Ranbir Kapoor is working on his dream, a piece of forever. He is hard at work trying to create not just movies, but cinema. We find him waiting patiently for his shot while Ayan Mukerji sets up what would be the penultimate scene of YJHD. We sit down to talk about YJHD and its moments. There is a certain sense of ease as he bares his thoughts for his fans, not structuring his answers to a question, but just narrating. Meandering through the memories of YJHD, piecing together moments he shared with the cast and crew, we try to bring you answers to the questions that you asked of him. We say “try” because sometimes there’s not one particular answer to a question or rather any answer. Sometimes you just have to let the moments be. A big thank you to every single fan of RK out there for being a part of these moments that we share here. So without further ado, here’s presenting RK and his new muse YJHD!
How is your jaawani treating you? Has it actually been deewani lately (for something, someone)?
My jawaani has somewhat gone into the making of my movies. It sounds like a very serious, boring answer but that is the truth. Everything related to my life in the last five years has come out of the movies and it’s been great. I am really grateful for everything that has happened so far, but there is a lot of hunger, a lot of search and its good. Life is good, parents are proud, I am happy, and my mind is occupied with positive thoughts. I believe I have crossed jawaani, I am 30 years old now. So I hope that the second half of my jawaani, or the first half of my budhaapa is still as good.
At the trailer launch, Ayan mentioned that you agreed to do this movie even before the script was finished. Was it because of your friendship, faith in him as a director, or was the incomplete script good enough for you to want to do it?
Ayan is one of the closest human beings in my life but apart from that, I have blind faith in him as a filmmaker, as a writer and he has so much love for me that I believe that he can’t …. that he himself works 10 times harder for me than I work for myself. When you have someone like that, the least I can do is what I did for jawaani. I will continue doing that all my life, my entire career. I hope he always wants to work with me and takes me in his next film as well, as he is one filmmaker who I will put all my money on and I truly believe that he will be one of the finest filmmakers the film industry has seen.
Would you have done the same had you not known or worked with Ayan before?
No, I don’t think so. I did it because I have worked with him, because of the kind of relationship I’ve had apart from our personal equation; the kind of filmmaker-actor relationship that we both share mattered more. I had a beautiful working relationship with him and Wake Up Sid is one of my favorite films. It’s the only film where I believe that I did decently, it’s a complete performance of mine and it’s purely because of Ayan’s love for me and Ayan’s love for the movies.
Has Ayan improved as a director with time or become worse in your opinion other than torturing you on shoots ?
He has become worse because he’s become a slave driver. He has become extremely torturous but he does it for the movie. Like he made us climb mountains at 5 in the morning, we trekked for 2 hours up, I have jumped in the ocean when I have a water phobia. I’ve done major things for him which I won’t readily do, but because he has so much enthusiasm and he has such a great story to tell, he’s so joyful that you want to do it for him. So everything is forgiven because when I see the film, when I see the end result, I think its all worth it.
Do you remember the first scenes you shot for in Wake Up Sid and YJHD? Did the same amount of anxiety kick in as WUPS or were you more sure and composed for YJHD?
I think I have been the same for every film of mine. There’s still that sense of wonderment, is it going to go okay, is it not going to go okay. I come home everyday from shoot and I wonder. There’s never a day when I come home and go “oh aaj maine kya kaam kiya, aaj achcha scene hua hai.” It’s always a sense of not knowing and I think that’s what really works. I guess a disadvantage with YJHD is that Ayan knows me so well personally that I think I have stopped surprising him as an actor because he knows all my reactions, he knows my beats in life and on film. I think that surprising a director is very important. So I am constantly searching for things inside me on how to surprise him. I can’t ham it up as he is a person who believes in a moment to moment organic acting; so how do you do it? So that has been a constant struggle and I don’t think I have lived upto the expectation of what he wanted me to do in jawaani but having said that, I think it’s a joint effort and we both built on each other’s thoughts as far as this character Bunny was concerned.
Both Deepika and you have had your share of romcoms, some of the shots in the theatrical felt a bit reminiscent of your previous movies as well. One complaint from the promo that seems to be reverberating all around is the “been there, seen that” feel. Do you think it’s fair to compare or are we reading too much into it?
I think a disadvantage that Deepika and my pairing bring is that we were in a relationship which was so out there that it was like five movies together. So I guess people have seen us together so many times, we have spoken about each other, we have done a film together, so it seems like (to others) that we have done ten films before and it can get tiring. But I promise you that the characters and the story are so engaging, new and original that you wouldn’t feel that once you see the movie.
