Ranveer Singh is more relieved than elated with all the appreciation he has received as Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Ram. He has tasted what he always heard is the effect of a good Friday on an actor, as he is flooded with offers. But what has given him a high is a handwritten note from his idol Amitabh Bachchan. He talks to Ahmedabad Times about the role of Ram-Leela in his life. Excerpts:
What has the success of Ram-Leela meant for you?
Fortunately, I had a good first step with Band Baaja, Baaraat. But I understand that Ram-Leela is a giant leap forward. It comes with the way the world perceives it, where performance is one aspect but it also has to do with the numbers. The numbers give me a commercial standing that will empower me to make braver decisions. There is no feeling of great elation. It’s more relief on many levels. I have put so much into this movie and the stakes are kind of high due to the stature of the director, because of the budgets of the film and because of the stage in my career at which this has come. This film is the coming together of all the films I have done so far and has the vulnerability and intensity of my character in Lootera, the chuttapan of the character in Band Baaja Baaraat and the sexiness of the character in Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl. The opportunity to work in Ram-Leela was fantastic as it allowed me to do the romance, the comedy, the song-and-dance, the action, the drama and show my vulnerability, anger and intensity all in one film.
You are an uninhibited performer. Are you also like that in real life?
The first thing they make you do in an acting class is a ‘lose your inhibition’ exercise. In order to act, you have to shed your inhibitions. But, what do you do with a person who is already uninhibited? In my case, I was always like this from school ever since I was a kid. I was never ashamed of anything and was always confident of myself. I was a besharam, hamesha se.
Did that get you into trouble?
Yes, all the time in school. The school (Learners Academy) authorities would want some discipline that I would never adhere to because of this nature of mine. I used to get suspended and my mom was called every week to the office. She used to weep thinking why I was so badly behaved. There was a policy that teachers were not allowed to hit the kids, but there was one head teacher who would not adhere to that and would hit me. I was not ‘a’ goonda. I was ‘the’ goonda in school. My mother has always just been affectionate and a doting mother. What really used to hurt her was when other mothers would complain in a PTA meeting saying that I was spoiling all other kids, as she could empathise with other mothers. She would weep and that would make me feel really bad. I would feel sorry, but then again I would go and do the same things next week. I always had a need to create some havoc and khap. I have become more mature now and think have got my share of karma for all the kids I have troubled in school through all my ups and downs in life.
Your performance in Ram-Leela has been much appreciated. Any special appreciation you received?
I got a hand-written note from Mr Bachchan praising me for my performance. The letter was hand-written and personal. It came with a bouquet and felt better than getting any award. He said that I had immersed myself into my character and that it was a sincere performance. It was an amazing feeling as he is the one, whose films I grew up watching and he is the one watching whom, I wanted to become an actor in the first place. I have given the letter to my mum to put in the safe. My achievement is that my idol recognises my work and it means the world to me.
So far what has been your highest point as an actor?
When Mr Bhansali selected me. That was validation to me that a director who only works with the best actors, has selected me and the fact that he saw something in me and has faith that I have the potential to deliver to his level.
What is Sanjay Leela Bhansali like?
Well, to start with, he is mad but in the best way possible. What is special about him is that he is an exceptionally hypersensitive human being. Even if he is 20 feet away on the set and you are having a conversation that is not film-related, he will sense that, his ears will pick it up. He can be with you and in less than five seconds, he can figure out how you are feeling by just sharing space with you. His insight into human nature, his perceptiveness, understanding of emotion is unlike any other person I have met. His film set is sacred and you better not be doing what you are not supposed to. I was an exception to all 200 people on the set (Deepika included) as a person who was spoilt by him. I was treated like a king and was given whatever I wanted, to help me perform. He spoils you and you enjoy it. He wants you to feel happy, liberated, confident and convinced so that you can perform. He is a master for me and there is no director like him.
Do you feel attached to any of your directors?
I am very attached to my director of Lootera, Vikramaditya Motwane, who is like an older brother to me. He is honest, sincere and righteous. I could open up wholeheartedly to him and I did. There are things I tell only him and can trust him completely. Somewhere I feel he is too good for the corruption that surrounds him. I know he cares for me and wants the best for me.
Any director you aspire to work with?
I hope one day I do an Adi Chopra movie. I want to be directed by Adi sir. He is amazing. It’s like he has two separate brains. He has a creative mind and a business mind. And he is able wear both hats, unlike anyone else that I have come across. I am sure he enjoys the business side as well, but you can see how much more he enjoys the creative side.
Have Deepika and you been offered films together?
There were offers after the first trailer itself.
Given that you have said that Deepika is your favourite co-star, do you look forward to being cast with her again?
Ya, fully. But I am not going to try and bring it about. If it happens organically, it’s good. I also won’t do a film only because it has Deepika and me.