Ranbir Kapoor Curated

Indian Film Actor,

CURATED BY :  

This profile has been added by users(CURATED) : Users who follow Ranbir Kapoor have come together to curate all possible video, text and audio interview to showcase Ranbir Kapoor's journey, experiences, achievements, advice, opinion in one place to inspire upcoming actors. All content is sourced via different platforms and have been given due credit.

  • Ranbir, you have had a very interesting life so far and of course in the coming years as well. If ever a biopic is made on your life, which part of it would you want to portray and hide?

    I am 35 today and I don't think right now, there's anything which is a cinematic material in my life. I am also a little introvert, shy, and lazy person. So, I don't do much in my life apart from working in films and doing normal things. I haven't got into a lot of trouble. I have had a very normal, sheltered childhood. So, there's nothing controversial or conflict in my life that would make a good cinema.

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  • Would you be okay taking up a light-hearted film like Bachna Ae Haseeno or Ajab Prem Ki Gazab Kahaani today?

    Ya, I am looking forward to doing a comedy. I have been searching for one. But the problem is there ain't many people in the industry who are dabbling with this genre right now. I would love to do a film like Hera Pheri or Andaz Apna Apna.

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  • Shamshera is something that you have never attempted before. It's a completely different space for you. What made you take up that film?

    Well primarily, the script and the character. It's set in the 1800s. It's about a group of Daku tribes who are fighting for their rights against the British East India Company. The way it was written was very entertaining and action-oriented. Sanjay Dutt is playing the antagonist in that film. So now, I am looking forward to working with him as an actor. Karan Malhotra is an exciting director. I really enjoyed watching Agneepath and am looking forward to Shamshera now.

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  • Do you feel people are ready for a film like Brahmastra?

    There are a lot of different perceptions of this film. Brahmastra is your summer blockbuster, an entertaining film rooted in Indian cinema. There's a way how Ayan wants to portray a film. I am extremely excited to work with actors like Amitabh Bachchan and Alia Bhatt.

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  • You are also teaming up with Luv Ranjan for a film. What do want to say about this?

    I am very excited about that film. After Brahmastra, I have Shamshera with Karan Malhotra and Luv Ranjan film with Ajay Devgn. It's a dramatic love story. It's also a departure from what he has made. I really enjoyed watching Pyaar Ka Punchnama, Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety. I myself had contacted him. It's the first time I ever contacted a director saying that I would really like to collaborate with him. We had been talking for a while. We discussed different scripts and different ideas. We really liked this one and it's a full-out commercial entertaining film.

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  • What's the best part of being an actor?

    The best part of being an actor is that it's an exciting life. You choose and you are your own boss. You choose your own journey and stories. You have so many people to take care of you on-set. You feel very special. But then when you go home and are all alone by yourself, then you wonder what are all these people. So, you always want to be spoilt for life.

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  • Recently there are rumors that Karan Johar had made some changes in the script of Brahmastra script and wanted to add a little bit of intimacy quotient in it...

    These are absolutely false and baseless reports. Ayan Mukerji has worked so hard in the last five years to make Brahmastra and Karan never interfere in his director's lives unless he is asked for help. Ayan is one of the rare talents that I have worked with.

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  • Apart from Sanjay Dutt, which actor's life do you think would make for an interesting watch on screen?

    I think Kishore Kumar's life. That time, I and Anurag Basu were really trying to put it on floors. But we didn't get permission from certain families to make it. But I think that life is really colorful. He is a mad genius. I think there can be a great biopic on him. Another one could be in my grandfather's life (Raj Kapoor). But I have always believed and learned that from Sanju that it has to be a completely honest portrayal. It shouldn't be only showing the great side of a person. You have to show the grey or flawed side as well. I hope my family at some point gets permission to really open up about Raj Kapoor's life because he's had a cinematic life itself. I would like to direct or act in it. I can take the advantage that I am his grandson so there would be nobody better to play him.

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  • Is there any film of your dad whose remake you would love to be a part of?

    I don't believe in remakes because I feel that I can never bring a better impact than what my father has done. But if I had to do something, I really like this film of his called Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hain. It didn't work back then and was a flop. But I really liked his work on it.

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  • What kind of films was a part of your childhood?

    I think mostly of my parents' films. Me and my sister while eating meals at home used to watch films like Amar Akbar Anthony, Khel Khel Mein, Rafoochakkar and all of that. We grew up watching Amitabh Bachchan, our parents, Vinod Khanna, Dharmendra. The Khans have been a huge influence even on my work because those were the actors I admire. Then, of course, the phase of Abhishek Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan. I have seen every generation because I loved films and wanted to be an actor. So, I have really studied them all in front of the camera and beyond that.

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  • Your father is very active on social media. Does he never encourage you to join too or tell you what's written about you?

    Never. Most of the time when he tweets something, when my mother feels he might fall in trouble, she messages or calls me up late night saying 'Look what's he has done now and he's already gone to sleep. He has two drinks down and said something.' She then lectures him. But yaar, he is an honest guy. He doesn't keep anything censored. If he feels about something, he will say it. He is not doing it for publicity or impact. He actually feels it and then impulsively writes it. There are very few people like this in the industry. Most of the people are just trying to portray a very different, cosmetic, nice person image of themselves. But my father is really brave in that sense. He understands that people may hate him for his opinion, but he has an opinion and wants to exercise it like any citizen of this country.

