Ranbir Kapoor: 'Not producer or superstar, I would always want to be known as an actor'
Days before the release of a film, the idiosyncrasies of Ranbir Kapoor start resembling Aamir Khan: somewhat jittery, uneasy, impatient and restless.
The break slots between his various TV interviews are punctuated with mandatory cigarette breaks. The current persona of Ranbir Kapoor is a far cry from Ranbir Kapoor of last year or the year before that. Confidence, and a perpetual smile, have seeped into his body language, something that was missing till the time Ae Dil Hai Mushkil was declared a hit.
So does that mean that success is the be all and end all? “Not at all. If you see any changes in me then it's because of my failures. When I taste success, then my reaction is phew! This time got saved. Usually when failure hits you, it sort of sets your life in motion. You start thinking about your career, you get insecure. To be honest I don’t’ know what my existence is and as of now it is to be an actor,” says a pepped up Ranbir.
When it comes to adjectives for this actor, it’s always a dilemma. The man often comes across as the whole package, an amalgamation of all that’s best. So should we be calling him Ranbir Kapoor, the actor, the producer or the superstar?
“Of course I would like to be called an actor. I don’t think I am superstar but yes I am star. I get to work with directors like Anurag Basu. People are interested in my films, my life and my personal life so there is an interest in me but I would definitely like to be known as Ranbir Kapoor, the actor before anything else," he says.
His polished upbringing, and impeccable manners reflect in his soft voice. The usual tantrums one witnesses when stars are around are missing and instead one gets to meet a bundle of talent whose head and heart are in the right place. Once its revealed to him that this interview will involve no camera, like a typical college goer, Ranbir decides to shift the venue to the fourth floor smoking lounge of Disney’s swanky office.
Though a non-smoker, his favourite ‘Dada’ is there to give him company. And the two in sight together brings me to my next question — if the jodi of Ranbir Kapoor and Anurag Basu is akin to the jodi of Martin Scorcese and Robert De Niro?
“That’s a long shot and it's better to take one film at a time. We have done only one film and the second is due next month. To compare with a jodi of such a stature, you need to make at least four to five films.”
The last time the two came together; the end result was Barfi, a film that was all heart and carried no false notes. The camaraderie that Ranbir Kapoor and Anurag Basu shared during the Barfi phase looked genuine, and was smeared with the right amount of mutual respect of each other’s craft.
And now they both are back with Jagga Jasoos. So is Anurag Basu addictive?
“When you are working with him, he is not addictive but the result he brings is amazing. To be honest, people loved me in Barfi probably more than they liked me in say Rockstar or any other film of mine. I worked 200 per cent more in a film like Bombay Velvet but in Barfi whatever I did, was channelised by him. He takes too much of responsibility on his shoulders be it music, acting, cinematography, make up, choreography, he takes care of just about everything. We only have to support him and he will do the work for you.”
Ranbir furthers, “He is a pain in the ass to work with because he works under extreme chaos. There is nothing called a schedule or a first assistant director on his sets. There is nothing like bound screenplay, which you normally get at your house on the first day of the shoot. Everything is full of chaos and everything is all heart too. I have no memory of anything that did on the sets of Jagga Jasoos or Barfi."
Jagga Jasoos also marks the debut of Ranbir Kapoor as a producer. If the very first film takes more than three years in making, it's bound to make any producer jittery and nervous. When asked if the unexpected delay was heartbreaking, he has a different take on it. If one were to take a close look at the poster, it's apparent that under the producer credit, Ranbir's name is mentioned before Anurag. Did he discuss this issue with Anurag? “Absolutely, I pointed this out to him and he said No. He said it would be Siddharth, Ranbir and then him. We had this conversation earlier and he was very clear about this.”
There are also rumours galore about Anurag Basu’s style of direction, and constant murmurs about him not carrying a script on the sets of his film. Who could be a better person than Ranbir to answer this?
“A script is basically a guideline that you have on the sets. Dada is very clear with the story and its not like he is developing the story or the screenplay while he is working. I had a full narration of the story almost a year before the actual shooting started. Of course when you adapt or improvise there are certain treatments involved but our screenplay and story was ready. It's just that it was not on paper," says Ranbir.
Apart from Jagga Jasoos, he is also in news for portraying Sanjay Dutt for Raju Hirani’s biopic. The images of Kapoor in the garb of Dutt that were splashed online showed an eerie resemblance. Did he manage an approval from the man himself?
“Of course. It was quite surreal because he used to be on the sets for a few days when I started shooting. Just to act like him and him standing behind the monitor was a bit bizarre for me. I just have two weeks of work left now and am really looking forward to that film,” shoots back Ranbir,
I have to ask him this: What did Ranbir do with the money he won from Shah Rukh Khan after he suggested the titled Jab Harry Met Sejal? He reveals that SRK gave him Rs 6000 instead, and he has no intention of splurging those currency notes on anything in near future.