What is the USP of YJHD above other romcoms?
I think the heart of jawaani. It’s a very warm film. It’s about love, about friendship, about family, about happiness. It asks the question what is happiness? Are you happy being ambitious, travelling the world doing what you love, or are you really happy when you have someone to share that happiness with. Happiness is real only when it’s shared with someone and I think that’s what the movie talks about.
Since you are almost done filming the movie now, what is that one thing that will always stick in your minds about YJHD? What will you remember it as? (Besides the crazy rush to the finish going on at the moment)
The time that Deepika, me, Kalki, Aditya, and Ayan spent with each other. We all became so close. Of course the film as well, we all were really attached to it. We all were working hard, we all did our parts as well as we could but I think the things we did off set, like living together in Manali and Udaipur for 40 days each, we got really close and found a deep fondness for each other. Ayan and I had dozens of fights during the film. It was the first time Ayan actually raised his voice on me, which was kind of surprising and hurtful, but it was all great. I think the film also taught me about relationships which reflected on my life as well. Ayan knows me so well that he has kind of written this character with me in mind. The character is a bit detached and it’s about him finding people in his life, so subconsciously somewhere that sat well with me and I have taken that from the movie, that the relationships and the people really matter. You can’t take people who really care for you for granted.
The film talks about celebrating love and relationships. What is love according to you? How is it different from friendship?
I don’t know what love and friendship is. There are so many takes, so many theories, but I guess compassion, caring for someone, and really being good to the person. You know you could be just doing nothing and ….It’s too evolved a word for me, love and friendship. It’s in the moment, it’s about ..geeez I don’t know the right answer to this.
The movie also appears very sassy, zesty and absolutely crazy while celebrating love given the vibe of the promos released. What was the craziest shoot or schedule for you?
I think Manali and the trekking there. I don’t have great stamina, but trekking early in the morning with snow right upto our waist was hard. Paris was hard with jumping in the ocean. Udaipur was very easy because most of the second half happens in the hotel where the wedding is taking place. The songs were fun to do. The holi song was amazing; it felt like it was really holi. We all were drenched with color and water through the day, and we never complained. There was a lot of fun and what you see on screen is just a bunch of kids having fun in Manali. Kashmir was amazing. It was of course patchwork done for Manali. We wanted to do some snow portions. I had shot there before for Rockstar and was going there again, so I was the one leading the group and telling them eat this, go here, go there, so I was the torch bearer there. It was amazing to be with Deepika, Kalki, and Aditya everywhere. They are my friends now. I am so close to them and I am so happy that this film happened because I have really made relationships for life.
Ayan claimed that YJHD is better than WUPS. In what respect?
It’s a wholesome film. There is more in jawaani than there was in WUPS. It’s a little obnoxious to say that it’s a better film because you never know till it releases and reaches out to the audience. But I think it’s a deeper film, it’s more entertaining, it’s larger in canvas, in glamour, in feeling, in songs, in the kind of work that has been put in. Everything was more in this film.
For WUPS you were the one to suggest the title. Did you contribute creatively to YJHD as well apart from lending your awesome acting credits?
This was Ayan’s baby. Wake Up Sid was my title but this was totally Ayan’s. I guess he called the film YJHD because he just wanted to capture a time in these four friend’s lives. That zest, that energy of the youth when you are careless and irresponsible, when you have dreams, your first heartbreak, second heartbreak, falling in love, falling out of love, falling in love again, anxiety, jealousy….He wanted to explore that side, and then when you grow up and it’s time to realize your priorities on what happens and what doesn’t. So he felt that YJHD was apt for the madness of the film that it was.
Also, I don’t have to contribute with Ayan because he is a dictator where I am concerned and everything is so easily figured out in his head and it all makes so much sense. He has such a wonderful mind. He’s one filmmaker with whom I can’t contribute because I know whatever he is saying has more thought, more truth, and more sense than I could ever bring.
Were there moments while shooting where you felt the scene was particularly retarded but you still had to do it because that’s what the director demanded? Did you voice your opinions or did you blindly trust your director through everything?
