“I Don’t Take Success To My Head Or Failure To My Heart” – Ranbir Kapoor
Yesterday Ranbir Kapoor celebrated his 38th birthday. We at bollyy.com and Mayapuri wish Ranbir Kapoor belatedly by reproducing this earlier interview of his by JYOTHI VENKATESH who has known even before he became an actor with Saawaria. Today Ranbir is on top of the world as Sanju has beaten the records of every other Indian language film by grossing over 300 cr at the box office in India in just three weeks since its release.
On whether he ever discussed whether there was a risk of glorifying Sanjay Dutt with Rajkumar Hirani
Sanju Sir has been brave enough to give his life in a way that he’s a fallen hero and shown the grey side of him. There’s a great learning about his mistake with the AK 56 gun and the underworld and everything that happened in his life. I think Rajkumar Hirani saw an honest and great human story in it and took it up.
On preparation for the comparisons with Sanjay Dutt when he took up Sanju
I understood the pressure and baggage that it comes with. Sanju Sir is such a loved superstar. I think it’s for the first time in the history of cinema that somebody has made a biopic on a living actor. I recognized from the script of the film that it was an opportunity of a lifetime for me to do this and I had to have complete conviction and belief in myself that I could do it.
On whether he was very skeptical initially
Initially, I didn’t have that confidence and wasn’t sure that I could look like him. He has this macho image whereas my personality is very different. But once I read the script and story of the film, it showed Sanju Sir in a very human way. It’s all about what all Sanjay Dutt went through with his family- his drug phase, jail phase, the death of his mother, his friendship, his bond with his father. I saw a very human story which excited and inspired me. Everything about the film shocked me. I knew him as a family friend, somebody who has been very fond of me. I used to work out in his gym so I would hang out a lot with him. But when I read the story of the film, it had the classified files of a human being which even I didn’t know. Often when I was enacting a certain scene and sequences, I myself used to think what he must have been going through and thinking at that point. Whenever I used to do any important scene, I used to call him up at night before shooting and speak to him for long hours just to understand what he was going through in his mind and psyche. I am really happy that he supported me and gave me a lot of his own personal emotions, which is quite disturbing to relive and redo.
On whether he broke down at any point while enacting any scene
Sometimes when you are giving a shot or doing a sequence, you feel connected so much to the moment and emotion that you really feel something. However, as an actor, I understand how to detach myself from certain emotions. You have to be in and out. When I was doing Rockstar, that film really took me to a certain emotional phase in my life where I really felt tired and spent. So, you learn with experience. Now after 10 years, I can understand how to step back from the scene or the character. But subconsciously somewhere, you do get affected and I really enjoy that about being an actor. It’s not really superficially coming on sets and doing few lines and going back.
On the reaction of his parents and grandmother when he got Sanju
When my father first heard about it, he said it was a great idea. He probably knows Sanjay Dutt’s life inside out and felt that a good film could be made on it. But at the same time, my grandmother was like, ‘Tu yeh biopic kyun kar raha hain? You should do a viable commercial film. You are a Hindi film hero, sing songs and look good,” as she comes from my grandfather’s school of thought.
On whether this is one of the best phases of his career
My last few films didn’t work, including Black Velvet and Jagga Jasoos. But still, I got the opportunity to work with one of India’s greatest filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani in a film like Sanju. Good and bad phases are something which you experience at home or by yourself. But success and failure are not in my hands. What I can do is work with honest intentions, be good at my job and keep my head on my shoulders. I don’t take success to my head and failure to my heart, right since my debut film.
On what he learnt from his first flop Sawariya
Saawariya was a big disaster but it taught me a lot. It prepared me for this world of cinema. It’s not that I am born into a film family so everything is going to be easy for me. There will be a lot of brickbats. Sometimes there will be a lot of love when my films are appreciated. I have that understanding and reality check. Also, it helps that I am born into films so I am prepared for this. I have seen all of this in my family over the years. My father used to be crying at points when his films weren’t working or he used to be elevated to a point where it was really amazing. But I am very happy just doing my job.
