Ranveer Singh Curated

Filmfare Award-Winning Actor

CURATED BY :      +44 others


  • What is the importance of the line “it’s not a winning total but a fighting one” in terms of the 83′ World Cup?

  • What do you have to say about your upcoming movie Team 83′?

  • Did you get any tips from Kapil Dev while learning his techniques for the upcoming movie Team 83′?

  • What will be your approach in the movie Team 83′?

  • What impact does the previous success have on you in the making of Team 83′?

  • Even after three blockbusters, you seem to have managed to keep your feet firmly on the ground. How come superstardom sits pretty on your head?

    Even I think a lot about it. Fortunately, I have good people around me who keep me grounded. Without their support, I would not be able to do it. The fact that I bec­ame an actor is such a blessing that I keep saying it is a miracle. I don’t know if at some point of my career I will be able to give an ­in-d­e­p­th breakdown of how it happened for me. I got very lucky, no doubt, but I also made my own luck. After three-and-a-half-years of struggle, I finally got a break with Yash Raj Films. My family was going through a financially difficult phase in that period. My parents had to sell off our bigger house and move into a smaller one. In my tiny room, there was a big poster of Rocky (Sylvester Stallone’s 1976 Hollywood film) with a tagline which read, ‘His whole life was a million-to-one shot’. Every morning I would see that poster and read the tagline, which pretty much sums up my journey of getting my first break, in a sense that I too had a million-to-one shot. Even now, every morning when I wake up and get ready to leave for work, I think about my day and I pray. My prayers consist of nothing but gratitude for the opportunity given to me to perform, entertain and spread joy.

  • Did you expect that less than a decade after your debut, you would be counted among the top stars of Bollywood?

    I had always imagined ­myself to be an actor but to be in the position where I am in today is beyond my wildest dreams. Thankfully, with success, I think I have matured in the past two years very rapidly in my outlook, value system and beliefs. I believe that when something like this happens, two things can happen to you. It can either go to your head or it can make you humbler and grateful, if you realise what a gift, a blessing and a miracle it is.

  • But your current phase was preceded by a time when some of your movies did not do well? Did you learn anything from your failures?

    To be true, failure made me resentful initially. When Ladies versus Ricky Bahl did not fare well or when people criticised me for my off­screen persona and my dress sense it filled me with bitterness. But when I star­ted getting success with films like Lootera and Goli­yon ki Raasleela Ram-Leela followed by a unanimous echo of validation of my work as an actor, I began to feel more at ease with mys­elf. I understand that for the success of a film, the credit is not solely mine, just the way the blame for failure is not entirely mine either. Hence, when a film clicks, I am very happy momentarily but that feeling passes off fast. At the same time, I feel bad momen­tarily when a movie flops but it passes off very fast too.

  • From Lootera to Gully Boy, there are many stories about how you prepare for each role. Do you consider yourself to be a method actor?

    I don’t think the term ‘method actor’ is used or und­erstood properly by the majority of people. I have studied method acting, which is deeper and much more layered than how it is colloquially referred to. I don’t call it ‘method’; I say this is my process. As an actor, I have to have ­conviction inside me about a particular character. I need to go on a quest within me to find a part of myself and bring it to the fore to create this character. For example, if there is a quiet, sensitive person inside me, I have to tap that aspect for parts like Lootera, Dil Dhadakne Do or Gully Boy. I believe everybody has a dark side and I have to tap into that side in me for roles such as Alauddin Khilji’s in Padmaavat. All these ­aspects are part of your personality. I just have to find a particular aspect and bring it out in keeping with the requirements for a specific role.

  • But have you gone too far to get into your processes as an actor?

