Ranveer: I am scared of losing my position in the industry
'I am trying to wrap my head around stardom. I was never prepared for it because I didn’t grow up around famous people.'
'I am used to being the centre of attention in a social space, but not at the level where if I do a chivalrous thing like escorting a lady out, it becomes national news.'
Ranveer Singh gets candid about his life, his women, his films, and his latest film, Gunday.
Ranveer Singh is one of the most sought-after actors in the industry today -- among filmmakers, as well as the heroines he works with.
He's been romantically linked with co-stars like Anushka Sharma and more recently, Deepika Padukone.
Ranveer claims his reputation of a Casanova annoys him.
"There was a time when people were just writing about my personal life and no one spoke about my work. That affected my work," he admits.
He confesses that the success of Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela went to his head but he's now keenly awaiting the release of his next film, Gunday.
Ranveer discusses his equation with Deepika, the camaraderie he shares with co-star Arjun Kapoor and why he was disappointed with the awards season. Sonil Dedhia listens in.
You are perceived as something of a lady’s man and stories about Deepika and you make headlines. Does that affect your work?
It did, last year. I was not happy with the situation at all. I have decided not to be so vocal about my personal life now.
At one point of time, people were only writing about that. No one was talking about my work.
It's crazy because I'm here to be an actor, not to be famous.
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Image: Ranveer Singh in Gunday
'If I do a chivalrous thing like escorting a lady out, it becomes national news'
Are you saying you aren't able to handle stardom?
I am trying to wrap my head around stardom. I was never prepared for it because I didn’t grow up around famous people.
I didn't know what it was like to deal with the menace of camera phones.
People focused on everything except on what I was here to do. I was new, so I didn’t know what to say or do in interviews.
I am used to being the centre of attention in a social space, but not at the level where if I do a chivalrous thing like escorting a lady out, it becomes national news. It’s preposterous.
Do you think stardom will change you as a person?
I can’t deny that it will have some effect. But I have come to this industry to become an actor. I guess I just have to keep on acting and the rest is just peripheral stuff.
A lot of good things started happening after Ram-Leela. Phones starting ringing to perform at live events, for endorsements -- the whole business aspect started running for me and everything looked so good.
Then I got a lecture from a friend before I started shooting for my next film Kill Dil. He told me that my head wasn't in the game any more and I needed to focus on acting again.
He told me that I should spend more time with scripts. I am glad he did that.
Today, I have turned over a new leaf and am now newly obsessed with things like dialogue rehearsals and honing my dance moves. I'm really missing being on a film set and am itching to go back.
Image: Arjun Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Ranveer Singh in Gunday
'Deepika holds a special significance in my life'
What is your equation with Deepika today?
Deepika holds a special significance in my life. She is somebody I respect and admire, somebody whom I have grown close to.
We are friends and we hang out. I hang out with other people as well, but they are not as famous as her.
I enjoy her company.
Did you ever have to justify to your co-stars when something was written or said about you?
Never. When I was new to the game and wasn't used to being written about in a negative light, it used to upset me and my parents for weeks.
I finally learned to cut down that time to three days, a day, an hour, a minute and finally to not thinking about it.
Image: Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh
Photographs: Abhijit Mhamunkar
'Arjun and I share the same passion -- women, Hindi films, and filmmaking'
In your latest film Gunday, you share screen space with Arjun Kapoor. Were you insecure about him taking away the limelight?
I think the whole world is insecure at some level. I must be insecure at some level but I’d like to believe that I’m not.
As an artist, I am confident about my own abilities. I have never been greedy to dominate the space in any films I have done so far. I think it's an old school thought that the hero has to be the centre of the ecosystem and everything has to be built around him.
For me, the director and character should be exciting. I don’t think any character or any actor is above the film.
Gunday is about two friends. The movie showcases the bond between them and therefore, I would, as Bikram (his character in Gunday), hope for the best for Bala (Arjun Kapoor’s character) and he would do the same for me.
You share amazing chemistry with Arjun Kapoor.
I couldn’t have hoped for a better co-star. We wanted to work together and we got the opportunity early in our careers.
Arjun and I are born 10 days apart. We share the same passion -- women, Hindi films, and filmmaking.
We are completely opposite to the characters that we play in the film. He is more reserved and, comparatively, I am very free-spirited.
Whenever we would party together and for every song, I'd get charged and tear up the dance floor, and he would be there by my side.
Image: Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh in Gunday
'We were told to approach our roles as Lakhan-Lakhan or Veeru-Veeru'
You say that Arjun and you share the same passion for women. In the film, both of you want the same girl (played by Priyanka Chopra). Have you both chased the same girl in real life?
Fortunately, we have not had that conflict. We do appreciate the same women. For instance, if we are in the same room and there's a hot girl present, our mental tuning is the same.
