As actors, you are emotionally undressing yourself

1 year ago by in Headlines, Interviews, Tamasha Tagged:

Ranbir Kapoor hasn’t had a hit in two years, but tell him that it doesn’t seem to have affected his star status – the brands and the fans are all in place – and he says that even though that’s because of the work he’s done in the past eight years, he’s acutely aware of the question mark looming over his bankable status right now.

And oh, he doesn’t believe in the word ‘bankable star,’ because, “if the Khans have to prove themselves, who am I?” After a much-hyped overnight train journey to promote his next, Tamasha, the actor spoke to us about how acting is like “emotionally undressing yourself,” about the ‘Kapoor’ name not being a mixed blessing at all, and wanting to be a bit of a mystery for the next 20 years (“It’s okay, call me a Casanova, I won’t deny it!”). Excerpts:

How many times have you been on a train for real? 

Main ek baar jab football team mein tha, we went to play the Anglo Indians, toh hum Devlali gaye thay, jo 8 ghante ka safar thapoore football team ke saath. That’s one train ride I remember. Across the world, I have been on lots of trains, in Switzerland, Paris, London. When I studied in New York, I used to take the subway everyday to school. I’ve been on the local train in Mumbai, when I was in college. But this was my first big experience, from Mumbai to Delhi, bahut hi khaas safar tha.

Your last hit was Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, which was two years ago, and in the middle you had two big films that didn’t work – Besharam and Bombay Velvet. And Tamasha, given its genre, and that it’s an Imtiaz film with you and Deepika in it, is less likely to fail than an experimental film. Does that make you wary of experimenting or trying something audacious? 

Not at all. Actually, when I did Besharam, I wasn’t really experimenting, that was the most cliched, formulaic film I could ever do. It was your commercial masala genre, but I failed in that. Where Bombay Velvet is also concerned, it was a step in that direction, to make entertaining films, because we make films for an audience. So, the constant search or the constant desire is there to do different stuff, to not become a prototype of myself so soon in my career. I don’t want to start copying myself, doing the same character and the same genre. I hope I can keep breaking the clutter of a certain prototype that people are thinking of me.

But playing, say, Sid, is definitely easier than playing Johnny Balraj. If Sid works, and Johnny doesn’t, does it make you wary of doing more varied characters? 

I think Johnny didn’t work not because… the sole reason was that it wasn’t a good film. The story was not something people connected with, you know, it wasn’t engaging. If it was a great story, maybe they would like it. A lot of people come and tell me that they liked a film of mine called Rocket Singh – that was such a big disaster, people could not connect with it. But that doesn’t mean I get disheartened and start doing things which are in my comfort zone.

I think it is very important to break comfort levels and try different genres, different characters.

As actors, which is the more comfortable genre – when a director has a completely drawn-out vision and he says do this exactly to the T, or when he says, okay, this is your space, take it from here?

I think as actors you have to be adaptable to both methods. Because there are different methods of storytelling, there are different minds… A film is not made by just one person, it’s made by 30-40 people, and they all have to become one, it has to be a marriage of all different thoughts becoming one. Then a good film will take shape. As actors, you have to be adaptable and constantly keep changing. Like, Imtiaz was very different during Rockstar. He had a certain vision, it was easier to do a character like that because it had the trappings of a character. But when we do a film like Tamasha, which is Ved and Tara, it is harder because they are more human. They’re more real, more organic. So he’s shot the entire film also in a more linear way. We started from the first scene, and the last day of the shoot was the last scene, we went in that order. So every film has a different procedure.

But your comfort level with a director, is that a factor in how you finally…

It’s the most important. I think there has to be deep respect and love for the director, and the director has to have that for you. Because as actors, you are emotionally undressing yourself. You know, you’re getting so naked, that you have to trust the person that he’s using your emotions in the right way. That he’s using them in an impactful way and not in a manipulative way. And I think with Imtiaz, both of us have that trust, that if he’s asking for something, it has a real impact of you feeling a certain emotion.

You haven’t had a hit in two years, but your star status doesn’t seem to be affected by it. You’re still one of the top brand endorsers and you still pull in the same crowds wherever you go. Why do you think that is, and is that a comforting factor when a film doesn’t do well?

Yes, of course. But that’s also an amalgamation of the hard work I’ve put in, in the last eight years. Having said that, the reality is that in the film industry, you’re always known for your last film. Not what you’ve done before that. The Khans have to constantly prove themselves, who am I? I have been lucky, I have good blessings, probably a good backlog of films. But I understand that my position right now is quest… there is a certain trust that I had achieved from the audience, when they said, ‘Okay, Ranbir’s done this film, let’s watch it. It could be good’. But right now, there is a question mark – he’s doing bad films. And of course, it’s very important to win that trust again. I have to reinvent myself, work harder, choose the right films. But that is a process that all of us actors – the best of us – have to go through. And it’s very important to go through that grind and start from scratch again.