    Of course, there was a time when I felt like having overdone things. Looking back, perhaps in Lootera, for instance, there could have been a better way of evoking feelings of pain within me for my role of a wounded man. Basically, the character gets shot at intervals and in the rest of the movie he walks around with a bullet injury. I used to put very tight clips around the area where I was supposed to have been shot; at as a result of which it used to go numb. It used to be imm­ensely painful during the shooting. I would put it on in the morning and just before the camera would roll, I would whack it hard there to let the pain spread across the rest of my body. I would then walk through in palpable pain. So any shot you see in Lootera where the character is supposed to be in pain, I was in a real physical pain while shooting. I admit that it was an extreme way of doing things and I resorted to that because I wanted to do it in the most authentic way possible. Looking back, I would not have done it.

  • What about Alauddin Khilji’s role in Padmaavat? We have heard that you took extreme measures to get into the skin of that character?

    For Khilji’s role, I locked mys­elf up in an apartment for three weeks before shooting started and I would engage with all kinds of sounds and imagery that were in the realm of darkness. All the walls of my house were covered with ­imagery of maiming, dismemberment, pictures of mass killings, genocide and other gory things. I would only read about tyr­ants, torture techniques, about the life and times of people like Hitler and Ivan the Terrible. I would listen to the soundtrack of horror films and watch dark-themed cinema of Lars von Trier. When you do such things from morning to night for a long time, you don’t know that at some point it starts consuming you unconsciously. It works like a marination and I had marinated myself totally in darkness. Finally, when I came out after three weeks, it had taken over me like a ghost. I was so consumed by my own darkness that I did not realise when the lines bet­ween real and reel began to blur. I remember vividly when somebody made a mistake on the sets one day, I felt like choking him on the sets. That is when I realised and told myself, “Hello, you are messing it up, bro. This is just a character, not you. Get a grip.”

  • Didn’t you do similar things earlier for Bajirao Mastani?

    Bajirao Mastani was particularly interesting because I had never done a period film before. For that movie, I had booked a room at a Juhu hotel for three months. I did not meet anybody, including my family members, while I was trying to get into the skin of the Maratha warrior. Funnily enough, Bhansali sir did not know about my preparation until I came on the sets on the first day of its shooting. It was only after I started speaking dialogues that he discovered it. To give credit to him, when he rea­lised that I had done the preparation for the character beyond the written pages of the script, he gave me a free hand to do the role my way.

  • With Sanjay Leela Bhansali, you have formed one of the best actor-director collaborations in recent years.

    n Goliyon ki Raasleela Ram-Leela, we had a completely different dynamic. In the three films we have done tog­ether, I seemed to have worked with three different directors. That is the beauty of working with him and that is why he is such a genius. However, we still feel that we have not even scratched the surface of our collaboration. I keep joking to him that I am Bobby (Robert De Niro) to your Marty (Martin Scorsese). I believe every dir­ector finds that in an actor and vice versa. It is like for all the crazy ideas in Bhansali sir’s head, he needs a crazy person to execute them. This is what he tells me. He says he knows that I will be game for executing whatever paagal ideas he has or at least would try. I share a beautiful working relationship with him. My understanding of this craft has largely been moulded by him. I had fixed ideas about acting but he came and shattered every myth. He really broke the shackles, all the barriers, boundaries or the limiting parameters that I had created for myself. He unl­eashed me and that is why I say that he is my guru.

  • What about other directors such as Zoya Akhtar and Rohit Shetty who are known for making movies with different sensibilities?

    Zoya and I have very different dynamics. It is beautiful in its own way because she is a friend and a confidante and we are on the same wavelength. Our beliefs and value system are very much alike. When I am working with Bhansali sir, I am working with a father figure, a guru or a mentor but with Zoya, I am with a friend, a buddy, a jigri dost. I have different dynamics with different directors. When I am working with Rohit Shetty, it is like working with a big brother. He treats me like his younger brother and I feel protected. He is a guide, an inspiration who leads by example.

  • Did you expect such an overwhelming response to Gully Boy, both critically and commercially?