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  • But you are aware of the happenings in the film industry right?

    Yes. I am also a very big Hindi film industry fan. I always want to know what kind of films are being made. I am a fan of a lot of actors and really admire their work. As much as you want to see any actor's profile on Instagram, I am also a stalker on Instagram. I have an account on Instagram which nobody knows. I don't post pictures there but I know what's happening around.

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  • Is that one of the reasons why you refrain from joining social media?

    I haven't really thought about it so deeply that this is the reason why I am not on social media. It's just something that I have been shying away from. I am happy being away from it. 'Abhi tak gaadi chal rahi hain theek thak', (laughs). I don't need another platform to do PR or my publicity. That's fine. Maybe tomorrow I will be on social media. But today, I am happy staying away from it.

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  • You belong to a very rare breed of actors; whether the film is hit or flop, your acting talent has never been questioned. When you get all these things, does it make you elated and confident as an actor?

    No yaa. Because I have been born into a film family, I understand that 'yahan sab chadhte suraj ko salaam karte hain'. Success is very fickle. It takes you to a place where you yourself don't know how you have reached this place and then everything just goes away. At this age in my life, it's also very important to have real things- family, relationships. One must have a life beyond films. I can't be too dependent on the destiny of my films because it's too much of a roller-coaster. It really takes you to certain places and drops you and that can really be detrimental to your mind and health. So, I do my work, give it my best and then have a life beyond films.

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  • Irrespective of how your films fare at the box office, your performances have always managed to leave behind a mark on the audience and won rave reviews from the critics. How do you view this?

    A film process is not just about me or another person. What I hold in the highest regard is that the film has to work. Me being good or bad doesn't matter. I am a part of a story which has to entertain people. So, I don't give too much attention to a film where I am appreciated. I don't care about that. The film has to be loved. That's the bigger picture and I think that's the endeavor in every film of yours that a film has to reach out and entertain them worth their money. You feel bad when a film doesn't do well. In such cases, I don't necessarily feel good when I get positive reviews or people applaud my performance.

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  • What was your state of mind on the last day shooting of Sanju?

    I feel really relieved and happy when the film is over. I am scared of attachments. When a film is over, I am very happy to go on my next journey. That has really helped me as an actor. I am not emotionally sad when a film gets over. Of course, there are some bittersweet emotions. But I am pretty good at that switching off.

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  • Like you mentioned in the last couple of years, you didn't have success. Does Sanju bring in some kind of pressure on you?

    Every film is pressure. When Ae Dil Hai Mushkil released, it was a successful film. But Jagga Jasoos failed to connect with the audience. When a film releases and it's a success, you are like, 'Phew, I am saved' and then you move on to the next. That's all you feel with the success. But failure stays with you for a longer. A lot of it is written in the media. There are a lot of opinions which your friends and film industry gives you. They tell you to do more commercial films, work on the physique, etc. But I guess what helps is having complete faith in myself and a belief that I can be strong in this phase and continue doing good work. I guess that's what takes you along. I am really grateful for Sanju, Brahmastra, Shamshera, and the Luv Ranjan film. I have exciting films ahead of my life. It's also a very important phase in my life as an actor where I really have to take the next step after doing coming-of-age films and young boy roles. I am also growing older and have to evolve as an actor. So, I am looking forward to this new phase.

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  • Do you think this is one of the best phases of your career right now?

    I don't know. Before this, my last few films haven't work. But still, I am working with one of India's greatest filmmakers- Rajkumar Hirani in a film like Sanju. Good and bad phases are something that you experience at home or by yourself. But that's not in my control. Success and failure are not in my hands. What I can do is work with honest intentions, be good at my job, and keep my head on my shoulders. I don't take success to my head and failure to my heart. I have been like that since my debut film. My first film Sawariya was a big disaster but it taught me a lot. It prepared me for this world of cinema. It's not that I am born into a film family so everything is going to be easy for me. There will be a lot of brickbats. There will be a lot of people who will hate me for the work I do. And then sometimes there will be a lot of love when my films are appreciated. I have that understanding and reality check. Also, it helps that I am born into films so I am prepared for this. I have seen all of this in my family over the years. My father used to be crying at points when his films weren't working or he used to be elevated to a point where it was really amazing. But that's really not something I am connected with. I am very happy just doing my job.

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  • When Rajkumar Hirani approached you for Sanju, did you discuss it with anyone in your family or in the industry?

    I did speak to my family and they did have a reaction. When my father first heard about it, he said it was a great idea. He probably knows Sanjay Dutt's life inside out and felt that a good film could be made on it. But at the same time, I was staying at my grandmother's house and she was like, 'Yeh biopic kyun kar raha hain. You should do more commercial films. You are a Hindi film hero, sing songs, look good." So, she comes from a school of thought which is probably my grandfather's era. But when she saw the promo, she was happy.

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  • Did you break down at any point while enacting any scene?

