Ever since he entered Bollywood with his debut film, Saawariya (2007), Ranbir Kapoor has almost always impressed audiences as well as critics with his acting skills. In fact, in 2017, the Kapoor scion completes a decade as a Hindi film actor. HT Café catches up with him about the ups and downs in his career and more.
At this stage, how much does success or failure affect you? Or have you become immune to it?
I was never that affected [with success or failure]. I’ve always been detached, but right now, I’m super inspired in my life. The kind of work I did in Jagga Jasoos, or am doing in the Sanjay Dutt biopic and Ayan’s [Mukerji] film is a dream for any actor. I have these opportunities wherein I have to be amazing because it will only be a loss for the film if the actor in it is not good. I am giving them my all. I am extremely inspired by the films that I am doing, and I hope that I continue to find great scripts and directors.
So, as an actor, is it one of the most inspiring periods for you?
I hope that I can continue to feel the same way as I have in the past two years, in the future as well. It’s very important that you don’t become content. The drive has to be there because you have to constantly grow. You need to have the desire to become a bigger star, and so, have to put out a voice in the universe. You need to have an idea in your head and then chase it.
After being a ‘star’ for so many years, how does an actor like you keep yourself motivated?
Firstly, I will never sit down and think, ‘abhi life set ho gayi hai, toh kaam toh milta jaayega aur paise aate rahenge.’ Yes, I want to be the best version of myself, and be one amongst the greatest actors. Everybody wants to do it but you must chase it as it won’t come by luck. Luck does play an important role, but success comes with a lot of other things that one has to understand.
Also, you are soon going to start work on Ayan Mukerji’s Dragon after giving two hits — Wake Up Sid (2009) and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013) with him. We have heard it’s a superhero film.
Well, it’s not really a superhero film because the word ‘superhero’ comes with a preconceived notion about it. The film is, as Ayan puts it, ‘a magical romantic fairy tale set in contemporary times.’ It’s got a great cast too with Alia Bhatt and Amitji (Amitabh Bachchan) in the film. Other superb actors are also being cast in it. It’s a film that has been written in a trilogy format so there will be three parts, which Ayan will make over a period of eight years. It’s also very exciting, and risky at the same time because it’s something that has never been tried before.
You will be working with Alia Bhatt for the first time in Ayan’s next film. Excited?
Absolutely! Actually not many people know this but Alia and I had done a photo shoot together for Sanjay Leela Bhansali when I was 20 years old and she was about 12 or even younger; I don’t know exactly how old she was. Sanjay sir wanted to make his version of Balika Badhu with us so hamne ek full photo shoot kiya tha (we had done a complete photo shoot), so I am connected to her since then. She is a fine actor, very unassuming about her success and talent. Plus, she is very evolved, cool and chilled out, so I am looking forward to the film.
You and Alia are also among the best young talents that we have today. In that sense, do you see an interesting partnership?
I think I can create a distinct creative partnership with Alia. I hope our energies come together because the whole film depends a lot on our relationship. And as actors, we both have an opportunity, and I hope we can make the best use of it. I don’t think I could have asked for a better film to work in with her.
As an actor, what got you most excited about Ayan’s film?
It’s deeply seeped into our culture that also has the logic of our gods and our roots. It’s not a westernised superhero film where the hero is flying; it has something to do with our world, our country. Ayan is truly a visionary as at such a young age, he understands the pulse of an audience, entertainment values, engagement levels, the value of box office, how to make people happy and which people to reach out to and these are important things.
Since you love direction too, what are the prerequisites to become a successful director?
If a director starts making a film for an audience and not for himself, we all will be in a good place. I think a lot of directors make films for themselves and that’s where things get tricky.
You have been shooting for the Dutt biopic for some time now. How has the experience been?
It’s been amazing. A role may be emotionally or physically challenging, and you may reach home totally exhausted because of that, but when you feel inspired while playing the part, there is a sense of having given something your best. That’s important since you get that feeling very rarely. The opportunity to portray Sanjay Dutt’s life on screen, and that too in a film made by Rajkumar Hirani and Abhijat Joshi (writer) is any actor’s dream come true.
Do you ever feel that there will be high expectations from the Dutt biopic as well as your performance in it?
I am grateful and working very hard at it. I’m looking forward to the film and hope that it comes through the way we envisioned it. I hope people can understand this man’s (Dutt) life and soul through this film and through my work as his life is unbelievable. You may not necessarily agree with it, but just to witness a life and his life’s graph will be amazing. You can’t even imagine the journey that he has had.