    Gully Boy is a film that strikes a fine balance between the credible and the commercial. I was thrilled to bits when it did a business of Rs 135 crore. I thought it had punched above its weight with an opening day collection of around Rs 20 crore. For me, there is a lot of credibility att­ached to Gully Boy bec­ause I was closely associated with the project. I can truly appreciate the work of its dir­ector, cinematographer and editor. Also, Ankit Tiwari curated the kind of world class music you had not heard of in Hindi cinema. Sure, the theme of the film of an underdog’s fight is very traditional but its treatment was completely fresh and novel. It was completely Zoya’s baby and she fully dese­rved all the accolades because it takes courage to take a completely fresh idea and see it to fruition.

  • Now you are playing Kapil Dev in your next film, ’83, which is based on India’s 1983 World Cup triumph over West Indies. Isn’t it more challenging to do a bio­pic on a living person?

    t is a first for me. It is even trickier than it sounds bec­ause it is about a living person who has a context, a reference, which means when you are becoming that character you have set par­ameters for him. Everybody knows how he looks and talks; there is already a page and you have to get on that page. I think, on a blank canvas, you can make any portrait you want to but if there is a canvas with a picture on it, the challenge to match it becomes very different. Unfortunately in 1983, ­photography or videos were not very advanced. There­fore, there are insufficient materials on that World Cup. There is not even any recording of the historic innings of 175 not out that Kapil Dev played against Zimbabwe. When you play such a characater, you need more than what is available in the public domain but here the ­material was not enough.

  • How did you go about it?

    You can only go and spend time with the actual person and try to connect the dots as to what he or his world was like 30 years ago. You keep talking about the time and try to extract whatever was going on in his mind at that time. I stayed at Kapil paaji’s house as a guest for weeks and interacted with him every morning and evening. I had shot hours of videos of him just speaking at his Delhi house. I made that my primary source. Also, his daughter is one of the ass­istant directors in the film, which fortunately helped me a great deal.

  • In promotional posters, you bear an uncanny resemblance to Kapil Dev of 1983. It must have been very tough to bring your looks close to the real person?

    I am very proud of the work that the make-up team has done. I spent close to 40-50 hours in the make-up chair trying to get the looks right. You would not believe it but the prosthetic technology is so advanced now that they can make me a splitting image of Kapil Dev but Kabir Khan sir (the director) felt that people should feel that Ranveer is playing the role of Kapil Dev. And it was only when I finally started feeling like him that we commenced the shooting. I would work on the field for six months, the maximum amount of homework I have done for any character so far. I could speak, bowl, bat or even dance like Kapil. At times, it used to turn so spooky that his daughter used to get shocked at the similarities. We had pacer Balwinder Singh Sandhu, who was part of the 1983 team, as our coach and consultant and he used to watch every ball on the monitor. There were INS­tances when even he would turn teary-eyed because it was too overwhelming for him to relive those days.

  • What was it like shooting for such an epoch-making sporting event in the annals of Indian sports, especially at Lord’s where the final was played?

    To tell you the truth, I experienced something unique during the shoot, which had never happened to me. We had to shoot the crucial trophy presentation scene at Lord’s. There is, of course, a video available of those mom­ents and we had the challenge to make it as close to the real as possible. Lord’s management was thrilled with what we have done with the film. They opened their historic Long Room, which is meant only for its members. We were given unprecedented access. And there we were, standing on the real balcony in the heritage part of the building holding the orginal trophy, not a replica, for the shoot. The film has the sons of Clive Llyod, Malcolm Marshall and Sandeep Patil playing different roles. Lloyd was himself present there. Prior to the shoot of the presentation scene, we had gone through the rehearsals and were about to begin but moments before I had to disengage myself from the environment, I seemed to have an out-of-the-body experience. That moment seemed so real that it scared me. At that mom­ent, I could even hear the cheers of the crowds. In the next few minutes, everything fell in place and the long shot of me walking and receiving turned out to be 98 per cent perfect. It was so overwhelming that some of my co-actors and even Kabir sir burst into tears. All of us cried. When Kapil was told about it on phone he also turned emotional.

