I’ve never been this single in my life: Ranbir Kapoor
But he is now ready for a relationship, says Ranbir Kapoor, as he talks about women, work and more
Ranbir Kapoor has emerged from self-imposed exile. The 29-year-old actor has lately been in the news for all the wrong reasons (read: women), and so he’s cleaned up his act. Either that or he’s gotten really discreet. There have been no new link-ups for months. He wants to be known for his work. A new film is up for release and he doesn’t want anything to take the focus away from it. That’s one of the reasons why he skipped both arch-rival Imran Khan and ex-girlfriend Deepika Padukone’s recent housewarming parties. He wants nothing to take away from his work. Somewhere in the interview, he says, “I’ve been called the next best thing for far too long. It is now time to deliver.”
RK is currently single and successful. He’s on the threshold of something new and exciting on the personal and professional front. He tells us more.
How have things changed since we last spoke two years ago, apart from the number of women you’ve been with?
Things haven’t changed and I’m pretty much the same guy. I live in the same house, I sleep on the same bed. The only thing that’s changed is that I’ve got the opportunity to work with directors like Imtiaz (Ali) and Anurag (Basu). So hopefully I’ve grown as an actor and as a person. I can now take things forward as I’ve been working for three and a half years.
You went into a shell after your last release. Why?
Wake Up Sid (This should be Anjaana Anjaani) didn’t do well; I didn’t have anything to say. Secondly, there was a barrage of negativity that had enveloped me. I’m not saying I was a victim. Maybe I was wrong, maybe I wasn’t…who’s to tell? But I just felt I should concentrate on my work and stay away from the negativity, as it might seep into my work.
I have two important films in the form of Rockstar and Barfee, and I just wanted to focus all my energies there. I thought that the need to contradict and clarify every allegation or rumour wasn’t worth it. Channelling my energies into work was a better call.
By negativity you mean all the link ups right? There wasn’t anything else….
Well there were link ups and the Koffee with Karan episode. There was lot of things which probably happened in that six months span. I guess I was naive before, now am not. I understand what the bigger picture is and what’s really important. All the rest are just the frills which get attached to you as an actor, but it’s all in the passing. At the end it’s your movie and your performance that stands out. So if I am a good actor, and if am being part of good entertaining engaging films, audiences will like me. What I was afraid was that people will probably form a judgment about what they read about me, and they will stop liking me as a person. I think that’s really unfair. I am not saying that everything is untrue but what is written is exaggerated and glamorized. That is not exactly how our lives are, our lives are quite ordinary. I hadn’t gone away into a shell I was just working.
Were you upset, hurt, angry, with the stuff being written and spoken about you?
I remember telling my friends about it, I didn’t feel anything. After I began shooting for Rockstar, I become a very detached person. It is because of certain emotions attached to this character, working with Imitiaz… He’s so inspiring and motivating as a director that you kind of want to submit to him. You want to bare yourself. Also I feel post the movie for four months I kind of went into somewhat of a depression. Not because of what was happening in my life, but because of the character I played. You know before when I used to hear things like Heath Ledger killing himself because of his character, I used to think, ‘I am an actor and it doesn’t go to that extent.’ I am not saying my work is on that extent or on that superior quality level, but I understand now how important these experiences are as an actor. Because this is what is creatively satisfying in this line, it’s not the awards, it’s not the box office collection, or the money. It’s the experience that a movie or character takes you, it’s the kind of people that you meet, it’s the kind of friends that you make…
You seem to be mature for your age…
I am not that young you know, I am 29 years of age today.
And you’ve achieved quite a bit already. Does it make you vain?
I have never been vain. I don’t take myself seriously. I don’t consider myself sexy or good looking. I think there are 10 actors in this industry, or 10 waiting to get in the industry that are way better looking than me. I know I am very talented, and a damn good actor. I am vain about my work, not about superficial things. I am not vain about being tagged the next big thing or chick magnet. If a certain actress says, ‘I like Ranbir Kapoor’s work,’ I am vain about that, but if a certain actress says, ‘I find Ranbir Kapoor sexy,’ I find that stupid.
