Bina Saraiya Kapadia
Ranbir Kapoor is the talk of the town. Be it because of Sanju, or his relationship rumours with Alia Bhatt, the media is abuzz with news about his life.
“In my college days, I got addicted to some substances out of curiosity. But I have not taken heavy drugs in my life. However, I cannot tell you what addictive substances I took back in time. But yes, I did enter that zone. I realised very soon that this is not my world and not because I wanted to become a star. But because at some point in life, we all need to decide the direction we want to walk towards. I had decided my direction and it did not go towards addictive substances,” says actor Ranbir Kapoor.
He also says that through ‘Sanju’, people will get the right message about how lives turn out to be when you get addicted to drugs. You get nothing out of it. He says that after consuming drugs, Sanjay Dutt had entered a zone, coming out of which was extremely difficult. But he did it and became a star. It is not possible for everyone to do so. Drug addiction takes over a person’s life.
Talking about his college days Kapoor says, “During my college days, there was one more thing that I got addicted to – tobacco. Breaking free of that addiction gave me a lot of trouble. If you want to get rid of any addiction, the two most important things that you need are willpower and the support of your family. Firstly, you cannot come out of it until you don’t make up your mind, strongly. Secondly, if you don’t gather the courage to share the details about your friends and your contacts through which you are getting addictive substances, even your family would not be able to help you.”
“I still have a habit though – of eating sweets. But then, there is nothing wrong with it, is it? (laughs)”
Getting a bit emotional due to the response Sanju has garnered from the media and the audiences he tells us, “I have never received so much love from the audiences. I am receiving this love because of Sanjay Dutt and Rajkumar Hirani. It was really difficult to camouflage myself as Sanjay Dutt. But now, when people are seeing me and not asking the question that why I did this role, I know that I passed the test.”
“You need a lot of luck to get the chance to work with a director like Rajkumar Hirani. I believe I am extremely lucky. Before this, I had been offered the lead role in 3 Idiots. I was so excited about it that I had begun declining other offers. A few meetings had happened as well. But that did not pan out as the lead actor had to be someone who could suit the role of a middle-aged man. When Rajkumar Hirani messaged me this time, the first thing I asked him was, ‘Sir, are you making a biopic on Sanjay Dutt? How much will I be able to contribute to a biopic? Will I be able to do justice to the role?’ I had an array of questions. But when I read the script, all my doubts vanished.”
“Sanjay Dutt’s father, Sunil Dutt, played a huge role in bringing him back from drug addiction. He worked extremely hard. As a father, Sunil Dutt, proved himself. If we were to compare father-son jodis, then there are a lot of similarities between them and me and my father. We are both not friends with our fathers, there is a limit between us. Fear, respect and love is a part of our bonds. In this way, I can relate with Sanju sir. When I was young, I have met Sunil Dutt sir a lot of times. He used to always shower a lot of love on me,” Kapoor says.
When a biopic is being made on someone, the person’s mistakes, good-bad habits, girlfriends, marriage, divorce…everything is portrayed. You cannot make a biopic by only showing his good side. A human being is prone to make mistakes. A biopic looks real only if their weaknesses are also shown. We ask Kapoor whether his family has thought about making a biopic on Raj Kapoor’s life colourful life.
He answers,” Yes, we do think about it very often. But there are certain shades of his life that our family does not want to disclose. And you can only make a biopic with truth in it. You cannot make a biopic run on some propaganda. Sanjay Dutt has the guts to come out in the open and talk about his mistakes.”
Kapoor who has done experimental films did not have great luck at the box office as his last four films did not do well. He turned towards commercial films. His upcoming film, Shamshera is also a commercial one. Is his insecurity, the reason behind this?
“No, no there is nothing like that. I have done ‘Jagga Jasoos’, ‘Bombay Velvet’ and ‘Besharam’ in the past. Yes, my upcoming films are commercial but that does not mean that I have changed my selection for films. I have decided that I will work with other directors as well – other than Ayaan, Imitiaz and Anurag – because while working with these directors I used to be in a comfort zone. I want to get out of that comfort zone now.”
“My upcoming film Shamshera is about a dacoit who lived in the 18th century. The role was very challenging for me as neither do I have that look and nor that nature.”
We ask him how difficult it was to play the role of Dutt and portray all the difficult, sometimes very rough shades of his life.
“When you are being directed by Rajkumar Hirani, your acting automatically flows. An actor is a zero without the director. I had belief in myself that I will play this character well. You can win even the toughest of wars with this belief. The first 6-8 months were all about prosthetic makeup, hairstyle and costumes that were like Dutt’s. Other hesitations like whether I should talk like him or not, whether I should walk like him or not, surrounded me then. But afterwards, as I went on shooting for the film, everything started falling in place. Also, Dutt is known for his fit body. I had to work out a lot for this movie. Otherwise, I remain fit through football.”
In Sanju movie, Dutt is asked about the number of women he had in his life. Dutt says ‘308’! We asked the same question to Ranbir, to which he replied, “Not as many as he had!”