  • You must have played cricket as a student. Did it come in hand for you?

    I used to be an excellent middle-order batsman. I was never a bowler which, for­tunately, came in handy bec­ause I did not have an existing bowling action which I had to unlearn. I started from scratch while preparing for the character. For six months I was trained by Sandhu sir and I saw endless amount of videotapes. I used to spend four hours on the ground and three hours in the gym during the day. Mornings were used for skills training and evenings for physical conditioning. We did non-stop work on cricket and cricket only. If you look at my phone you will find only cricket in my inbox.

  • A breathtaking catch of West Indian great Viv Richards was also taken by Kapil Dev in the final. Did you also prepare for that?

    Yes, I did train for that, as also for his great knock of 175 not out. However, it was not all that easy in the beginning. I would go to the gym to build my body like Kapil Dev but I had to reduce my muscle mass which was not an easy task.

  • The film also stars Deepika Padukone playing a key role…

    We are very blessed that Deepika gave her nod to the part. I had not discussed it with her but she was taken by the extraordinary nature of the story. That is why she agreed to the cameo. I can tell you for sure that she is not doing this role bec­ause it is her husband’s movie but because she was genuinely interested in the role when Kabir sir narrated the story. In fact, she got the narration of the final draft before I had.

  • What do you think is the biggest USP of this movie?

    The story of ’83 is so spectacular about a team nobody bel­ieved in, which went on to earn the ultimate glory and change the face of the nat­ion’s sporting history forever. That is a very special story, which today’s generation needs to know. Even I did not know much about it until Kabir sir narrated the story. I was in disbelief when he told me certain det­ails of what had happened. Though I have been a cricket bhakt over the years, even I did not know the behind-the-scenes story. Kabir sir is a thorough film maker and he knows how to extract the best out of his team and how to tell an evocative and cinematic story.

  • After delivering three solo blockbusters you could easily have opted for another single-hero project. Why did you choose a story which has a minimum of 11 characters?

    Many people had cautioned me against doing this after my recent hits. They told me to go for a solo-hero film where I would be seen alone on the posters but I did not have to prove anything. I thought that with whatever name and fame I have earned in the past nine years, such stories deserved to be told. It is one of the most proud chapters, a game-changer and a real turning point in our sporting history, which must be celebrated on celluloid. I feel this is the kind of a film that I want to back, empower and put my energies behind.

  • At a time when you are enj­oying the fruits of success, how do you look back at your early days of struggle?

    My struggle period coincided with the time of my family’s hardships. When you are born into a certain lifestyle it can be difficult when you have to take several steps down. From age 16 to 24, while we were trying to socially keep up a façade that everything is okay, we were actually going through a very lean phase fin­ancially. In spite of that, my dad would do whatever he could to reverse the fortunes, working from morning to night. But it lasted for good eight years. I have been trolled in the past for talking about the tough times my family faced. Normally, I don’t get aff­ected by trolls but it hurt me bec­ause their understanding of my family’s struggle was wrong. I have seen a life of abundance and the dearth of materials also.

  • And then, there was a rum­our about your father paying money to buy a role for you?

    Yes, it was so hurtful at the time. I had toiled for three-and-a-half years and my parents were making so many sacrifices in order to be able to afford everything that I needed. I was doing an undergraduate course at the time and they did everything they could to send me to the US for higher education. I was a bright student and was doing a course in media studies, theatre and a lot of other things before I decided to be an actor at the age of 19. I did not have any immediate contacts or family that I could bank on for a break in films. I was an assistant dir­ector for a year-and-a-half and I also did theatre for a year-and-a-half. I got my portfolio clicked, would go from one production house to another. I would sit outside Prithvi Theatre for days, met casting directors of all hues and even faced casting couch. I was encouraged but at the same time also humiliated on many occasions…One irresponsible publication wrote that my father paid Rs 10 crore to get me a role. It was so absurd but I started getting messages on Facebook with people enq­uiring whom they should pay to get similar roles. It was all so hurtful. I could have been an example of merit-based selection for lead roles in Hindi cinema but somebody chose to fictionalise my story and put that thought into people’s head. It was so sad and abs­urd. Such things hurt but you have to learn how to deal with people who hurt you. At the end of the day, if you know who you are and where you come from, then it might upset you temporarily but never faze you.