On whether Sanju brought in some kind of pressure on him
Every film is a pressure. When Ae Dil Hai Mushkil released, it was a successful film. But Jagga Jasoos and Black Velvet failed to connect with the audience. When a film releases and it’s a success, you move on to the next. That’s all you feel with the success. But failure stays with you for a longer time. A lot of it is written in the media. There are a lot of opinions which your friends and film industry give you. They tell you to do more commercial films, work on the physique etc. But I guess what helps is having a belief that I can be strong in this phase and continue to do good work. I guess that’s what takes you along. It’s a very important phase in my life as an actor where I really have to take the next step after doing coming-of-age films and young boy roles. I am also growing older and have to evolve myself as an actor and am looking forward to this new phase.
On whether he feels good that his acting talent has never been questioned whether his film is a hit or a flop
Because I have been born into a film family, I understand that success is very fickle. It takes you to a place where you yourself don’t know how you have reached this place and then everything just goes away. At this age in my life, it’s also very important to have real things- family, relationships. One must have a life beyond films. I can’t be too dependent on the destiny of my films because it’s too much of a roller-coaster. It really takes you to certain places and drops you and that can really be detrimental to your mind and health. So, I just do my work, give it my best and have a life beyond films.
On why he is shying away from social media and whether his father encourages him to join it
I haven’t really thought about it so deeply that this is the reason why I am not on social media. It’s just something that I have been shying away from. I am happy being away from it. I don’t need another platform to do PR or my publicity. That’s fine. Maybe tomorrow I will be on social media. But today, I am happy staying away from it. My dad is an honest guy, who doesn’t keep anything censored. If he feels about something, he will say it. He is not doing it for publicity or impact. He actually feels it and impulsively tweets it. There are very few people like this in the industry. Most of the people are just trying to portray a very different, cosmetic, nice person image of themselves. But my father is really brave in that sense. He understands that people may hate him for his opinion, but he has an opinion and wants to exercise it like any citizen of this country.
On whether he would love to be a part of any remake of his dad
I don’t believe in remakes because I feel that I can never bring a better impact than what my father or any other actor has done. But I really like this film of his called Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hain. It didn’t work back then and was a flop. But I really liked his work in it.
On his plans to be part of the Kishore Kumar biopic
Anurag Basu and I were really trying to put it on the floors. But we didn’t get permissions from certain families to make it. Another one could be my grandfather’s life (Raj Kapoor). But I have always believed that any biopic should be a complete honest portrayal. It shouldn’t be only showing the great side of a person. You have to show the grey or flawed side as well. I hope my family at some point gets permission to really open up about Raj Kapoor’s life because he’s had a cinematic life itself. I would like to direct or act in it. I can take the advantage that I am his grandson so there would be nobody better to play him.
You are also teaming up with Luv Ranjan for a film.
I am very excited about that film. After Sanju, I have films like Brahmastra with Ayan Mukerjee, Shamshera with Karan Malhotra and the Luv Ranjan film with Ajay Devgn. It’s a dramatic love story. It’s also a departure from what he has made. I really enjoyed watching Pyaar Ka Punchnama and Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety. I myself had contacted him. It’s the first time I ever contacted a director saying that I would really like to collaborate with him. We had been talking for a while. We discussed different scripts and different ideas. We really liked this one and it’s a full-out commercial entertaining film.
On whether he is ready to do light-hearted films
I am looking forward to doing a comedy. I have been searching for one. But the problem is there aren’t many people in the industry who are dabbling with this genre right now. I would love to do a film like Hera Pheri or Andaz Apna Apna.
On working with Sanjay Dutt in Shamshera
Primarily the script and the character attracted me. It’s set in the 1800s. It’s about a group of Daku tribes who are fighting for their rights against the British East India Company. The way it is written was very entertaining and action-oriented. Sanjay Dutt is playing the antagonist in that film. I am looking forward to working with him . I really enjoyed watching Karan Malhotra’s Agneepath and am looking forward to Shamshera now.