He looks as excited as a kid with a new toy as he signs autographs, poses with people at a meet and greet session, and gives interviews. And all this at about 11 in the morning, when he professes he went to sleep only towards 5 am.
So, it comes as a surprise when finally, after all that is over and he plonks himself down for a causal chat, Ranbir Kapoor declares, “I hate all this.” What, we ask? “Oh, this post production selling of the movie. I am on auto-pilot now. You ask me anything with a hint of question in it and I will promptly tell you about my role,” he laughs. “It has become an actor’s job these days – selling the movie, publicity, promotion. So, it’s almost a movie in itself. So it’s like I have made two movies – one in which I have acted, and the other one is a sort of travelling one, where I take it from city to city.”
Feeling the pressure? “The word pressure has been associated with me since Saawariya. First it was like the Kapoor kid, whether he will perform or not, then it was like will he make it, and then post Rockstar, it became will he live up to it, but I don’t take it to heart, or to my head. No tensions, I do my work, and leave the rest to whoever is there to take care of it. Yes, I want to carry forward my grandfather’s legacy, yes, I want to be known as a superstar, I want the love, the respect, the works. But all at my pace, and on my terms. I know that I am a phenomenal actor. I am not a superstar yet, but I will get there. You can call it my cockiness or arrogance, but I am capable of much, much more. I have only explored 5% of my talent right now. So, I will push myself, to work, work harder, and I will hope that one day, my personal life takes a backspace and my work begins to become the talk of the town,” says Ranbir, as he sips on cold coffee and contemplates what to have for lunch.
He settles for spaghetti carbonara as we ask him the next question. What phenomenon is he talking about? Does it come somewhere mid-career? “One grows with each film, I do. I learn, experiment, get things right, each time I am on the sets. And I know I can do better. And I can only think positive and hope for success. My grandmother once told me a story about my grandfather, Raj Kapoor. Of how, when Awaara had been released, he was called to Russia for a screening. He had gone there, the screening happened, and outside the theatre, more Russians were waiting to get a glimpse of him. There was a 10,000 strong crowd, so, he goes out, he waves, and he gets into the car. And the crowd carried the car till the hotel – it was not set down once! That is success, that is the kind of love and respect I aspire to attain. I want my work to do that to people,” says Ranbir.
But we do love him – we know everything about him, know who he is dating, who he went to party with… and more. Ranbir laughs. “I know, but thankfully, last year at least, like post Rockstar, people have spoken of my work as well, and asked me about my work, taking me more seriously as an actor, so that’s reassuring and great. But come on yaar, I am 29, about to turn 30. I work hard, I am successful, I am not married, I am a heterosexual, so if I do take someone out on a date, or go for coffee with someone sometime, where’s the harm? Isn’t that what every single person would do? It’s like I am the only person who does it on earth, huge headlines, and all.”
Doesn’t he know superstars don’t have private lives? “Well, sometimes in the mornings when I open the paper, I am like, ‘Shit, how did they know that?’ or like ‘This is utter rubbish, where do they get these stories from?’ But I know that as long as I know what I am doing, and my parents aren’t ashamed of me, I am cool, the rest of all this doesn’t bother me.” He doesn’t crave privacy? “No, I don’t. All this mobbing, wanting autographs, tearing off clothes… it’s like the the real report card for an actor. That is the test, the exam we have to pass, it is the testimony of our popularity. I wouldn’t like it tomorrow if nobody wants my autographs, or wants to get clicked with me, or the crowd doesn’t wave back at me. This adulation is what every actor secretly craves, let me tell you.”
Finally, are you single? Or dating? Or figuring things out? What? “I am more single than the word single. I don’t know what to do when I am not on the sets, working. You know, in more ways than one, the phrase Jeena Yahan, Marna Yahaan fits me and my work. I have fun on the sets, I have people around me, everything. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to fall in love, get married and all. All in good time. I am not going out seeking girls, I believe when it has to happen, it will happen. For now, I am happy visiting my sister in Delhi, and playing with the new love of my life, my darling, adorable niece Samara.”