    Sometimes when you are giving a shot or doing a sequence, you feel connected so much to the moment and emotion that you really feel something. However, as an actor, I understand how to detach myself from certain emotions. You have to be in and out. When I was doing Rockstar, that film really took me to a certain emotional phase in my life where I really felt tired and spent. So, you learn with experience. Now after 10 years, I can understand how to step back from the scene or the character. But subconsciously somewhere, you do get affected and I really enjoy that about being an actor. It's not really superficially coming on sets and doing few lines and going back. The more I feel, the more I connect to a part of emotion, I feel alive as an actor. So, I look forward to such parts and such emotions and scenes. I really enjoy doing them.

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  • You now know Sanjay Dutt in and out now as a person. Was there anything that shocked you?

    Everything shocked me. To be honest, I knew Sanjay Dutt in a very different way. I knew him as a family friend, somebody who has been very fond of me. I used to work out in his gym so I would hang out a lot with him. But when I read the story of the film, it had the classified files of a human being which even I didn't know. Often when I was enacting a certain scene and sequences, I myself used to think what he must be going through and thinking at that point. Now, I only have more deep respect and admiration for him after doing this film because I saw a completely different side to him. Whenever I used to do any important scene, I used to call him up at night before shooting and speak to him for long hours just to understand what he was going through in his mind and psyche. I am really happy that he supported me and my performance and gave me a lot of his own personal emotions which I am sure is quite disturbing to relive and redo.

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  • Whenever you do a biopic, there is always a risk of glorifying the said person. Did you ever ponder upon that thought and discussed it with Rajkumar Hirani?

    I think Sanju is an absolutely honest portrayal of a man. Sanju Sir has been brave enough to give his life in a way that he's a fallen hero and shown the grey side of him. The whole drug phase and where it takes you in life. There's great learning in that. His mistake with the AK 56 gun and the underworld and everything that happened in his life. I don't think Rajkumar Hirani needs to make a propaganda film for him. He saw an honest and great human story in it. That's why he took it up.

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  • Were you prepared for the comparisons with Sanjay Dutt when you took up Sanju?

    Yes, of course. I think when I took the responsibility to portray Sanju Sir in a Rajkumar Hirani film, I understood the pressure and baggage that it comes with. Sanju Sir is such a loved superstar. He is still working on films. I think it's for the first time in the history of cinema that somebody has made a biopic on a living actor. But I recognized from the script of the film that it was an opportunity of a lifetime for me to do this and I had to have complete conviction and belief in myself that I could do it. Initially, I didn't have that confidence and wasn't sure that I could look like him. He has this macho alpha image whereas my personality is very different. But once I read the script and story of the film, it showed Sanju Sir in a very human way. It's not the Sanjay Dutt that we all know. It's Sanjay Dutt behind the scenes- what all he went through with his family- his drug phase, jail phase, the death of his mother, his friendship, his bond with his father. So, I saw a very human story that excited and inspired me.

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  • What is your takeaway from the Sanju movie? Has the film changed you in any manner?

    This thing that you say about film changing you, it subconsciously happens after some time. It’s not like I have completely finished the film right now and tomorrow I am a different person. But I think subconsciously this film will stay with me, and my respect and admiration for Sanjay sir has changed. Having said that, I don’t think that you will see a propaganda film; you will find a story of a faulty man. You might hate him also but you will see an honest portrayal of a person.

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  • How did you get to study the body language of Sanjay Dutt?

    I tried my hardest not to mimic him. I tried to actually be him because there is a fine line between mimicry and being someone because Sanjay Dutt is so relevant, people copy him; he is still working in films. So, it was a harder task for me to play this part because I didn’t want to look caricaturish, you actually had to see a vulnerable side to Sanjay Dutt.

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  • How do you think you got this role? Good acting?

    To be honest, in this industry just being a good actor is not enough, there are a lot of things that come into play; luck, being at the right place at the right time, opportunities you get. I mean Rajkumar Hirani offered me the film probably at the worst phase of my life, when my films were not doing well and that is such a confidence booster to you that, ok you are still getting these opportunities. I am very grateful for it but I don’t know what I am doing right or wrong. I guess my intentions towards my work could possibly be honest and right, maybe that’s what these filmmakers are seeing. But I am extremely grateful for this.

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  • How were you able to capture the nuances of Sanjay Dutt’s experiences?

    There was so much in his life that I had to represent in such an honest way. I remember I used to call him in the middle of the night before shooting and ask him what he was going through. What was in his head? Because what’s in the script, I’ll probably look at it as my interpretation, but to actually get it from the man himself is something else entirely. I remember we were doing the scene where the TADA verdict came out; I called him and asked him what was going through in his head then? He said that, “When I sat there and they announced my verdict, everything became slow motion, all I could think of was my father who died with a question if I was a terrorist or not?” He never was alive for this hearing and I think that in itself is so strong in emotion. So, as an actor when you have that you know now you have this emotion you have to play but now you play it with a different perspective.

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  • What was Sanjay Dutt’s reaction when he saw your look?

    The first time he saw my look was when Raju sir sent him a photograph and he replied by saying, “Why are you sending me my own picture?” So that was his first reaction, but I am looking forward to his reaction to the film because it’s a man who is going to see his own life and relive such emotional, controversial and conflicted moments of his life. I really want him to have a nice nostalgic feeling.

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  • Your mannerism, gait and appearance look exactly like Sanjay Dutt in the movie. How was the whole transformation process like?

