TOI interview with the Tamasha couple.
Deepika Padukone is on top of her game right now. Ranbir Kapoor’s past few film choices may have come in the way of his superstardom, but there is no doubt that he is the best actor the industry has and it’s just a matter of time that he attains his superstardom.
Ranbir and Deepika have been in a relationship together in the past, but today, they have moved on and are both happy in their respective relationships. Yes, they share one of the most electric chemistries onscreen together, yes they care for each other, but above all, they are both strong, independent individuals who are ambitious about their career and responsible towards their work. They bring out the best in each other onscreen and make for a commercially exciting film. Excerpts from a conversation with these ex-lovers who have today become mature friends and co-stars.
How difficult was it for the both of you to work with each other, given your relationship in the past?
Deepika: It was not difficult at all. I think we are very fortunate, because given that we are very passionate about our work and given the equation that we have, there has never been any sort of awkwardness as we both know how to separate the two.
Ranbir: I have worked with almost every actress in film industry, but when I work with Deepika, there is a certain sense of respect I have where her work is concerned or her as a person or her journey. There is a sense of admiration and respect but no awkwardness. I think we both are ambitious and owe it to our work and understand the value we both bring to the movie. We are examples of breaking that stereotypical syndrome that people who have shared a relationship in the past cannot work together.
Deepika, do you still love Ranbir?
Of course I do. I don’t think that every feeling has to be broken down as I don’t believe that emotions are unidimensional anyway. Feelings and emotions are very layered. He is someone I have always loved and someone I will always be extremely possessive about and very protective about. When I read about him, when I see his work, good bad whatever it is, I have my own monologue that is going on in my head and which I do share with him. I might even pick up the phone and talk to him immediately. There was a phase he was going through where I felt that his behaviour had changed a bit (I didn’t know it was intentional or had he become that person or it was misinterpreted). But it bothered me a lot. We are not in each other’s lives to know whether the change was permanent or it was completely fabricated. But the point is the things about him that were being reported, I felt that I had the right to pick up the phone on him and tell him that what was going on was not correct. Similarly with his film, the minute I see his work, I will tell him. Likewise, he will see my films and tell me what he liked and what he didn’t like. I can pick up the phone on him and say that why did you do Besharam. Of course, we are individual people at the end of the day and will still do what we have to do, but we have that comfort with each other where we can say that to each other.
Ranbir: I remember we were no longer together that time but before she had signed Cocktail, she was still living at her old home and me and Ayan had gone to her house and after everyone left, I had a conversation with her. She was confused and I remember telling her that she had a potential to be a very big animal in this industry. I didn’t think that Cocktail was the right film for her and I even told her that but she was clear about her choice. But the point is that she had given me the leeway to tell her that.
Ranbir, do you love Deepika?
Yes of course. The amount of love I have for Deepika is like family. It’s very warm, it’s about care, about being proud of her. The facet of love, care and respect has changed but changed for the better. It’s not your immature I love her kind of feeling. It’s mature and that’s come with age. Also, we have both positively moved on with our lives.
Ranbir, what qualities of Deepika do you like the most?
Her values that come from her parents. She can many a times say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing, be obnoxious, can be rude, can be sweet but, it’s all coming from a place of organic sense of things, I don’t think she is ever saying something because somebody else has said it. It’s coming from what she thinks and she is very positive. If you are doing an interview or a scene with her there is a lot of care she will take for her co-actor or director. She does not have a hero-centric mind and is not a superstar who likes to steal the limelight from others.
What don’t you like about her?
That she is a flirt. That she is working too much and should not burn herself out. She should take more holidays and breaks and should reserve herself, which she has started doing now.
Deepika, what do you like the most about Ranbir?
There are more things I don’t like than like about him. I like that he is very very respectful towards people. He is also someone who does not get visibly affected by people and by situations. He is someone who can detach.
Deepika, what don’t you like about Ranbir?
The fact that you can’t pin point what he is feeling or thinking all the time. At least that was my experience at the time when we were together. I couldn’t really figure him out completely. I am not saying that he is not an emotional person or sensitive person. He must be but it doesn’t come out and it’s not visible. I wish he expressed more.
Who is more emotional between the both of you?
Ranbir: Not necessarily. It’s just that I don’t know how to express myself. I don’t have an outlet yet. I don’t know if there is something wrong in my brain as I have not figured myself out to express myself yet. I am still struggling with that. I don’t know whether it is a mental disease or a handicap. I do feel things but don’t know how to express or address it.
Deepika, over the years of your knowing him, has Ranbir changed in any way?
He has matured a lot. But in that maturity, I feel he has gone even more into his shell. Also, now he has a lot more clarity about his decisions and how he wants to live his life.
Ranbir, has Deepika changed over the years?
Yes, she has changed in terms of her level of confidence and her exuberance. There is a shine and aura that has now developed around her and that is something she deserves as she has earned it.
Amongst the working actors (barring Amitabh Bachchan), who do you rate the best three actors (note actors and not stars)?
Deepika: Ranbir, Irrfan, Ranveer.
Ranbir: Deepika, Anushka, Alia.
Tell us about Tamasha?
Tamasha means ‘Spectacle’, the spectacle we make of our lives. In the film, two people go on a holiday, they meet, they decide to have fun at an amazing place, they decide to be different people and decide that they will not spoil it with identities and burden it with pressures of making out, of being together in a relationship or having a sexual relationship. Post the holiday, they both decide to go their own separate ways. After 3 years, the girl realises that she is still in love with him. While she has dated other people, she realises that there is something special in that guy. She does not know him but finds out that he is in Delhi. She goes to find him but when she sees him, he is a different animal. He has become a robot and has become the worst side of himself. He is doing chamchagiri of his boss in the most idiotic way and there is no passion in him. She hates him and when he proposes to her, she tells him, ‘No, I don’t want to be with you. I was waiting for that guy.’ She leaves him, ruins his life and she disturbs him inside. Now it’s about his metamorphosis and him realising what this girl has said, and how she becomes his inspiration to realise what he does. And it’s a happy ending.
Director Imtiaz Ali is a person very dear to the both of you. Talk about working with him?
Ranbir: Imtiaz is someone who has broken down himself with this film. He is such a successful director and has made both intelligent and entertaining films but he chooses to not become a prototype of his own movies. When he made a Highway, he understands its reach. Rockstar was not a widely accepted film and he accepted and understands all that. For me, to just see that endeavour to be the best version of himself is very inspiring. He is a very big director and can easily make big commercial happy films, but he is still taking risks in the engaging format of cinema and I have a lot of respect for that quality of his.
Deepika: My equation with Imtiaz is beyond my actor-director relationship. He is in a large way responsible for who I have become today both as an actor and as a person. He was the one who kept knocking and saying that there is more to you as a person than you are being, let yourself go. He figured me out even better than I knew myself or that I knew myself but didn’t want to accept it or come out of that shell.
Given that Tamasha is an expensive film, is there an expectation for you from the box office number?
Deepika: As an actor, the only way I can give back to a big budget film, an Imtiaz Ali film, is to be honest to my performance and then to promote it in the way your producer wants you to. The numbers will follow if it has to, but as an actor, there is only that much you can do.
Ranbir: Box office numbers are very important but I did a film called Rocket Singh — Salesman Of The Year, which makes great sense to me. We all chase numbers but once you make people happy, the numbers will follow.
Will we see you both in a film together in the future?
Ranbir: We both have our identities because of our hard work and don’t want that to be burdened with our history. I don’t want to lose the opportunity to work with her due to headlines about us. I understand the value she brings to a film not just commercially but also to my performance.