  • How do you feel about your first masala film "Simmba"?

    My first ‘in and as’, how about that? I earned my stripes. I put in the work. You have to have a certain amount of equity. You can’t just get an ‘in and as’ unless you’re super lucky. Lekin time se pehle aur aukaat se zyada kisi ko kuch nahi milta. Simmba has happened at the right time and in the best way possible. I always wanted to foray into the genre but not with anyone other than Rohit Shetty.

  • Did you and Rohit Shetty discover you were made for each other during that ‘Ranveer Ching’ ad?

    Actually, that was a big plot that I had hatched. That was me fielding. Ching’s came up with this enormous budget, unprecedented. So we said, “Who should we go to?” And at first, I thought, “Let’s get Guy Richie.” It didn’t work out. So we said, “Okay, let’s look at someone closer to home in Mumbai who can do this.” Only one name comes to mind when you’re thinking that kind of scale – Mr. Rohit Shetty.

  • was Rohit your idea for the ad film Ranveer Singh Ching?

    Yes, because I genuinely thought that there’s nobody who can mount it like him. He knows what to do with a big budget. You want to give it to somebody you can be confident about and we were very confident that he would be able to, if he got into it, give us something big. He set it up and I went to shoot there and I knew this was like a test for me. If he liked my work, then in the future he may consider working with me. On the post production of that ad, we were dubbing for it in Yash Raj Studios, and he comes into the dubbing room and he said, “Mere paas tere liye ek subj–,” and I was like, “Haan, shooting kab hai?” I was on like donkey kong. We really have bonded over the course of shooting the film but earlier than that, his movies were my favourite kind of movies to watch. In terms of a shared viewing experience, going to Chandan, going to Gaiety; watching Golmaal 3, Chennai Express, Singham – there’s such joy in that and there’s nobody who does it quite like him. There’s a certain panache with which he goes about making commercial cinema which I’m a huge fan of so he’s been a top-rated director for me always.

  • Why do the action films like simmba work?

    And that’s something I would like to tell you personally and everybody else who may or may not be the biggest fan of this kind of cinema, it’s painstaking. There’s a lot of work, a lot of thought and effort, hours, sweat, blood and tears that goes into making something that is seemingly very frivolous. But it’s for entertainment. And look at the number of people, the hordes and hordes of people he entertains! He really is a front-footed, unabashed entertainer. We’ve been really honest in the making process. It’s shooting round the clock, back breaking sequences. Everybody is constantly thinking of how to contribute, make it better. He has a very unique process as well, it’s like he’s packed up day 1 at 6 pm and from 7 to 12, he’ll remain on the set, send all the talent away, keep the assistants back and they will actually block the entire scene, shoot it, edit it. When you arrive the next morning, he will show you the edited scene with music and everything, so everybody is crystal clear on what we’re trying to achieve and then it just works like clockwork. Everybody knows what to do. It’s a very unique process

  • where do you get the swagger from? They can’t teach you that in any acting school.

    He actually does. In Rohit Shetty films, you don’t just walk. There’s a science to it because he knows when to slow it down. When he’s watching the take, the background music is already playing in his head. You’ve got to take his little cues when he gives them to you because then you’re just going to see the most immaculate walking shot. He says, “Don’t close your fist, leave them a little loose. Just cross your steps like this.” He’s one guy who definitely micro-manages the swagger. Of course, there’s an inherent swagger but he works with it and it’s just immaculate.

  • Is it harder toning down than to do something that is much louder? Projecting so much?