    We had to do all these superficial things of trying to look like him, trying all the faces right, then actually feel like him, actually believing in that material because even when I used to read the scene, I used to think if this actually happened or not? I had to keep questioning Raju Sir. You can’t believe this much has happened in a person’s life, but it has really been a blessing in disguise for me in my career at this point.

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  • Initially, you were a little hesitant about starring in the biopic. Weren’t you?

    I guess when you guys also heard that I was doing Sanjay Dutt’s biopic, you must have also thought how could that happen? How will Ranbir play Sanjay Dutt? And also, it’s the first time in history of movies where you are making a biopic on an actor who is still acting in films, still so relevant, still so loved by so many people around the world. So, I always thought that these were big challenges. How will I be able to do it? But once Rajkumar Sir gave me the script, all my doubts and all my fears went away because there was so much of content in his life, and it’s very comfortable for an actor to do a Rajkumar Hirani film.

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  • Last year, you finished a decade in the movies. What do you wish you could tell your younger self about how to handle success and failure?

    I think it’s been a phenomenal journey, and I would like my younger self to discover this again, because it has been really awesome. Because I have grown up in a film family, I know this world. I know what success means, I know what failure means. I know what success can do to your head and failure can do to your heart. So somewhere I was well-equipped before I came into this world as a working professional. And gratitude is something I have learnt in these ten years. The fact that I am sitting in front of all these people, talking about my craft and my life, I credit that to myself. Not because I was born with a silver spoon, but because I worked really hard to be here, and I feel immense gratitude.

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  • I was there when Raju and Vinod showed your dad the promo of Sanju and he got tears in his eyes. What did you feel when you saw that? That your work has actually made your dad cry.

    He never really expresses what he feels about my work. He usually sees the films, three or four days before release and I’m really tense because he is so honest. Him also being an actor and such a fabulous actor, he will always have a good take. So (for Rockstar) he asked me “Woh end mein heroine mar gayi, ke wapas aa gayi?” And I said no it was her soul which came back, and he’s like “Yeah yeah okay, bye.” When he saw Barfi he called me two days before the film released and said “Ya, tu acting toh theek kar leta hai, but stop doing these arty films” and he put the phone down. He’s a hard critic to impress, so when Raju sent this video to me, it feels great at the end of the day when your parents are proud of the work that you do. But, post that video, he has never even mentioned it.

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  • What makes you uncomfortable as an actor? Are there any lines you won’t cross?

    I don’t think so, I dropped the towel in my first film, what else is left? Being physically naked is not hard, being emotionally naked is – to get attached to a moment, feel a sense of truth. Because films are a true representation of you as an artist, you have to be aware of what you are standing for. But beyond that, whatever it takes to be good at my job, emotionally, physically I’ll do it.

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  • Do you think men in Bollywood understand that they have a responsibility to ensure that we have a more equitable working environment?

    I think somebody just has to do it, if one person does it, it has a domino effect. But in our industry, nobody really reveals what they get paid because of income tax purposes. But Deepika or Katrina or Priyanka, they are right up there, it’s not like they are getting paid less than me. Today, there is so much awareness about your market value. This is one of the few industries where it is so market-based that if your films are doing well, you will get the money. If I’m on a project and I say, ‘Okay there is me and Deepika. And Deepika is as big or bigger star than me then there must be equality she has to get a bigger piece of the pie.’ somebody has to do it.

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  • What’s the most number of takes?

    I started with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, and he doesn’t do anything less than 45 takes. So even if I have to turn my head, I probably will have to give 50 takes. In Jabse Tere Naina, I had to roll back in a certain way and the towel had to fall and my leg was showing and it was one shot where I had to get up and sing. He is very particular about what beat you catch; he is a very musical director. I did 45 or 50 takes one day and my back really broke and out of sympathy he said, ‘Okay I’ll manage’. The next morning, he said he hasn’t got it and I had to do another 70 takes. So now when somebody takes eight takes, ten takes, it’s nothing.

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  • Where have you been terrible?

    Like Besharam and Anjaana Anjaani. I am as good as my film, if the director is good I am good. I don’t live in this fool’s paradise that a film works because of me. In Rockstar if the film worked, and if my performance worked it was because of Imtiaz Ali. If I directed that film, I would be terrible. I am insecure, everyday I go to set, I’m sitting in my van, trying to learn my lines, and I’m confused and I have anxiety about whether I will be able to do this shot well, if I will be able to surprise my director. I’m not happy with what I have achieved today and I have lots to do. I think that drive is important, that insecurity creates that drive, that desire. And I think if that dies I will die as an actor.

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  • Do you think that you’re supremely talented?

    I don’t think so, I don’t regard myself as supremely talented and I have to work hard for a film, I know my shortcomings. I know where I can be really bad, and I have been terrible in couple of my films, where I have probably worked 80% and not given my 100%.

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  • Is it true that you said, you can’t audition for a film, so you’ll never audition for a film.

    I don’t think I am that confident about myself. Today thankfully, I have a body of work that I don’t need to audition. But if you send me to Hollywood, and tell me to audition for this film-maker, I don’t know if I will be good at it.

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  • I was talking to a director who told me that you carry the burden of being Rishi Kapoor’s son, of being a Prince. So you won’t do a two hero film, you aren’t hungry enough like Ranveer is. Is that true?

