Masala.com catches Ranbir Kapoor in a talkative mood
by Noyon Jyoti Parasara
Being a Kapoor, an entry to the film industry might sound like a cakewalk. And truly enough, a number of Kapoor kids have ended up as actors. But as Ranbir Kapoor puts it, it takes more than just a surname to sustain here. He also talks about his family, people he is close to and his ambitions.
What are the accompaniments of being a part of the Kapoor family?
I am really proud to be a part of a family which has been contributing to Indian cinema for the last 75 years. I feel responsible that I need to carry forward a lineage. I can’t take it for granted. Whatever I am today has a lot to do with my family’s achievements. The good wishes that they have earned from the audience have passed on to me. But at the same time, I have to make my own name and identity. I cannot be called someone’s son and grandson always.
How close were you to Raj Kapoor?
I was very young when my grandfather expired. I was the only grandson in the family and hence he was very close to me. I don’t remember too many things about him but I think I got to know my grandfather more through his movies. He put a lot of himself in the movies he made. I am a bigger fan of him as a filmmaker than as an actor.
Are you close to Karisma and Kareena? Do you take advice from them on career matters?
We don’t get to interact as much but there is a lot of love and care. We usually meet at granddad’s house on Sundays or at parties. Whenever we meet we share a lot of things. There is a lot of positivity. About discussing films, I don’t even talk about my films with my parents. Because if I like something I will do it and if I do something wrong I should be fully responsible for it. My parents never forced me on anything. They want me to learn from my own mistakes.
Who is the person you are closest to in your family?
I am closest to my mom. I am also very close to my uncle Rajiv Kapoor. He loves me a lot and calls me every day. When he used to go out he would always get me gifts. I should not say this, but the first time I drank beer it was he who offered me. Also, the first time I went to a night club was with him. Whatever I have done in life, good or bad, I have always done with him around. We are very friendly.
You are probably the only newcomer who has managed to garner momentum towards achieving stardom. You think the expectations are largely because of your lineage?
Maybe the reasons are all of that. But I would really like to give some credit to my talent and hard work as well. At the same time I don’t feel that my competition is the new crop of actors who have come in around the same time as I have.
I am very ambitious and selfish as an actor. I want to be the biggest star in India and the world. I have to compete with the likes of Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan. I want my films to do as well as their films do. They have given so many super hits. The audience loves them and the characters they play. My effort is to work with good directors and do my best. With a little bit of luck and support from the audience I hope to reach there. They have given a lot and I am willing to give the same amount of hard work to my work as well.
Do you think you may take lesser time to reach the same level of stardom with the present day media glare?
I think so. There is also a disadvantage. The media glare has become so much that you read about an actor every day. The access is frequent and hence the mystery around a star goes out very fast. The actors of previous generations had longer careers because the audience used to wait for their films which would come once or twice a year. Now the audience gets to hear so much about these actors that they get bored. So you have to be intelligent enough to space out your films.
This year I have three films in three months but that is because of the strike. It is very important to work on one film at a time so that you are more responsible. There is a lot of competition with newcomers more talented than you coming in every day. You could be just a Friday star forgotten by the next week. So you got to work hard. But things are also easier today with newer tags like youth icon.
You have in fact already been labelled a youth icon…
I don’t agree that I can be a youth icon in two years. Youth icon is one who the youth look up to and want to follow. We can call Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan icons as we all like to be like them. Nobody aspires to be like me. They have the body of work that I would like to achieve myself.
All your films so far have been solo hero projects. Is that a conscious decision?
Yes it has been an intention. I am getting to work with good directors, in good scripts, where I am the lead and I am utilising it. However, I am not averse to multistarrers. ‘Rajneeti’ is a movie with a huge cast. I did the film because I believe in it and the character that was offered to me. It is a political thriller and a dark film. I was afraid if I will be able to carry it off but that scare was also the challenge that made me do it.
Could you tell us about ‘Rajneeti’?
I play a man not a boy in ‘Rajneeti’. His name is Samar Pratap. This is also the first time that I am playing a character with grey shades. The film has an impressive cast and a great director, Prakash Jha. He has a different style of filmmaking.
Stardom is accompanied by violation of privacy. Your comments?
If you are a celeb, people are going to talk about your personal life. I don’t like it but I cannot escape it. It is the freedom of the media. Sometimes it hurts me and sometimes it makes me happy. I have just started my career and it is important that people know me more for my work than my personal life. And more than me it is harassing for the girl. My parents don’t react but feel awkward. They have been in the industry for long and are supportive.
Do you have any plans of reviving the RK banner?
Yes of course. It is very important for me as a person that I make a film for the banner some day. It has been 10 years since the last film was made under the banner. Today I am an actor with definite amount of salability, so I can do a film for RK as an actor. But I want to direct and that is what I am passionate about. But I have to consolidate myself as an actor first and will need people to believe in me as an actor so that the bank will lend me money to make a film. If I direct a film I will definitely cast myself because I think among the actors in my age group, I would do it the best.
Will you be able to define the real Ranbir?
We play characters. You will not get to know me from my films. You have to know me in person and spend time with me. I would like to believe I am a good person. Whatever I do, I do it with my entire heart and I don’t have negativity towards anyone. I respect my elders and value people around me. My parents have ingrained family values in me. I guess I am pretty much like anyone else.
How does Ranbir react when bad times hit him… like when ‘Saawariya’ bombed?
When ‘Saawariya’ didn’t do well I was hit hard. There were a lot of expectations and then there was a lot of negativity towards the film. Somewhere I felt like an underdog after the film. The industry did support me a lot. All big banners came forward to sign me and no one has ever complained that I don’t know my work.
You play the president of a ‘happy club’ in ‘Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani’. Do you wish there was a happy club during difficult times in real life as well?
I wish I could open a happy club where I could help people. But for me happy club is the movies I do. And I hope I can spread happiness with the films I do. I think people have been really kind to me.