Ranveer Singh hopes to wear many hats in the course of his career, a la Woody Allen. The Bollywood actor talks to
Shubha Shetty Saha about his plans to write a script and make music. He also discusses his much-talked-about condom ad, while stressing on the need for an open discussion on sex
It’s never an interview with Ranveer Singh. It is him chatting like an old friend, while you try to sneak in a question here and there. Excerpts from the chat with the actor:
Ranveer: Did you see my Kill Dill trailer?
Hitlist: Yes, it’s being talked about on social media.
Ranveer: Social media has become so huge. It is like putting a microphone in everybody’s hand. It has changed the definitions of human relationships. The equations in romantic relationships are also changing and how. Earlier you would meet someone at a party and if you are interested it would all play out differently. Now you have Facebook and Twitter — you can check on that person and start chatting immediately. We are all living parallel virtual lives, which is damn crazy but exciting, too. As a celebrity, you open up about your life and brace yourself for all kinds of criticism. People will say good and bad things, you just need to be thick-skinned about it.
Hitlist: But that mystery factor that added to the allure of a star is missing now.
Ranveer: I agree. The mystery is dying a slow death which is why I think the new definition is how accessible you want to be. Being available and out in the public eye can make you go crazy. You need to know when to switch off. At this juncture, when I am done with Dil Dhadakne Do and starting work on Bajirao Mastani, I plan to go underground for a while. Playing Bajirao will require a different level of work and intensity. For me, this character could be life-altering. I will move my base and disconnect from the world. Just the other day, I had an inspiring chat with Farhan Akhtar. He told me that sometimes in your career you have to recognise ‘that’ role and give it all. For him it was Milkha (Milkha Singh in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag) and for me it is Bajirao. I know a year later, I will come out an altered human being but at the same time it scares me because the intensity of the character may affect my psychology. Eventually, when you have to experience that kind of emotion in real life, you have no feelings left and you react differently as the character drains you emotionally. It scares the shit out of you, but it is a rabbit hole I am consciously getting into. I am terrified of it, but that’s what I like about it. I am going to make this special.
Hitlist: Is that why you have slashed the price for the role?
Ranveer: I don’t like talking about money publicly. I am not an actor because it pays me well. I do it for the love of acting. I have never made a decision because of the monetary aspect. The script needs to excite me.
By God’s grace, my father has worked hard and made life comfortable for us. Yes, we have gone through financial crunches, but he has always provided us with food and a roof over our heads. That’s why I have been able to take the gamble with my profession. The trade chooses to put a star value on you, but (laughing) sometimes you are not really earning as much as people might think you do, because you don’t really do things
Hitlist: But more money also means more freedom to choose.
Ranveer: Mere itne shaukh bade nahi hai. I don’t lead a very lavish lifestyle. I choose to live with my parents because they sort out my life. Everything is done for me which empowers me to go out and do what I want. I remember, not so long ago I was offered a ridiculous amount of money to do something and I discussed it with my dad. He simply said, if you are not sure, don’t do it. We don’t need the money. When I was 21 and came back from USA after finishing my degree, my dad was going through a financial crisis. But he never asked me to earn just because he had invested in our education. Instead, he encouraged me to do what I want.
Hitlist: The condom ad was also what you wanted to do and not because of money?
Ranveer: After Band Baaja Baaraat there were lot of offers, admittedly they were not so tempting or lucrative till Ram-Leela and Gunday happened. One day as I was travelling, I saw billboards with faces of stars. I thought: People are selling everything, why aren’t they advertising condoms? We have evolved as a society, but sex is still looked at as a dirty and taboo topic. We need to have an open discussion about sex. (Laughing) So I thought of approaching the condom brand I use. It was my idea. I got my best friend to direct it and it became huge. I am glad that it was my first ad because advertisements are part of your equity. They are not involuntary consumption, so it becomes your duty to make them entertaining. I love pushing the envelope. It gives me a high.
Hitlist: It also brought out your humourous side.
Ranveer: It is a Cancerian (his sun sign) trait to be sensitive, emotional and have a lot of empathy towards things happening around you. So for me to trivialise everything and make things light around me is a defence mechanism. People think I am goofing around and that I am a funny person, but for me it is just an easier way of getting by. Otherwise, I will end up taking everything to heart. Being emotional is good for an actor though.
Hitlist: But it can also work against you.
Ranveer: People who care for me, such as my father and Adi sir (Aditya Chopra), tell me that I can’t devalue myself and get emotional about business negotiations. There is no place for emotion in this industry. Thankfully, I have a strong support system that helps me get away from doing business deals and concentrate on the creative side. I am enjoying myself right now.
Hitlist: Any plans to write a script soon?
Ranveer: I am attempting one. When I was in film school in USA, I had written a script which got me an A plus plus grade. My professor told me that it will fetch me a good price. But when I came back, I saw that script already being made into a film.
I have another idea in my head. Also, I have seen this Hollywood film which would make for a great premise for an Indian movie. I want to write, direct and make music at some point. I don’t want to only stick to acting. When I have my own home, there will be a music-studio in it. My dream is to do something like what Woody Allen does.
(Clockwise from left) Band Baaja Barat (2010), Ram-Leela (2013), Ladies v/s Ricky Bahl (2011) and Gunday (2013)