    Absolutely not, I have the luxury that I don’t need to work to feed myself, and have a roof over my head, but I’ve always been extremely passionate about the movies. Because you’re born in a film family, the perception of your hard work and success is kind of a little snatched from you. I have worked really hard these last few years and I’ve given myself to every part that I have done, and not taken my job for granted. So my hunger is there. This two or three or four hero doesn’t matter to me. I did a film called Raajneeti which had so many heroes. I’m not insecure. I’ve never been offered a two-hero film that I have liked and the other person has liked.

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  • You said that the next phase of your career will be about entertaining audiences rather than proving your acting chops. Are those two separate things?

    For me, yes. When I do a film like Tamasha, or Jagga Jasoos, I’m first looking at my character, or what I can do through them and not necessarily at the larger picture. You need to understand what value your film is talking about, who its talking to, what the budget of the film is, how much money you’re taking. Filmmaking, is an expensive medium and you can’t do things solely because this is your passion project. Raju Sir has this deep desire to entertain audiences. He doesn’t want to bore them, he doesn’t want to force down moral opinions. He just wants to make you laugh and cry. Movies are for entertainment, once you realize that, your choices also change. And I’m still striving…see I am doing a Rajkumar Hirani film. I haven’t chosen that, he has chosen me. So if Sanju is a big commercial success, I really can’t take credit for that, that it’s my choice.

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  • Ranbir, what have you sacrificed?

    I have sacrificed friendship, my school gang – I meet them probably once a month they meet each other three-four times a week. As you go there, you’re lost in conversation. There are new beats of laughter that they have which you won’t know about. I don’t want to sound like a crybaby. I have only sacrificed because I am benefitting. It’s not because life has given me no other option.

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  • You said in an interview that creative energy comes from nature, isolation and sacrifice. What did you mean?

    I think isolation is important for every actor. You can look deeper within yourself, you can understand certain things better. As an actor, once you take in nature, the world will be represented through you. It keeps me peaceful, balanced and makes me understand my value in the universe. The third thing is sacrifice. Sacrifice is something I learnt from Mr. Sanjay Leela Bhansali, he always instilled in me that you need to sacrifice your personal life, fun, or something that stardom will give you, because it will take away from a certain believability and empathy that you feel for your characters. Sacrifice holds a great value in my life. I think its detrimental that you’re giving up your life for something that is not real, but then you have to choose your path.

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  • Can you instinctively tell when a shot is not working and when it is?

    I stopped looking at myself in the monitor, because I started cringing a lot and started becoming too aware of myself. Many times, I have realized in the last ten years, in the fifteen films I have done, whenever I have gone home and said ‘Oh I’ve done such a great job’, that’s never good.

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  • What I’ve figured out is that I can never see you acting, which is what is so amazing. What is the complication that goes behind?

    What we see on screen is the magic of cinema, there are so many people trying to get your character alive. My method is basic. Two things I always follow- one is to marry the director’s mind. It’s important because I am that Bandra boy who has lived a very luxurious life, travelled all over the world but I don’t know my own country, my own people, so I always have to steal their personalities, their experiences. That love story between me and the director is important. He has to fall deeply in love with me and I have to fall deeply in love with him. Then comes that trust. That’s an amazing relationship you form between that six and eight months of shoot. The second thing is to understand the text. There are so many things a writer and director have been through, creating every line that you have said. So I think once you know the director’s space, when there is love and you understand the text, then the job becomes easy. But courting the director is harder than courting a girl. Because it’s not like you befriend him for life, it’s just for this project. But I really enjoy that. I also enjoy some stupid, superficial things – I use one perfume for every character.

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  • You went to Lee Strasberg school (in New York) and studied method acting. How much of that have you applied in your films?

    Not much, you know. Having come back home after an under-grad course in direction (from the US), I was around 20, a star-kid, getting attention from a lot of directors willing to work with me. But I was too young then. My father asked me if I might want to go back to the US and do something for a year. I went to the Lee Strasberg Institute for nine months, to learn the 'method' (style/school of acting). It's not something I thoroughly endorse myself. I think acting is not something you can learn. In a practical form, yes (it helps) that you're working with other actors, doing scenes, and so you're putting it (the craft) into a method. But the Strasberg or Stanislavsky 'method' (acting) itself is not something I buy. As an actor, you have to develop your own method — if you're intelligent, have had good exposure in life, and can surrender to a moment, or material. You don't need a curriculum or syllabus.

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  • You went to Lee Strasberg school (in New York) and studied method acting. How much of that have you applied in your films?

    Not much, you know. Having come back home after an under-grad course in direction (from the US), I was around 20, a star-kid, getting attention from a lot of directors willing to work with me. But I was too young then. My father asked me if I might want to go back to the US and do something for a year. I went to the Lee Strasberg Institute for nine months, to learn the 'method' (style/school of acting). It's not something I thoroughly endorse myself. I think acting is not something you can learn. In a practical form, yes (it helps) that you're working with other actors, doing scenes, and so you're putting it (the craft) into a method. But the Strasberg or Stanislavsky 'method' (acting) itself is not something I buy. As an actor, you have to develop your own method — if you're intelligent, have had good exposure in life, and can surrender to a moment, or material. You don't need a curriculum or syllabus.