He knows that I’ve noticed and I know that he has too. We don’t even have to look at each other -- it’s understood. And if one of us hasn't, all we have to do is just nudge the other.
And if it did happen, would you walk away?
No, I would not!
Did you have to tone down your energy levels to match Arjun's?
Bikram and Bala are not Ram-Lakhan (Ram Lakhan) or a Jai-Veeru (Sholay) kind of duo.
We were told to approach our roles as Lakhan-Lakhan or Veeru-Veeru. They are equally boisterous and it's only when a conflict presents itself, that they react differently.
Bala approaches things on the front foot while Bikram will step back and assess the situation before doing anything.
Image: Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor in Gunday
'I would rate Lootera higher than Ram-Leela'
Lootera was critically acclaimed but was ignored at most of the award shows. Are you upset?
I can’t speak about my own performance, but it was disappointing that the technical team did not get its due.
It is arguable whether they should have won, but I think they deserved a nomination, particularly director Vikramaditya Motwane, cinematographer Mahindra Shetty and production designer Aditya Kanwar.
Lootera is one of the more technically superior films of Indian cinema and certainly, of last year.
It was also one of the best reviewed films of the year, joined later by The Lunchbox. Such a critically acclaimed film not getting nominations is surprising.
In my own personal estimation, and as an actor, I would rate Lootera higher than Ram-Leela because the latter role was easier for me to do.
There are times when I find the nominations and winners list at award functions questionable.
Are you disappointed that the awards don’t deliver?
I'm very confused about my stand on Indian awards. For me, awards season means live performances and a chance to be on stage and dance.
I love performing live. I also like that the fraternity comes together to appreciate each other's work.
Image: Ranveer Singh in Lootera
'Ranbir Kapoor is setting benchmarks with his performance'
You were among the first of the new wave of actors we are seeing.
The credit goes to Aditya Chopra. I think he realised that the industry was not favourable to producers as actors has started their own production houses and working for themselves.
I was lucky to get a break with Yash Raj Films at a time when there were no newcomers. It was a massively lucky break.
Aditya Chopra had this vision that the only way forward was to bring in new talent. Lineage did not always guarantee talent and people had to be launched on the basis of merit.
He took a big risk with me, launching a guy out of nowhere. He made a 20 crore film that clicked and suddenly all the producers started taking notice of it.
After me, we’ve had Arjun Kapoor, Sushant Singh Rajput, Aditya Roy Kapur and so many others who have entered the industry.
Do you see the actors you have just mentioned as competitors?
I think that Ranbir Kapoor is currently leading the pack of young actors, setting benchmarks of quality with his performances and the success of his films.
But he's had a headstart of a few years; the rest of us have just started out. Hopefully we’ll continue to do good films.
Healthy competition is a good thing as it will improve the quality of films. It’s a good time for our industry and it’s a very positive trend.
Image: Ranveer Singh and Ranbir Kapoor
Photographs: Abhijit Mhamunkar
'I have struggled a lot and sacrificed a lot of things in life'
You have achieved a lot of success in a very short span of time. Are you scared that one day, it will all be gone?
I dreamed of becoming an actor since I was a kid. I have struggled a lot and sacrificed a lot of things in life.
The industry is full of nepotism and I've been massively lucky to get the kind of break that I got. I really value the opportunity to work as an actor in mainstream Hindi cinema.
Am I scared of losing it and the position I’ve acquired of being considered for some of the best films being made out there? Yes, I am.
Recently you were in the news for roughing up a photographer at Ahana Deol's wedding…
It was completely false. The reception was done and we'd moved to a private space. I was having a good time when I noticed that there was a guy clicking away with a professional camera -- and he was not the official wedding photographer for whom I'd be happy to pose.
I started gesturing at him to stop but maybe he thought I was waving at him and kept on taking photos. I finally had to walk up to him and ask him to stop. The entire story was blown out of proportion.
Your wacky fashion sense has come under the scanner…
It depends on my mood. There are not many options for guys when it comes to formal wear and there are times when I am just bored wearing the same black or blue suit.
Looking back, there was something that I had worn for Anupama Chopra’s show (pictured above) which I personally found very ghastly. But I enjoy wearing something different. I commit to what I wear and at the end of the day I am Sonam Kapoor’s cousin (winks).
Image: Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh
'It's a dream come true to work with Govinda'
Would you be interested in hosting television shows, preferably Bigg Boss?
Yes, I'd love to.
I got a lot of appreciation for hosting the GIMA awards. A lot of people asked me where I get my energy from.
I guess I'm just wired and I drink a lot of coffee (laughs). I'm energetic all day. I think I have a knack and possess qualities that work well for hosting.
You have always admired Govinda and now you are working wih him in Kill Dill.
I am very excited to work with Govinda. He is playing a negative role and it’s my dream come true to work with him.
We also have a dance number together in the film and I am thrilled about it.
Image: Ranveer Singh in Gunday