It’s an actors prerogative to do whatever is in the script because he has read the script and he knows what he is doing. So he has to do it with conviction, he is the one who people are going to see the movie through, so that’s his job. I hadn’t read jawaani before I signed it, but thankfully Ayan is such a wonderful writer and such a wonderful filmmaker that everything makes sense to me. Also, we are like-minded. We have similar opinions about movies, about life, about people, about relationships, so I don’t think there was any point of conflict. I think he is a very easy guy to argue with and also a very easy guy to agree with. He puts in so much of thought himself and he feels so much himself that the feeling is so right that you don’t have to argue with it.
Was there a particular scene or incident while shooting YJHD that made you feel really happy being an actor/being part of the movie? Some memorable shot?
It’s unfair. I can’t really take out one thing. We shot over a period of one year, close to 120 days and there’s so much of stuff that has happened – good days, bad days. I think the best thing I remember is the Holi song. We all were there together, we all were having fun, we all were playing, we were a bunch of foolish kids in that song.
Any moment when you regretted being part of the movie?
One fight I had with Ayan in Manali because he wanted a sunset shot and Kalki was leaving Manali and I went to say bye to her. And it was so critical that it was just in a span of three minutes that we could get the shot, and I was meant to change my costume and come back on set and he saw me gassing with Kalki and he started screaming at me and I screamed back at him because I can take him for granted, and then he screamed louder and that just threw me off. And then we sulked for a day until we both couldn’t take it and we finally made up.
We both have our egos so we both sulked and didn’t talk to each other. Then next day at shoot we were supposed to reach up at 5 AM in the morning and I was the first one to arrive out of guilt and he was already there out of guilt also. We saw each other, and once we make eye contact it is transparent between us that it just kind of melts and we talk it out.
Also, jumping into the ocean from a yatch. I hate the water, I can’t swim. So I made sure that Ayan was already in the water before I jumped. In the scene, I jump from the yatch, the yatch has to go away and the camera is on the yatch. As the yatch went away, I made Ayan swim and rescue me and keep me afloat and I was on top of him. So that was like sweet revenge. I also pushed him in Manali in the lake. There is a scene where Deepika and I are on a boat and we packed up 1 hour before we were supposed to and both of us convinced him to jump into the lake with his clothes on even when the lake was really dirty…but he still did it.
2013 will see you do a lot more massy projects than you have been doing lately. Was this a conscious decision on your part or did it just happen?
Like I said, I am not really choosy. The scripts and the directors choose me. The kind of directors that have come to me, I would be stupid to not do their films. But having said that, to me, Barfi, Rockstar, Wake Up Sid, Rocket Singh…when I read these scripts, I saw a commercial aspect to them. I saw them as engaging films. So it is not a conscious effort on my part to follow up a Barfi with a masala film. I thought Barfi was a masala film and it made so much money at the Box Office. So there is no plan. Whatever comes to me at that moment, instinctively I decide if I like it and I sign on. So I have jawaani this year and Besharam. I guess Besharam is even more of a masala film if you can call it that. It’s an action comedy, it has romance, it has everything in it. But I don’t know. I still wonder what is commercial, what is masala, what works, what doesn’t. I haven’t figured that out yet. So I am still analyzing, I want to do as much as I can, different genres, different characters. So I guess I haven’t figured it out yet.
You have signed on to be a producer for BV. So will BV be the official movie that brings RK films out of the hibernation phase, a revival perhaps?
No, it’s not that I have become the producer. It’s that now the kind of contracts I am signing in movies are different from what I used to do before. The BV producers Vikas, Phantom and all of those guys have been kind enough to make a statement like this. But it doesn’t come under RK films; it’s just that they have given me a percentage of the movie which entitles me to put RK banner there.
I don’t believe in that word revival. I have to start a movie but I have been just too preoccupied with the kind of filmmakers I want to work with and they already have production houses of their own, or already signed with producers. I also have ambitions to direct, I keep saying that and never do anything about it. But so far nothing has come out of it and I don’t want to make any immature statements. I have stories, scenes, characters in my mind but I don’t have the time, knowledge, the bandwidth, or the talent to write. It’s not easy and I realize that even more by working in good movies and working with good filmmakers, that making a movie is way harder than acting. Acting is really silly and stupid.
Talking about hibernation, you had to sit at home for a month or more while shooting for YJHD. Did that irk you? Did it finally make you question your one film at a time policy?