    Well, for your boy it is. The way I am is the way I am on the poster of Simmba. Gully Boy is me after having gone under some evolution, having seen life a little and having understood various other things. But it’s learned. My core is this. In Simmba, there’s a lot to do and Gully Boy, you just have to be. In Simmba, I’m the center of everything – I’m saying a lot, there’s lots of dialogue and action, I’m driving the scene. In Gully Boy, there’s a lot happening around me and I’m reacting. I’m very quiet. Two very different modes of performance and how blessed I am to have Zoya Akhtar on one hand and Rohit Shetty on the other. Gold standard in their respective genres and styles, but they’re poles apart. In terms of output, I don’t feel as exhausted on a day of Gully Boy’s shoot as I do on a Rohit Shetty film. In terms of sheer energy, wattage, output, there’s just a lot more you’ve got to pump in there. In that sense, it’s tougher. But personally, I’m a doer. So to just be, I need to wrap my head around it. It takes a Zoya to rein me in.

  • What is your response to criticism that the simmba was peddling archaic stereotypes?

    Not at all – they are all strong characters in the film. I can’t elaborate much on this until the film comes out. To me, the women of the film are very much at the centre of things. If you’re not the protagonist and if you’re the catalyst, you’re still pretty pivotal in this narrative and they most definitely are. I guess one can’t hold that against anyone to infer that from the way the trailer’s structured, but the trailer is the trailer. There’s only that much time. People won’t think this once the film comes out.

  • How is the work life balance going for you?

    It’s very difficult. I’ll come to the work-life balance after I tell you about the dub. My god, what a difficult dub! The thing is, they were all dialogues that were delivered very spontaneously and mostly, I did them all in one take. I chose to break the metre of the writing and say it my own way. And for some reason, I chose that this character speaks very fast and says everything in one breath. Now when I look back at it, I think I made every choice to make this, by far, the most complicated dubbing job ever. To match the spontaneity, to say everything in one breath, to speak at the speed of knots is like… it was a slog to dub for it. That’s why I started it so early. I had to go in and get started, it was going to be a very involved, immersive process. It was almost like doing the performance all over again. This work-life balance thing is not working right now. I’m working 20 hours a day. I’m not complaining – I’m enjoying everything that I’m doing. But the missus isn’t particularly happy. I have promised her that once this film releases, I will streamline my life in a way that I will be able to maintain a respectable work-life balance.

  • Stardom comes with a price. What is the price you paid?

    Certain instances can agitate you. The lack and invasion of privacy being one. False media reportage can also leave you disturbed. Sometimes people just cook up stories. They don’t realise that it could affect a human being profoundly. That it’s bad karma. Mobile phones are adding to the nuisance. They don’t even ask you for a picture. It’s bad manners. They take pictures and videos even when you’re eating or when you are in the washroom.

  • Are there things which annoy you?

    People ask me how I am such a happy person. They ask me whether I’m really happy or faking it. I believe we are living in a maha kalyug. It’s the worst it’s ever been. I can’t understand why people find it hard to believe that I’m a jovial person. They don’t realise that I just count my blessings every day. I’ve so much to be thankful for? How can I be a dull and morose person? Maybe, if I had not become an actor, I would’ve been a different person. Perhaps, I’d have been bitter and resentful. Right now I have all the reasons to be happy.

  • What are the things that make you happy?

    Work, family, friends... Everything is beautiful. I’m also someone who likes to make others happy. I guess, I’m blessed with this ability. I do that on a daily basis. If I spread happiness and joy, I’ll get it back manifold. I find it amusing that people can’t wrap their heads around my happiness. It makes me wonder how many cynics are out there. Yes, the agony of existence is always there but you can choose to ride that wave and be happy through it all. That’s why I live my life to the fullest.

  • How does it feel to work three times in a row with Sanjay Leela Bhansali?

    I’m thankful to Mr Bhansali for that. Aditya Chopra once told me that you should give your director so much that they can’t look beyond you. You must leave no stone unturned in adding value to their vision. I’m happy that this is the case with him. Sanjay Leela Bhanslali is truly an enigma. He’s a special man. He’s blessed with these unreal talents. He’s hypersensitive and intelligent. He cannot digest mediocrity. The defining phrase for Mr Bhansali would be ‘the relentless pursuit of excellence’.