You are working again with Deepika, is it going to be awkward?
Not at all. See me and Deepika have only worked in one fourth of a film that is Bachna Ae Haseeno. Post that we were in a relationship and now we are not. She has moved on with her life, I have moved on in mine. We are in a very positive place. We are not best friends, but a healthy conversation can happen whenever we meet or speak on the phone.
No residual feelings?
Well, you don’t come into a movie thinking I am going to get with this person. You come into the movie because you like this character, and then the director casts the film. Ayan felt Deepika is best for the role so he cast her. He asked me if I had a problem. I said no. I will never have a problem working with anybody. I will even work with a man if he dresses up like a woman, because it’s my job. I am here to act. If I am doing a kissing scene, I am not feeling it. It’s an act. I have to be detached otherwise how can I ever marry a girl, and then how will she trust me. It’s your job as an actor and you get paid lots of money to make everything convincing and believable. I understand the nature of the job; I understand how important it is to kind of have chemistry with an actress. Our Indian audience likes romance. I also understand the baggage that I and Deepika carry before coming into this film; there is a pre conceived notion about us because of our relationship. That’s been a movie in itself. So I hope we can start afresh as two actors coming into this movie with fresh energies and make the love story of our generation.
One gets a feeling after you split with Deepika, you decided not to get into a serious relationship, is that true?
I don’t know if it’s true, but I am not in a hurry to be in a relationship. When I and Deepika met, we were very young, everything was right and we started seeing each other. I realize the value of a relationship and commitment, but I am not frivolously dating. I have been very single; I have not been this single in my entire life. I work with glamorous actresses, and I get linked to them, that’s about it. It never filters into my real life. I am not looking for love, at the same time I am not-not looking for a relationship. If it comes organically, great. That’s the best way for it to happen. You cannot have an agenda, that now I want to be in a relationship, and I am ready for it.
You are having a release after long, does the Friday fear get worse?
Right now there’s still time, it’s releasing on the 11th of November so maybe as we get closer, I will feel it. I have given a lot to this film. I feel Rockstar is special, I will feel very dejected if it doesn’t work. Right now I am too excited but maybe when it’s out there for judgment I will get jitters. When some ten people say something really bad a song, or a promo.
But no one will tell you bad things to your face
Thankfully, I have not surrounded myself by ‘yes’ people. I have friends around me who will tell me the truth. These people are honest and I respect their opinion. Apart from that, my father is very honest, he calls a spade as a spade, so I kind of gauge from his reaction.
Lets talk about Rockstar
It’s a love story, it’s predominantly a classic love story and it’s a musical journey of this musician. In life we all have that one person, who they deeply love, and that person has the ability to destroy you. But that also makes us the person who we are. Rockstar is about that person’s journey.
What about the film made you go through the depressed phase?
Not only me, I think all those attached to this film, loved it so much and gave so much of ourselves to it that we became empty. It wasn’t that it was a tragedy, it was just that we felt a void. After the film was, I felt there was nothing left inside me. I think I grew up, I aged, or at least I feel I did.
Are you happy with where you are professionally?
I am grateful. I got a reality check when I came into this industry, I got more than I deserved. I got a lot of support from the media, the industry, the people, because I am from a certain family. All that propelled me into a place. Right now I know I am at a stage of my career where I really have to prove myself. I really have to push the envelope. I have been hearing this tag of the ‘next superstar’ and ‘the next best thing’ for quite some time. I think it’s high time that I become that person. I can’t always have this expectation around me that I will become, if I am not becoming that right now then there’s something going wrong. So while I am grateful for where I am, I have lots more to achieve. I am quite detached to this next best thing tag. It doesn’t mean anything unless you are the best thing. The next best thing doesn’t matter. The next best thing could be someone out of the blue, I am aware of that.
What was your personal expectation, when you started out?