Is marriage on the cards for him? “That will happen when I get the perfect girl. I believe in the institution of marriage and not in live-in relationships. Also, I do not have high expectations from my future wife. I will accept her the way she is.”
We asked Kapoor, who is a detached actor who can come out of one character and get into another with ease, that if he is grandfather Raj Kapoor would have been alive, would he help him with the selection of films? Would Kapoor have benefitted from that?
“Whenever I sign a film, I read its script first. If I feel from my heart that I should do a movie, only then I sign it. If I sign a film on someone’s persuasion, it doesn’t mean that I am connected to the role. And if I am not connected, I cannot give my hundred percent. So even if my grandfather was alive, I would have picked films that I could connect with.”
Talking about his relationship with his grandmother he reminisces, “Last year I used to live with her. That is when I signed the film, ‘Sanju’. When the shooting was going on, she used to ask me why I signed such a biopic. According to her, a film is where there are songs, where the hero-heroine are romancing. She is old school so she doesn’t yet understand the concept of biopics. But when she saw the trailer of the movie, she was very happy to see my work.”
Ranbir’s great-grandfather, Prithviraj Kapoor gave Hindi cinema an epic film, ‘Mughal-E-Azam’. On asking the question about whether he plans to work in a period film, he says, “Definitely. I am in talks at the moment. But frankly speaking, I am not that ready for a period film even though my first film, ‘Saawariya’ was a period film.”
Why hasn’t he worked with Sanjay Leela Bhansali again, in spite of the fact that it was Bhansali who launched him? “It is a little personal. But he is a great director.”
Kapoor worked as an assistant director in the film ‘Black’. In the first scene of the movie, he worked as Amitabh Bachchan’s body double. Talking about his experience he expresses, “I was extremely fortunate to have that chance to work with Amitabh Bachchanji. I have done many films as an actor but while working as an assistant director in ‘Black’, I have learnt a lot. I can never forget that. A few days ago, I had the chance of being with Amitji for the entire day. I only wished that our eyes meet. I have decided to become best friends with him before the shooting of ‘Bramhastra’ has completed. He is a walking institute! I am very impressed by his working style. Time flies when working with him.”
Ranbir believes that he is a very calm person. “I rarely get angry. Not do I get into fights. I have never beaten anyone up and no one has beaten me up. Only my mother has!”
Kapoor’s journey from ‘Saawariya’ to ‘Sanju’ has been full of ups and downs, he tells us something about it, “My journey of 10 years has been amazing. I have learnt something from many talented directors, co-actors, writers, hair artists, makeup artists etc. I have also built many relationships. Only a few of my movies have been hits. While shooting for any movie, your relationship with the co-actors, your faith in them and the set’s atmosphere matter a lot. I am happy with the films I have done. I don’t climb on cloud nine if a film becomes a hit and I don’t sink when a film is a flop. It is a process an actor has to go through. I have learnt something from every project.”
Tiny bouts happen between Rishi Kapoor and Ranbir Kapoor every now and then. Rishi Kapoor criticises more, praises less. Sometime back Rishi Kapoor had commented, “I am actor valuing ₹2.50 and Ranbir ₹250.” If Ranbir’s film does well, Rishi Kapoor would say, “I never got such films in my time, otherwise I would have shown my mettle.” And such other things.
“Even today, our relationship is the same. I fear him,” Ranbir accepts. Further, he says, “Some years ago, he was my manager. He could not turn down any film offers. He kept saying yes to everyone. Everyone in the office is scared of him. But I love my father!”
Is he inspired or influenced by any other actor? “We get influenced by everyone, that way. I am also influenced by some or the other film of Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan, Varun Dhawan, Kartik Aryan, Alia, Deepika, Katrina…I like someone’s dance, someone’s intense acting. I learn something new every day from every artist.”
Many actors keep mannats and visit holy places to pray for their film’s success. But Ranbir does not. “For me spirituality is that I can sit at my home in peace. If my mind is at peace, then everything else is too.”
Ranbir aims to build his own identity. He expresses, “I have acted in films like ‘Rocket Singh’ and ‘Wake Up Sid’ because I loved the subjects. I believe that an artist should not follow anyone’s footsteps but create an identity of their own. I am not saying that I want to change Bollywood, I want to be a part of it. Maybe 10 years later I do films with even more depth. But yes if I have worked very hard for a movie, like Rockstar, and it does not do well at the box office, naturally, I feel bad. But, it is a part of the journey.”
Ranbir’s nephew, Taimur Khan charms hearts at such a young age. Ranbir says, “He is so cute that when I pick him up, I wonder who he is. He is such a cute boy!”
Recently, the chemistry between Ranbir and Alia Bhatt has been in the news. Commenting upon Alia’s acting Ranbir says, “She is an amazing actor. It has been 5-6 years since she entered the industry while it has been 10 for me. But her acting skills are improving a lot. When you shoot with her, she will give you dialogue cues. She does the same in her shots. I will be happy if I can build a cinematic relationship with her on screen.”
We asked him if he wants to build a relationship on screen only or off-screen as well to which he laughingly said, “I am not ‘Raazi’ to answer that question right now.”