on my stomach but we didn't have the money to buy good prosthetics to cover my arms, neck and face.
I have always been a skinny guy so Rajat Kapoor (director of Fatso) didn't want me to look like a potato on a toothpick (Smiles). It took me seven to eight months to put on the weight.
That must have added to your food bills!
Since I was shooting for Chandni Chowk To China, most of the bills were taken care of by Fox Star!
We were shooting in Thailand and I would wake up every morning and instead of drinking tea or coffee, I would open a can of beer. I would eat rice, potatoes, ice creams, five times a day.
When I started this process, I was 72 kilos and it was enjoyable till I reached 80 kilos. It was a pain to put on weight beyond that, because I would eat continuously and put on just half a kilo.
At 80 kilos, I was getting panic attacks as the due date for Fatso was approaching. Adding the last 10 kilos was hell!
Image: Ranvir Shorey in Fatso
'It's frustrating when my films get stuck'
How did you loose the weight?
I still have around two kilos to lose. You can see my paunch.
After I finished shooting for the film, I joined Kalaripayattu (a south Indian martial art form) for a year, which helped a lot. I also started doing yoga, which helped me maintain a healthy body.
What was easier, putting on weight or losing it?
I would say losing weight was more fun.
I have decided never ever to put on weight again. Not even if Francis Ford Coppola were to offer me a role in exchange for putting on 25 kilos!Fatso was stuck for a long time.
My films normally have a gestation period of two to three years (Laughs).
On a serious note, it bothers me a lot. It is very frustrating. It takes all my good up-bringing to keep myself under check. I don't carry this everywhere. I don't complain to my friends and crib about it. It's a part of my life and I have to move on.
Image: A scene from Fatso
'Nobody wants to cast me in lead roles'
Are you happy with the kind of films that have come your way?
I am not getting the kind of roles that I would like to do. I am definitely not getting the attention.
In Hollywood, they appreciate talent more than the star connections. Here, it's just the connections that work.
You mentioned in an interview that the only reason you took up small roles in big banner films was in the hope of attracting the attention of other directors.
My point was that all the resources are channelled towards the star system. Either you are a star actor or filmmaker or you are related to some big star.
There are so many talented people who are not getting to showcase their potential. I find it a little strange.
It is not like I don't want to do lead roles in mainstream films with big budgets, but nobody wants to cast me there. They want to cast me only in supporting roles, maybe because I started off that way.
Image: Ranvir Shorey
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar
'I am still a struggling actor'
But you are working for Yash Raj Films again in Ek Tha Tiger.
Yes, Ek Tha Tiger is my second film with them (after Aaja Nachle) but they haven't offered me a lead role.
On the other hand, there are braver people like Rajat Kapoor or Saurabh Shukla, who have managed to cast me in the lead role. There are a few people who have shown faith in me.
I hope more filmmakers will take a chance. I am not complaining, but simply stating a fact when asked why I am I not seen in more meaty roles and in big productions.
So do you feel you haven't got your due?
Even at 40, I am still a struggling actor. In our industry, star kids are given opportunities. There is no dearth of films for them.
I have done films like Ugly Aur Pagli and Mithya for which I was appreciated. But here am I, finding it difficult even to get my films released. I am not getting a chance to prove myself.
I started off not wanting to be an actor, but to be a filmmaker. Acting happened to me by chance.
Now that I am in the game, I feel there is so much more I can do, in terms of the films I am offered, how I am cast, how my films are projected and marketed.
Image: A scene from Fatso