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  • Speaking of distinction between star and actor, you have attempted to bridge the two. For instance, your dad says you actually went back to acting school in the US simply to get the stammer right for Jagga Jasoos.

    It's my job as an actor to do my preparation. Eventually the audience has to connect with my character. And if my character stammers, I'd try to get it right. I can't look foolish on screen. But, that'd be the same if I was a driver — I would have to know how to drive, both a manual and an automatic car, not a big deal. As for the star-actor issue, or trying to become a star while remaining an actor, I think you just have to become capable at your job. Everything else follows. If you're honest, a good person, and your intentions are correct, you will become a star. You can't really concentrate on 'ki mein star kaise banoonga', and begin to design things around it; I don't think that works out well for anybody.

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  • 3 years it took to complete Jagga Jasoos. That’s how long the film was being made. Just what kept you going on?

    I think the core story of the film we all believed in. It was Dada, Anurag Basu’s vision. He was trying to make something which will really push the barriers of genres, of style, of entertainment. We were in love with the story, with the treatment of the film. It was a true blue musical. It was a film which was meant to be a musical film for children, parents, their parents. I think the passion of just making this film alive kept us going.

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  • There’s this slight observation about your film choices and script sense, that in this era where every second actor wants to do larger than life life action on screen and present himself as ‘Bollywood’s macho hero,’ you are choosing scripts where you are comfortable being vulnerable on screen, with those henna-clad hands, Ranbir. What triggers you to choose these kinds of films which are emotionally heavy and present you as vulnerable?

    To be honest, there’s no formula to it. If I like the story, if I feel the director has to say something through the story, I am on. And once I am on, I am surrendered to the part. I always prefer the under hero. I don’t like the larger than life hero. I like a hero whose deeds will be heroic. It could be really something small. But, what he does will make a change in the society, will make people happy. That’s the kind of cinema I have a natural instinct towards.

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  • In the era where every second actor was trying to fight for the love, to get the girl, Rishi Sir came up with something like Prem Rog where he was comfortable giving away his love. So, is that also an influence somewhere?

    I don’t think so. I think my choices and my movies and the characters I’ve chosen to play have solely come from me. It’s not an inspiration from somebody else, from my father or my grandfather of any other actor in the industry. These are my choices because my gut tells me to be a part of them. And I would like to take credit for it. I would also like to take credit for my failures. I have chosen certain films like Besharam, which were designed around a formula. And I think a formula never works in the industry. When you are in the field of art, it’s what naturally your instinct goes towards and what you can express best through. So, I’ve chosen these parts may be because I thought I could express myself better in these parts. But, I haven’t designed it. Like whatever came my way, I’ve chosen the best of it

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  • In the trailer and in fact in Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani too, you are stammering. Didn’t it come across to you, at any point, that it might upset a section of people or it might come across as insensitive to some?

    I have always maintained in all the films I’ve done, even in Barfi, I played deaf and mute and we got so much love and respect from the deaf and mute society. I meet so many deaf and mute people around the world, they give me so much of love and affection. I am not that kind of an actor who will be insensitive. I understand that films reach a larger audience. We have the power to spread awareness. So, even if I am doing a character like Jagga and stammering in it, we are not making fun of it. It’s a disability and we are showing that even with a disability like a stammer, you can overcome and be successful in life and be a winner. That’s why we got the idea of singing, because Pritam (Chakraborty), the composer in the film, he is such a great composer, he stammers. But, when he sings, he doesn’t stammer. That’s where Dada got inspired from. It’s not making fun of anyone or cause any harm.

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  • Is Ranbir a content person?

    I am free. I am free from the baggage of the world. I think to be free is a luxury today. I am free of all of that.

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  • Who is Ranbir Kapoor today, and where is he going from here?

    That’s a deep question… (Thinks) I don’t know who I am. I am somebody else and I don’t want to realise who I am till the last few years of my life. I constantly want to have that struggle. I don’t want to be very skilled in anything. I want to be raw. I want to make mistakes. I want to fall. I want to fail. And it’s just in the pursuit of being a good person. The love I have for movies… I want to do something for cinema, I want to direct films, to act. At this moment in my life, talking to you, I am happy. I am happy with my life. I don’t have regrets. I don’t have guilt.

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  • What’s on your bucket list?

    Skydiving. Winning a cup for Mumbai FC [the ISL football team that he co-owns]. Buying a house in New York, and spending some time there. Building a weekend home in Pavna. Mating my two dogs. They’re mastiffs, so it’s really hard to find girls.

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  • Do you see yourself reviving the RK banner?

    I find the word “revival” a bit pompous. RK Studios was what it was because of my grandfather – I don’t think I have the talent or the storytelling abilities to fly that particular flag. If I want to produce, I’ll definitely start something new, which I tried with Jagga Jasoos, with Anurag Basu. If I direct a movie, I’ll probably produce it, but not under the RK Studios banner.

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  • How has your personal style evolved?

    It’s stayed pretty much the same: sneakers, jeans, a T-shirt or a shirt and a New York Yankees cap. I’m a sneakerhead; I usually buy two pairs of each – like they say, “one to rock, one to stock”. I love caps too. I think because I was really shy, it was a kind of security blanket. I could cover my face or look down.

