He is a livewire who’ll disarm you with charm. 'Bajirao Mastani' actor Ranveer Singh talks of fame and its trappings in an unapologetic I-am-like-this-only chat
Ranveer Singh doesn’t know inhibition. So, meeting him for the first time is somewhat like meeting an old friend, who can’t wait to chat with you.
"How are you doin’?" he asks, calling us by first name.
"Good. And you?"
"I am charged."
But he seems in no hurry to start answering questions.
"Ooh, I love your red hair. Maybe I should get mine coloured blue?"; "You went shopping? What did you buy," he asks, spotting a Forever 21 bag. He yanks out a dress just purchased and hangs it against his chest. "You know I am such a fashionista."
At this point, the decision to put away the questionnaire is taken. Let’s just talk.
In a still from 'Bajirao Mastani'
Singh is looking good, with his now trademark moustache and gold studs. Jodhpuri pants and a black tee is what he wears for this chat, which is part of a promotional blitzkrieg for the grand romantic saga by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, 'Bajirao Mastani'.
But he’s at ease. "So what did you think of Mr Bhansali?" he asks, referring to last week’s interview in this paper. "He is usually very indulgent with me, but you know when you make a movie like this, sometimes, things happen," and he smiles at us, settling down on the sofa and holding our phone like a mic.
What does he mean, "things happen?" "Well, when it’s such an intense movie, you become all intense, and you are in character so deeply that people can’t get through to you. He doesn’t appreciate that. He needs to be able to talk to me," Singh says, then adds, "If you ask the assistant directors on the set of 'Dil Dhadakne Do', they’ll say I am a darling. But the ones on Bajirao call me a terror. I had a chat with them and said, ‘I will be like this. So please bear with me’."
But who is Singh, really? Darling or terror?
He laughs, "I am the character."
The actor has come into his own in the last two years, with 'Lootera', 'Ramleela' and 'Dil Dhadakne Do'. His public persona is that of the live-wire, who says anything, is up for anything, and wears his heart on his sleeve. Is it because he is now comfortable with the "Bollywood" scene? "Yes, I think so. I came from a non-filmi background. My father is a businessman. So, the first two years, I hit the ground running, and had no clue how I’d deal with overnight stardom. I didn’t know what to say or how to behave. Since then, I have come into my own, got used to the fame. So, I decided I am going to be me."
Has the acquired knowledge made him less impulsive? "Yaaaaa," he says with a drawl. "I am so impulsive! People have to actually tell me... sleep on this, please. Think about it. I just go with what I feel. My father tells me to exercise restrain... so I listen to people like him," he says. "I am always like, ‘let’s go here’, ‘let’s do this’, and everyone is like, ‘now?’ I get that a lot."
If it’s not this madness that attracts people’s attention, it’s his relationship with girlfriend Deepika Padukone. Everyone seems to want a piece of the couple, and Singh seems okay with that as long as it doesn’t infringe on his space. "I can talk about it, but to an extent. There is a reason it’s called personal."
What gets his goat is when he is photographed without being told or asked. "I want to ban the camera phone. It’s so rude to not ask me [if a picture can be clicked]. I love taking selfies, and I will take one with everyone. Just ask, and that too, nicely. Yes, you are buying a ticket for my movie, and I do owe you for that, but just ask nicely," he says. "I may be sleeping on a plane and drooling, and someone will decide to take a picture. I am in the loo and someone is taking a picture. I am getting out of the lift and the camera is in my face. Just ask me nicely."
Singh’s publicity representatives are signalling that our time is over. We ask nicely, "Should we?" and he says, "We absolutely must."
And we take a selfie with Ranveer Singh.