Depends. When something like that happens, it can sometimes be annoying because so much of your youth is being wasted while you could be working on the sets, having few more releases. But I guess then you get to live your life better. You get to travel, spend more time with your parents, friends, watch movies, play soccer. So you get a little bit of life back, otherwise you are always on a set, you are stuck in a rut. You become a machine, so it’s a good thing, and I guess the only bad side is that you only have just one film at a time. But I don’t see any negatives or positives of doing one film or 4-5 films at a time. It all depends on the destiny of the movie once it’s made.
You turned 30 recently, what are the 5 things you have learned about life so far.
Some rapid fire questions which didn’t have any rapid answers at all!
One thing you love about this interview but hate about the other interviews (i.e. say nice things about us)
It comes from people who have given me a lot of love and I am a little bit less conscious because I know that there is lesser judgment. What I hate about the other interviews is that they don’t care. They just say it because it’s their job to ask and it doesn’t matter what you have to say. I guess this one matters to an extent.
The first image that comes in your mind when you hear the word “love”
Movies, soccer, parents, and a few women (Remind him that the last word adds to his Casanova image and he covers it up by adding – “over a period of time”)
Bunny talks about traveling to different cities in the previews, which part of the world do you want to visit if you could leave right now?
I would just like to go and live in NY and that’s really my plan. After few years, live for 3-4 months in NY. I love the energy, the vibe of the place. I also want to try to do something there apart from the movies. So yeah, NY is one place where I would love to go all the time. And I like Barcelona because my favorite football club is there.
What about somewhere unknown?
To be honest, I don’t have much of a desire to travel that much. I am not much of a traveller. Yes the character Bunny is, but I am a home body and I like staying at home in my room. If I want to go somewhere, I like to go to places that I am familiar with because there’s so much more to explore in a place. The world is too large, it’s like opening a pandora’s box. If that bug catches you of travelling, then there is no limit, you can spend your entire life travelling to different places, seeing new cultures, but I’d rather just stick to one place and kind of know more about that place and that culture and see life about a certain place. That’s the kind of person I am.
Favorite TV series currently
Homeland is the last tv series I watched and I really enjoyed it. Episodes was fun. I didn’t like Newsroom or Game of Thrones Season 2. I think my all time favorite would be Lost. Friends of course, but I really enjoyed the first few seasons of Lost.
Your to-do list for this year?
Make my house, go to NY again, have a wholesome relationship with someone, play more football, spend more time with my parents & my friends, make a body, quit smoking.
Marriage this year?
There was a time in my life where there was a certain notion about marriage which came with a certain age and you started a family at a certain age, but the more I am seeing life, the older I am getting, I feel that it should just kind of naturally happen. You should not put age to it, you should not say okay now I am alone and lonely, or I need children. I think everything should organically come into your life. So when it happens, it happens. I am not really putting any deadlines to it.
A piece of advice you would give Ayan (as an actor to a director and not a friend)
Chill the *beep* out. He’s one of those students who even if is so prepared for his exam, is always stressing and makes the other person believe that he has not done anything. He’s the guy who would come out of an exam and say shit, I *beeped* up and then comes out with 100 marks. So I think he needs to chill. But having said that he is a great guy, he is such a wonderful man that I accept him exactly how he is because he accepts me with all my flaws and disadvantages as an actor and as a person, and he unconditionally loves me and I can only reciprocate that.
The second most important character in YJHD after you – assuming you are central to the movie!
Naina. You see the entire story through Deepika’s perspective. It’s not that I am the most important character of jawaani. It’s a love story primarily and Aditya and Kalki also have primary characters. So it’s not WUPS, it’s not just about Sid. It’s a film about friends, about relationships, and everyone has a strong part to play.
Favorite song from YJHD
My favorite is a song which just got recorded, it’s a background song which is a love change over song of the boy. It’s just beautiful. I think it’s called Fakira temporarily.
Ayan Mukerji in one word
Ranbir Kapoor in one word
YJHD in one word
Your sales pitch for YJHD
I don’t think jawaani needs a sales pitch. It’s made with such good intentions, such honesty that the promos and the songs and the chemistry between all the characters, the world of the movie will entice the audience to come and watch the film. I think they can decide then but I don’t think it needs a false sales pitch or items to bring people in.
And that ladies and gentleman is Ranbir Kapoor for you. A big thank you to Anisha, Meera Pandit, Jyosna, Sneha @justtweetitaway, Shaguftah, Sonia, Nimisha Jain, Sarah @JungliD, Sana @idontknowwatto, Shivangi, Sumona, Zinnia Pillai, Sanam, @DeepikaFrance for the wonderful questions.