With Sacred Games season 2, I am a part of a series that I'm also dying to see, says Ranvir Shorey
If you seek Ranvir Shorey, the actor, you will find him somewhere on the intersection of films that straddle art and entertainment.
In his 13-year long career in cinema, he has been a part of cult films including Khosla Ka Ghosla, A Death in the Gunj and Kadvi Hawa, and mainstream titles such as Heroine and Sonchiriya. And now, at a time when digital entertainment is booming, he’s steadily building a solid catalogue of streaming series.
Shorey has played a stoic cop in Rangbaaz, a Gujarati NRI father in Metro Park, a Bengali football coach in Bombers and the obnoxious Prem in the Indian version The Office. Next up is Sacred Games season 2.
“My resume is swelling up. I am excited about the work I am doing and the different parts I am getting to play. Now that my son is eight years old, I have been able to shift my attention back to my career,” says Shorey.
He’s hesitant to reveal too much about Shahid Khan, the character he plays in Sacred Games 2, but he does say that as a fan of the first season, he was keen on landing a meaty part in the Netflix show. “When Varun Grover (writer) and Vikramaditya Motwane (showrunner) offered me the part, I said that this thing is too big and too important for me to play an minor role.”
On hearing the narration, Shorey had no doubt that Shahid was a pivotal role and one he could not pass up. “With this show, I am a part of something that I am also dying to see,” says the actor who began his career as a host on Channel V before moving onto films.
At the time of this interview, Shorey is grateful for a day off from his shoot so he can recuperate from a stomach bug. “I am shooting for two more web series. Laalcheez is a dramedy in which I play the younger brother in an Allahabadi family. Then in Magic I am playing an eccentric corporate hit-man. Being this busy feels like a victory,” he says.
It’s understandable given the lean phases he has coursed through, including a long dry spell of almost two years. “I have had huge lulls in my career. Once I did not work for almost two years. My C.A. was flummoxed!”
On the cusp of his 47th birthday, Shorey, who is better known for his parts in independent films such as Titli and Gali Guleiyan, admits that he does feel overlooked by commercial Hindi filmmakers. “There is groupism and there are coteries in the industry and they have denied me chunky roles in mainstream films. I also do not know how to play the awards circus game. It has been made clear to me that you have to play the game; you have to suck up. But I am too independent minded,” he says.
While Shorey reckons this to be one reason, he also believes that his family legacy could be another factor. “My last name has history,” he says referring to his father K. D. Shorey who was a producer and an active member of the film producers’ association. “Some of the biggies might hold a grudge. I am also aware that I am not an easy person. It is hard to change oneself, but I am doing internal work and trying to be a better person,” he shares.
Mention Sonchiriya and Shorey’s disappointment is patently evident. Although he was lauded for his performance as dacoit Vakeel Singh in the action drama, Shorey says it was “traumatic” to see a film he had banked on so greatly whimper at the box office.
“Since then, I have been doing comedies, lighter content, because I dreaded becoming that actor who only shows up in films that don’t work. I am proud of my work in independent cinema and I am also happy to do light, middle-of-the-road films such as the upcoming Lootcase, RKRK and Angrezi Medium.”
Ask him if he has any regrets and Shorey confesses that while he doesn’t regret any decisions, he does identify one actor who he believes has had an impact on the shape of his career. “Abhay Deol is the one person who I think has walked away with a big chunk of my career,” he says. “I wish I had those parts in Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! and Dev.D! I know, it’s wishful thinking.”
His wish list of directors includes Vishal Bhardwaj, Rajkumar Hirani and Nitesh Tiwari and his hope is that his peers acknowledge his work. “In all these years I can only recall getting two awards—one for Halkaa (2018) and the other was a best debut award for Mixed Doubles (2006). So yes, when people say I have not got my due, I feel they might be on to something. Having said that, I am not the kind of person who wants success at any cost. Some might call it ego, but I call it self-respect.”
So what has kept Ranvir Shorey going all these years? “It’s the guy you meet on the street, who shakes your hand and says he loves your work. These ups and downs have also kept me rooted because I would rather be under-rated than over-rated,” he says.
Sacred Games Season 2 will be streaming on Netflix from August 15, 2019
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Updated Date: Aug 12, 2019 16:07:38 IST