Ranveer Singh has me intrigued. Even before I can start my interview with him, I can see him chatting with another media person in the glass cabin next to the waiting room and he’s doing anything but sit on the chair. He’s walking around, playing a with a squeezie ball and at one point, even lying down on the floor to do a small back exercise — all this while he’s doing the interview! So when my chance comes and he continues to go around in circles in the room while I fire my questions at him, I can’t help but ask why. “I would like to burn some calories,” he jokes and then adds, “I can think better when I walk around. I am very restless.”
Ranveer Singh will be seen as a coal bandit in Yash Raj Films’ Gunday that will release on February 14
Some of the restlessness also stems from the fact that his film Gunday is up for release on Valentine’s Day and the actor still hasn’t seen the finished product. But one can see that he’s excited about this caper that sees him and Arjun Kapoor play coal bandits in the movie that’s set in the 1970s and 80s. “There is a legacy of two hero films, with the most iconic film Sholay being one of them. Ram Lakhan, Karan Arjun and Andaz Apna Apna — some of the biggest cult films have been two-hero films but none of the heroes have come together like this from the young generation. Arjun and I are doing this and it’s coming from a place of comfort and security. The bromance between the characters Bikram and Bala, for me, is the USP of the movie,” he says.
One doesn’t need to mention here that Gunday comes right after Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ramleela, a film that’s done phenomenal business and put Ranveer in the top five actors of the new generation. Does the success or failure of the last movie have any bearing on the next? “Two hundred per cent,” he says, “I met some distributors the other day who are feeling so bullish about Gunday because ‘Ranveer is very hot right now’. These are trade concerns. I can speak from an artiste’s point of view. When you’re coming off a success, the thing that spurs you on is self-confidence, while when you’re coming off from a failure, it is the survival instinct that eggs you on. In both cases, you have to channel it to your advantage.”
Ask him whether he’s more comfortable being in this space, as compared to a Lootera, where he played a much more subdued and sober character, and he disagrees immediately. “I would not like to define myself,” he says categorically. “Human beings have a soul and every soul is infinite. You should not attach tags to people because that restricts a person’s infiniteness. I would like to believe that I am as much Varun from Lootera as I am Bikram from Gunday. The difference lies in the kind of films they are, which is vast,” he says.
Ranveer seems focussed on speaking about work, so when we try and steer the topic towards his personal space, he clams up. “Last year, I was not happy with the fact that my personal life had taken precedence over my work, so much so, that the only thing I saw written about me was my personal life. I don’t like that, so I’m not going to repeat that mistake,” he says. Point taken, but does that mean he won’t wear his heart on his sleeve from now on? “That, I will,” he laughs, “I don’t know any other way to be. Anyway people will say good or bad things about me. I will go mad if I keep altering my behaviour on the basis of what I feel might conform with people’s sensibilities. I can only be what I am. That’s the only thing I can maintain for long. Because how long can I put up the pretense?”
Ranveer’s favourite films from the 1970s and ‘80s:
'It's a good time for actors who don’t have a filmi background.'
'I read scripts while on long distance flights.'
'Arjun (Kapoor) and I have a lot in common. He used to be fat, I used to be fat.'