May 9, 2015: As Ranbir Kapoor returns in a full-fledged lead actor role in Bombay Velvet, after two years, he talks about the lukewarm response to its first trailer, shying away from social media and his faith in marriage.
=> What did it take to become Johnny Balraj of Bombay Velvet?
Johnny Balraj is a departure from who I am. Growing up with hardships makes him aggressive. Yet, he is intense and vulnerable. Playing the role took some effort. But then, that’s my job as an actor. It was far more challenging to work in Bombay Velvet than Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani or Wake Up Sid. Those are the characters I understand.
=> Since your grandfather was a popular actor-director in the ’50s and ’60s, did you watch his films for your reference?
For the character’s look, we had references of young Raj Kapoor, Kishore Kumar with his moustache and Robert De Niro of Raging Bull. This led to Johnny Balraj’s curly mop-and-moustache look. However, these were superficial references. The more internal references come solely from the individual approach that an actor adopts. Anyway, I don’t need to watch Raj Kapoor’s movies as reference. I have studied all his films.
=> The reaction to Bombay Velvet’s first trailer was not very encouraging. Did it bother you?
When you work so hard on making an honest and entertaining film, and people don’t love the first trailer so much, one does gets a little nervous and contemplative. However, we believe in the film. When it releases on May 15, I hope the audience gives it a chance.
=> You have always gone for off-beat roles. What urges you to take risks?
When some of our best filmmakers, like Anurag Kashyap, Anurag Basu, Imtiaz Ali and Ayan Mukerji, are offering these parts, I would be foolish not to take them up. However, a film like Besharam is a risk because ‘heroism’ does not come easily to me.
=> Any regrets of doing Besharam?
No. It taught me that I can’t take the audience for granted. We were arrogant. We thought let’s make a masala film with song sequences and action, but it doesn’t work that way.
=> How often you consult you parents while choosing a project?
Never. I may give my mother a script to read and take a second opinion from her, but all the decisions are mine.
You have Ali’s Tamasha and Basu’s Jagga Jasoos coming up. I have had two most satisfying creative partnerships with Basu and Ali. I have finished shooting Tamasha and a few days of shoot is left for Jagga Jasoos. One of them would most likely release this year.
=> You are still missing on social media.
I don’t believe in that platform. First, I should build a body of work as an actor That apart, I am a private and introvert person. Anyway, I am often shoved down people’s throat through films, advertisements and tabloid conjectures about my life. So I don’t want a 24X7 mouthpiece where I speak about myself.
=> Your father has become a Twitter star.
I believe he is meant for Twitter. Though many have this preconceived notion that my father is a hot-headed person, in reality he is someone with an amazing sense of humour.
=> Have you considered turning a director or producer at some point?
To be honest, I wanted to be a director much before I thought of taking up acting. Right now, I don’t have the patience that directing a film requires. Also, I don’t have a story to share.
=> Recently, you shifted from your family home to a flat in Bandra. What were the possessions you took with you?
Everything – my clothes, shoes, awards and DVDs. However, the first thing to get packed was my 110-inch television. Though I was living in a bungalow before, all my things were in my room. It was quite easy to shift my stuff.
=> Some days ago, there was news of you taking off on a long drive with Katrina Kaif. What else do you like to do other than taking off on long drives?
Firstly, that report was a conjecture. I have never gone on any long drives. Even if I do that, I have a driver to drive the vehicle. I do normal things that people do in everyday life, like play video games, watch movies and travel. There are also days when I sit and do absolutely nothing.
=> There is a lot of conjecture regarding your marriage. Is it in the offing?
Yes, I am a great believer of the institution of marriage and it is on the anvil. But I have not decided on a date yet.
Alaka Sahani, Indian Express*