When I started out I didn’t realize what stardom, what a superstar is, for me it was just the enjoyment of being in the movies early on getting the chance of working with Mr. Bhansali. He really grounded me a lot, because it wasn’t a cushioned effort, we really worked hard. He gave me a good reality check earlier on. My first film was a big disaster, so that also early on made me realize okay it’s not that easy. It’s not an easy job. I want to be the biggest star in this country, but I know how much time it takes, I know the kind of body of work you are meant to do, the kind of sacrifices you are meant to make, and I am ready for it. Movies are right on top of my priority list. And I don’t want to just achieve what a certain superstar in this country has achieved, I don’t want to have a barometer of success compared to that. I want to go much higher than that. I want to direct movies, I want to produce movies, and I want to act in them. I want to do a lot. It could sound like an immature statement right now because these are just words, unless I don’t back it up by some action, it doesn’t make sense.
What does stardom mean to you?
I have seen stardom in my family. I have seen my father being a very popular leading hero and I have seen him in that transitional phase, when he ceased to become the most important man on a set, and become a character actor. When you sit at home after working hard for 30 years, it’s very hard. So I know am not stupid and I know that yahaan chadthe suraj ko salaam karte hain. If you are popular, you will have people around you, and everything you desire, and tomorrow if your films are not doing well, everyone will go away. You just need to know who are the important people, the ones who matter. And you need to have a life beyond films. You have to spend that time with family, meet friends, and have certain people who will take you away from this reel glamorous world… Sometimes we lose ourselves, we become part of another world, and small things cease to matter.
Respect, if you can earn that. Money has never been my drive. I have never seen the shortage of money in my life, so for me I don’t want to buy a silk pillow or a private jet…. My drive is to achieve more than what my grandfather achieved, my drive is to make a name for myself, get rid of this star son tag that has been attached to me. I hope that people can remember my work individually for my talent and not call me a star-son. It really irritates me when people say, ‘he’s been lucky born with a silver spoon in his mouth.’ Because it is sarcastic. I understand that others have struggled a lot, but I have my own struggles. I don’t take my work for granted, I don’t have a chip on my shoulder.
Have you managed to keep yourself real?
I am trying to. It’s a struggle, but I realize the value of it. Sometimes I lie on the bed and just scroll down my phone contacts and am wondering who do to call, which friend to hang out with. You get so taken up by your work, that you stop hanging out friends and then it’s unfair to call them when you want to connect. It’s like using them. You either maintain a relationship consistently, or don’t do it. Because if you call them when you are free, then it’s selfish and you end up hurting the other person.
Who are the people who keep you grounded?
My parents, my school friends who are not in movies. Also, I believe that humility is an artiste’s greatest virtue and I don’t take it seriously when some treat me like a star and say amazing things about me. Even now, when I go to a public place, and see so many people crowding to see me, I think that they are acting and this is not right, they are playing a game, and it’s bizarre. I don’t take stardom or success seriously and I don’t take failure to heart.
Do you remember your first celebrity moment?
I guess I was treated like a celebrity from the moment I was born. In school you are always tagged as star son and given that attention. You become the cynosure of everyone’s eyes really early in life and you get used to it. I didn’t have a choice. My real celeb moment was when we were promoting Saawariya I remember I had gone to Hyderabad and when I came out of the theatre and suddenly many young women pounced on me and tore my clothes. I got really scared, Sonam who with me, started crying. I just felt it was really weird. Of course, I enjoyed it, I mean these are the things you really strive for when you want to become an actor. You want to win a Filmfare award, you want to sing songs in Switzerland, you want to endorse Pepsi, and get your clothes torn.
Do you ever miss being just a regular guy?
Yes, I do a lot, but I cannot be ungrateful for what I have. I love what I do, I love the position that I am in, I love the fact that directors want to work with me, I get to romance such beautiful girls on screen, I get to make my parents proud, and I get to be on a film set every day. I cannot ask for more. But yes, I do miss the privacy of going to a coffee shop, book store and not being watched and judged all the time, but it’s fine. If they didn’t look at me, that would be worse, I am an actor that’s what has to come with it.