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  • When would you say you came into your own?

    In school, I was below average – in academics, in dramatics, in sports. Football was the only thing I was decent at. But as an experience, school was amazing, even though I sucked at it. The friends I made are still my close friends. After school I went to HR College, by which I mean I stood outside [the college] and ate dosa. Then I went to the School of Visual Arts [in New York] for three years and did a year at Lee Strasberg. After I came back, I began assisting Sanjay Leela Bhansali on Black. That’s when I realised how much work a film requires, when I knew which direction I wanted to head in.

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  • Is Solitude underrated?

    At some point it begins to seem selfish. Often, I’m in my own little cocoon, and there’s a lot of making up to do. As I grow older, I realise that life is not really what happens on a movie set. The truth is that people forget you, even if you’ve done 30 years of amazing work, and you’ve left a legacy behind. When you’re 70 or 75, you’re not going to have that fame and adulation. People aren’t going to want to take selfies with you, and after it’s all done, who’s it going to be? It’s going to be you alone in a chair with an oxygen tank, wondering where everyone went. I’m painting a drastic picture right now, as a warning to myself that this could be me, and I don’t want to be that person. I want to have healthy grandchildren, a companion, even at the age of 80.

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  • What are the benefits of “isolating” yourself from society?

    Lots of things. How I see it is that I need to love myself, I need to be comfortable with myself, even if I’m just reading a book, or watching a really silly movie on Set Max, or playing football. I have two amazing dogs, and I love being around them. Stuff like that puts life in perspective because everything can’t be exciting, and if you can enjoy mundaneness, then you’ve cracked it. In general, I can be pretty detached. I don’t have many relationships – as in, friends, or even family. You could say it’s a manufacturing defect.

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  • What was the last piece of good advice that Imtiaz Ali gave you?

    He keeps telling me to give more: to my work, to people, and that’s the path I’m on right now. To open myself up to relationships, to what other people expect of me instead of closing myself off and ignoring it.

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  • You once said you’ve learned a lot about life from your directors, especially Imtiaz Ali and Ayan Mukerji. What did you learned from them?

    I think Imtiaz and I fell in love with each other when we worked on Rockstar; there was a deep connection. And Tamasha is my favourite film. We continue to feel a lot for each other, though when you don’t work with someone for a long period, a certain distance creeps in, because you’re consumed by someone else’s energy. Ayan, more than my director, is like a father. He’s taken the role of my stepfather, someone who nourishes the human being I am, while still being critical – of my behaviour, my work. That reality check is really important.

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  • Would you say you’re an introvert?

    I’ve always been an introvert. My mother used to wonder how I’d grow up to become an actor. I never spoke, I guess I had a confidence issue. When I act though, I can channel another self through a character. It gives me the licence to be shy in my personal life.

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  • We’re a generation that thrives on constant stimulation. Does having a lot of time on your hands scare you?

    I guess being away from social media helps. Because I’m not on it, I’m not used to that [sense of] constant gratification. I’m okay not being spoken about or written about or applauded or criticised. When you have a bad phase and your films aren’t doing well, there’s a sense of insecurity. But this is something I’ve chosen right now. The trick is to feel secure, and have faith in myself as a person, as a talent, because that’s contagious.

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  • What's the best part of being an actor?

    The best part of being an actor is that it's an exciting life. You choose and you are your own boss. You choose your own journey and stories. You have so many people to take care of you on-set. You feel very special. But then when you go home and are all alone by yourself, then you wonder what are all these people. So, you always want to be spoilt for life.

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  • What's the best part of being an actor?

    The best part of being an actor is that it's an exciting life. You choose and you are your own boss. You choose your own journey and stories. You have so many people to take care of you on-set. You feel very special. But then when you go home and are all alone by yourself, then you wonder what are all these people. So, you always want to be spoilt for life.

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  • What kind of films were a part of your childhood?

    I think mostly my parents' films. Me and my sister while eating meals at home used to watch films like Amar Akbar Anthony, Khel Khel Mein, Rafoochakkar and all of that. We grew up watching Amitabh Bachchan, our parents, Vinod Khanna, Dharmendra. The Khans have been a huge influence even on my work because those were the actors I admire. Then, of course, the phase of Abhishek Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan. I have seen every generation because I loved films and wanted to be an actor. So, I have really studied them all in front of the camera and beyond that.

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  • You belong to a very rare breed of actors; whether the film is hit or flop, your acting talent has never been questioned. When you get all these things, does it make you elated and confident as an actor?

    No yaa. Because I have been born into a film family, I understand that 'yahan sab chadhte suraj ko salaam karte hain'. Success is very fickle. It takes you to a place where you yourself don't know how you have reached this place and then everything just goes away. At this age in my life, it's also very important to have real things- family, relationships. One must have a life beyond films. I can't be too dependent on the destiny of my films because it's too much of a roller-coaster. It really takes you to certain places and drops you and that can really be detrimental to your mind and health. So, I do my work, give it my best and then have a life beyond films.

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  • Irrespective of how your films are fair at the box office, your performance has always managed to leave behind a mark on the audience and won rave reviews from the critics. How do you view this?