The pressure is more perhaps from the industry than your audience… 

No, no, pressure is not just from the industry. You see, films are an expensive medium. Because of my last two-three film outings, a lot of people have lost money on me, and I feel responsible for that. I feel like the distributors, exhibitors, theatre owners, the audience has paid money to watch my film, and I think they’ve all been a bit let down. So, in that regard, I feel that I have to reciprocate more than required. You know, time is a little shaky for me right now, and I would like to believe that. I don’t live in a fool’s paradise, I don’t have yes-men around me, and I don’t take my work for granted. So, I do understand the importance of Tamasha working at the box office. Where my credibility as an actor is, I think I have somewhere proved that. I have moved away from the fact that I’m a star son. When I started, people said that oh, he’s a star son, star son. Then you have to work hard and make a name for yourself. And now, some people address my father as Ranbir Kapoor’s father, and it feels great. So, that’s my credibility as an actor. And when a Yeh Jawaani comes, people say, now he’s a star. But then the next two-three films don’t match up to that hype, so your stocks go down. We’re like stocks too. I have to work my stocks up again, win the audience’s respect and trust.

Is being part of a big name a mixed blessing in the industry? 

No, not at all. Firstly, I don’t know any other way. The reason why I’m here is because of my family, because of my great-grandfather. And now it’s been 85 years that my entire family has been working in the movies. So this is all that we know. But no, there are no disadvantages, at all. It’s only an advantageous situation, for me.

You’re not very vocal about your charity initiatives – for example, it was Poorna Jagannathan who revealed that you were one of the first contributors to the Nirbhaya play, but there’s no publicity from your side…

I think charity is a very personal thing. And charity is a very selfish thing – I have the means, so I’ll contribute X amount, but I am only feeling good about myself. Charity is something you do for other people and not take the blessings, or not take the good karma. I don’t believe in that kind of charity. So if I can, in any way – monetarily, or physically – help somebody, I’m trying to do that somewhere with cinema, I’m trying to influence people in the right way. But where monetary charity is concerned, that’s just something… like what… I have given somebody X amount, I mean, what do I say? ‘I have XYZ, and I’ve given away X’ – it doesn’t make sense. And there is room for doing so much more, because we have the time, the means, the influence. So, yes, with time, I want to do something which is impactful, fruitful. But as of right now, I just don’t want to do something because it’s the thing to do. I have to feel something.

You have been talking about being responsible for the money riding on you. What makes for a ‘bankable’ star?

I don’t think a bankable star actually exists. Because growing hair on a bald head, and having a formula for success in movies, is impossible. Every actor who is making successful films, for instance, Deepika, she’s doing it with hard work, she’s doing it with a lot of other factors coming in. So you can’t say this person is a bankable star and every project this person will do, for the rest of their life, will have a certain minimum guarantee. So I don’t believe in the word ‘bankable star’.

It was while promoting Rockstar that you were surprisingly frank about a lot of things, including problems growing up and about your family. As you grew into your stardom, did you start keeping quieter about things and opinions close to you?

No, but that’s as much as I can reveal about myself, about my personality. It’s been, what, four years since Rockstar and that interview. I had things to say, and I said them. Even today, I’m not trying to guard myself. If you ask me a question, which churns an emotion and brings out an answer, I will answer. I won’t try to escape it. So yeah, it’s phases in life. Maybe I’ve told you guys as much as there is to me. And this next phase of my life, I have to suck in a little bit more of life, a little bit more of exposure, experience. Failure will teach me, other things will teach me, and maybe after three years I can give you another interview which is ‘explosive’. But right now this is as much as there is to me.

Over the years, the media has put you into either of the two opposite brackets – the player, or the intense brooder. Which one of the two annoys you more? 

To be honest, as much as I want to be real, I also want to, kind of, be a little bit of a mystery. You know, if you call me a Casanova, I’ll not say I’m not one. If you call me a player, or an intense, brooding person, it’s okay! Keep calling me other things, I still have another 15-20 years for you guys to completely discover me! If you discover me right now, the joy of being somebody dies out too soon. So, yeah, it’s okay. Call me anything you want!

Deepika: Ranbir will be very disappointed if anyone can understand him, discover him completely. He’ll be very disappointed!

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hindi/bollywood/news/Ranbir-Kapoor-As-actors-you-are-emotionally-undressing-yourself/articleshow/49908050.cms?mobile=no#_ga=1.84091737.1361720083.1446890932