Within two-and-a-half years of being in the industry, he has emerged on the top with the sheer strength of his performance, charisma and sex appeal. To add to that, he’s also a hit with brands that are queuing up to sign him on as their ambassador. But recently, Ranbir Kapoor turned down two endorsements. While one is a denim company, the other is a big name in suiting and shirting.
Apparently, the money for the suiting endorsement wasn’t good enough. And the other brand was a not-too-expensive low-end label in denim. “Akshay Kumar is the ambassador for the high-end range and his contract with the company is still going good. Not pleased with the deal, Ranbir preferred to walk out. Considering that he’s getting good positioning with other brands, why should he opt for less?” says a source in the advertising circuit.
The price ‘Game’
It is believed that Kapoor charges six to eight crore, per brand, per year. The latest news is that Pepsi, the brand that he has signed on after it parted ways with Shah Rukh Khan, has spent an unprecedented Rs 35 crore on their newest campaign, The Game. At a conference to announce The Game, which goes on air today, Punita Lal, executive director, Marketing, PepsiCo India, admitted, “We’ve spent the highest amount of money on this campaign, something that we haven’t spent on any star’s campaign before.”
Ask the Youngistan ambassador if he’s flattered to have replaced SRK who endorsed the brand for over a decade and he says, “Not at all. I don’t think I’ve replaced anyone. I grew up watching Shah Rukh Khan’s films and ads. That’s when I started loving the brand. He is a huge superstar. I’m just taking his legacy forward. Seeing all that he’s done for the brand and all that the brand has done for him, I’m just making
whatever contribution I can.”
Though the the campaign’s budget could easily produce a film, Kapoor says that he doesn’t think the money is riding on him. “The Game is a concept that is entertaining and engaging. It involves gaming, something I haven’t seen in any ad. They are taking a risk and pushing boundaries,” he says, adding that he feels the responsibility of the campaign on his shoulders.
Known to prepare for every role, Kapoor reveals that he did his homework for this one too: “Apart from working on the look of the character, I also had to ensure that my movements were swift despite the harness. It’s also the first time that I’ve used it and it’s not easy making body movements smoothly. One shouldn’t say, ‘Oh, he’s taken the support of the harness.’ We did a lot of rehearsals and I’m glad we got the desired results.”
Action role play
Point out to him that he seems to be doing more action in the campaign than in his movies so far and he agrees. “Yes, I’ve only romanced heroines so far. This is the first time I’m doing some really slick action. I also see it as a preparation to do some good action films in the future. Since the commercials are about 20-odd seconds each, the action is not as extensive as it would be in a film. Nonetheless, it was a lot of fun,” he exults.
When asked whether we’ll hear of him being flooded with action roles after his thrill-a-minute campaign, Kapoor says he’s hopeful. “As an actor, I must dabble in every genre. Since I haven’t got an action film yet, I look forward to doing one. Hopefully, I’ll get some good action roles in the coming months,” he enthuses.
I don’t want to get typecast: Ranbir Kapoor
Your trend of doing a mixed bag of films continues this year too…
Yes. My next release is Prakash Jha’s Rajneeti, a political thriller with an ensemble cast. Then, there’s Anjana Anjani, directed by Siddharth Raj Anand with Priyanka Chopra. I’ll soon be starting Imtiaz Ali’s film, tentatively titled, Rock Star. Then I have a movie with Anurag Basu, where I’m playing a deaf and mute character.
You must have learnt a lot about the deaf and the mute while working as Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s assistant for Black…
Absolutely. We visited the Helen Keller institute in Vashi, got some exposure on how they live. The character is a normal guy with this disability.
I’m putting the same amount of preparation and hard work for Imtiaz’s film, for which I’m getting the nuances right to play a Delhi ‘Jaath’ boy and also learning to play the guitar. I have to get the body language and the flavour of the character right as well. Every film requires a certain amount of prep work. That makes the character believable and relatable for the audience. They can connect with you because they have seen such characters in their lives, so they enjoy watching the story even more.
You’re also very selective and careful about the kind of movies you do…
That’s my right as an actor. I don’t think I can multi-task on many films at the same time. When I’m working on one film at a time, I can give it my all, which is needed since cinema is changing and progressing continuously. Besides, I can’t think two characters at a time.
Talk was that your father, Rishi Kapoor, was planning to direct a movie with you under the family banner, RK Films.
That was just a rumour. Whenever my dad wants to direct, it will be under the RK banner, no doubt. And of course, I’d love to act in it.
Your romantic films have done better than others. Is that a coincidence since your father had a romantic hero’s image?
Frankly, I don’t want to get typecast. I’m 27. I want to do roles that I think I can carry off convincingly. Wake Up Sid was a coming-of-age film and I don’t think Rocket Singh was a romantic film either. Saawariya was, to a certain extent, while Ajab Prem Ki Ghajab Kahaani was more of a comedy. Yes, romance is something I’ve grown up watching and something I’m interested in doing. I guess every actor goes through a phase and right now, I’m going through one, where these kinds of subjects interest me.
You started as an assistant director, so it’s understood that you will direct a movie too…
I do aspire to be a director some day. I’m very passionate about filmmaking. But first, I have to consolidate myself as an actor, before my family lets me step behind the camera. It’s very important for a director to have something to tell. If he doesn’t have a story to tell, I don’t think he should make a movie.
Do you feel the pressure of being heralded as the superstar of your generation?
I don’t feel the pressure, because I don’t pay any attention to it. I wake up, go to work and come back home. I love the fact that I’ve been a part of good films, under great directors and wonderful co-actors. I feel humbled by the way people perceive me.
On Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif and Priyanka Chopra…
That does bother me. I think it’s unfair to the girl, her family and also to me and my family…. That creates a perception in people’s minds: ‘Okay, so this person might be like this and that..’ But that’s not true. More than half the things you read and hear about yourself is fabricated. I’m not saying everything is, but yes, most of it is.
I’m saying it’s reached the point where I label it terrorism, because it terrorises us.
I feel scared to read the papers in the morning, worrying what’s written in them today. I truly feel that people should be talking more about our work than our personal lives.
On the Kishore Kumar biopic…
Honestly, I think I’ve been fortunate in that case. My dad never really had a particular style; he’s quite a natural actor. And you can’t compare spontaneity.
When an actor has a particular style, and his son makes his debut, people say that the son has his father’s style.
My dad is a natural on screen, that’s something I learnt from him, yes, but I’ve never copied him per se. There were lots of expectations during Saawariya; there was a lot of pressure. But I didn’t see it because I’m very passionate about being an actor, being in the movies.
The fact that I can be a part of it, I can work in such interesting films that I’m working on, feels great.
On parental guidance and advice…
Even though my parents have been in the industry, they don’t give me any direct advice. They do share their experiences, but have never forced any opinion on how to do this and how not to do that. They let me learn from my mistakes and grow as a person, they let me enjoy my success and also take the blame for my failure. If I’ve done something wrong, they tell me that it was wrong and point out he reasons. They also assert that I’ve grown up and I have the right to make my own decisions.
Although they don’t talk too much about the rumours they read or hear, I can sense that it does embarrass them. I share a very friendly rapport with them and like everyone else, my parents too understand everything, but don’t always show that they are embarrassed.