    A film process is not just about me or another person. What I hold in the highest regard is that the film has to work. Me being good or bad doesn't matter. I am a part of a story which has to entertain people. So, I don't give too much of attention to a film where I am appreciated. I don't care about that. The film has to be loved. That's the bigger picture and I think that's the endeavour in every film of yours that a film has to reach out and entertain them worth their money. You feel bad when a film doesn't do well. In such cases, I don't necessarily feel good when I get positive reviews or people applaud my performance.

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  • What was your state of mind on the last day of shooting Sanju?

    I feel really relieved and happy when a film is over. I am scared of attachments. When a film is over, I am very happy to go on my next journey. That has really helped me as an actor. I am not emotionally sad when a film gets over. Of course, there are some bitter-sweet emotions. But I am pretty good at that switching off.

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  • Like you mentioned in the last couple of years, you didn't have success. Does Sanju bring in some kind of pressure on you?

    Every film is a pressure. When Ae Dil Hai Mushkil released, it was a successful film. But Jagga Jasoos failed to connect with the audience. When a film releases and it's a success, you are like, 'Phew, I am saved' and then you move on to the next. That's all you feel with the success. But failure stays with you for a longer. A lot of it is written in the media. There are a lot of opinions which your friends and film industry gives you. They tell you to do more commercial films, work on the physique etc. But I guess what helps is having complete faith in myself and a belief that I can be strong in this phase and continue doing good work. I guess that's what takes you along. I am really grateful for Sanju, Brahmastra, Shamshera and the Luv Ranjan film. I have exciting films ahead in my life. It's also a very important phase in my life as an actor where I really have to take the next step after doing coming-of-age films and young boy roles. I am also growing older and have to evolve myself as an actor. So, I am looking forward to this new phase.

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  • When Rajkumar Hirani approached you for Sanju, did you discuss it with anyone in your family or in the industry?

    I did speak to my family and they did have a reaction. When my father first heard about it, he said it was a great idea. He probably knows Sanjay Dutt's life inside out and felt that a good film could be made on it. But at the same time, I was staying at my grandmother's house and she was like, 'Yeh biopic kyun kar raha hain. You should do more commercial films. You are a Hindi film hero, sing songs, look good." So, she comes from a school of thought which is probably my grandfather's era. But when she saw the promo, she was happy.

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  • Did you breakdown at any point while enacting any scene?

    Sometimes when you are giving a shot or doing a sequence, you feel connected so much to the moment and emotion that you really feel something. However, as an actor, I understand how to detach myself from certain emotions. You have to be in and out. When I was doing Rockstar, that film really took me to a certain emotional phase in my life where I really felt tired and spent. So, you learn with experience. Now after 10 years, I can understand how to step back from the scene or the character. But subconsciously somewhere, you do get affected and I really enjoy that about being an actor. It's not really superficially coming on sets and doing few lines and going back. The more I feel, the more I connect to a part or an emotion, I feel alive as an actor. So, I look forward to such parts and such emotions and scenes. I really enjoy doing them.

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  • You now know Sanjay Dutt as in and out now as a person. Was there anything which shocked you?

    Everything shocked me. To be honest, I knew Sanjay Dutt in a very different way. I knew him as a family friend, somebody who has been very fond of me. I used to work out in his gym so I would hang out a lot with him. But when I read the story of the film, it had the classified files of a human being which even I didn't know. Often when I was enacting a certain scene and sequences, I myself used to think what he must be going through and thinking at that point. Now, I only have more deep respect and admiration for him after doing this film because I saw a completely different side to him. Whenever I used to do any important scene, I used to call him up at night before shooting and speak to him for long hours just to understand what he was going through in his mind and psyche. I am really happy that he supported me and my performance and gave me a lot of his own personal emotions which I am sure is quite disturbing to relive and redo.

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  • Whenever you do a biopic , there is always a risk of glorifying the said person. Did you ever ponder upon that thought and discussed it with Rajkumar Hirani?

    I think Sanju is an absolute honest portrayal of a man. Sanju Sir has been brave enough to give his life in a way that he's a fallen hero and shown the grey side of him. The whole drug phase and where it takes you in life. There's a great learning in that. His mistake with the AK 56 gun and the underworld and everything that happened in his life. I don't think Rajkumar Hirani needs to make a propaganda film for him. He saw an honest and great human story in it. That's why he took it up.

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  • Were you prepared for the comparisons with Sanjay Dutt when you took up Sanju?

    Yes, of course. I think when I took the responsibility to portray Sanju Sir in a Rajkumar Hirani film, I understood the pressure and baggage that it comes with. Sanju Sir is such a loved superstar. He is still working in films. I think it's for the first time in the history of cinema that somebody has made a biopic on a living actor. But I recognized from the script of the film that it was an opportunity of a lifetime for me to do this and I had to have complete conviction and belief in myself that I could do it. Initially, I didn't have that confidence and wasn't sure that I could look like him. He has this macho alpha image whereas my personality is very different. But once I read the script and story of the film, it showed Sanju Sir in a very human way. It's not the Sanjay Dutt that we all know. It's Sanjay Dutt behind the scenes- what all he went through with his family- his drug phase, jail phase, the death of his mother, his friendship, his bond with his father. So, I saw a very human story which excited and inspired me.

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