  • Popularity, great roles, awards… is it like living in a surreal world?

    I do feel so! At least once a day, invariably in the morning, I find it hard to believe what’s happening in my life. Today I was on stage with Kapil Dev and I had to pinch myself. I’m going to play him in one of the biggest movies of Hindi cinema. I thank the Almighty for giving me the opportunity to do what I love. For wonderful people to work with, for my loving family and friends. Every day in prayer I remind myself as to how big a deal this is for me. I only wanted to be one thing all my life. It’s a dream which lakhs dream of. They come from small parts of the country to this big bad city to make it as an actor.

  • Tell us something about your latest song, ‘Moscow Mashuka’.

    I cracked ‘Moscow Mashuka’ about 2-3 years ago. This song is not like my other dance songs. It has a laid back vibe to it. I have written the lyrics from the point of view of a gangster who has fallen for a Moscow girl. The song is basically a conversation between the two.

  • After your super successful collaboration in ‘Makhna’, you and Neha have come together yet again. How has been your experience singing with her?

    I have worked with Neha Kakkar in songs like, ‘Manali Trance’, ‘Sunny Sunny’, ‘Aao Raja’ and others. We share a great vibe and chemistry and that shows in our songs. After ‘Makhna’, I called up Neha to tell her about the ‘Moscow Mashuka’, I told her that she would be singing in Punjabi. As I have now stopped drinking, I have written from her point of view where she is saying that there was a time when you used to drink so much. It has always been fun working with her. She is amazing. She is one of my favourite singers.

  • You re-introduced rap culture in Bollywood. How do you think it is being carried forward?

    I wouldn’t say I got the rap culture into Bollywood. There have been legendary artists like Apache Indian, Baba Sehgal and others. Even Shankar Mahadevan had sung ‘Breathless’ which was a kind of a rap. But I have tried blending hip-hop and rap together and everybody has appreciated it too. The hip-hop culture is growing leaps and bounds now. When I started I kept the rap easy and blended it into hip-hop so that everybody can sing along. But now the main hip-hop, lyrical one has especially become popular. After ‘Gully Boy’, a lot of doors have opened up and it is really good.

  • What are your opinions on the current music scenario in Bollywood?

    The current music scenario in Bollywood is very exciting. There is straight hip-hop and there is strayed-up hip-hop which is coming up. The trend of remixes is also coming up which is very good. I love remixes and I think it is a very difficult task to popularize an already hit song. All the people are doing a great job.

  • You have worked with Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and other superstars. Who else is in your bucket list?

    I feel I am very lucky that I got an opportunity to work with legends like Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Amitabh Bachchan. My new bucket list is quite big. I really want to work with Ranveer Singh. He is like my brother. I would also love to work with Ranbir Kapoor, Varun Dhawan and Tiger Shroff. All these people are amazing and I think my collaboration with this younger lot would be quite entertaining

  • Did you like Ranveer Singh’s rap in ‘Gully Boy’?

    Ranveer Singh’s rap in ‘Gully Boy’ was amazing. In fact, Ranveer had also rapped in ‘Ladies VS Rciky Bahl’. I loved that too. Before ‘Gully Boy’ happened, Ranveer and I had actually discussed that we would do something together.

  • On advice you would like to give to the budding rappers in the industry?

    All the budding rappers are already doing a great job. They are doing what they love and in music it is better if people listen to themselves. So I avoid giving suggestions when it comes to music.

  • How do you spend your free time at home during the lockdown?

    I am spending a lot of quality time with my family which otherwise I don’t get to do. I have a studio of my own at home so I am making use of this free time to make some more music. I am also writing songs. I am coming up with a lot of ideas. I have also been working out at home. I have got my kick-boxing kit at home and I have also been doing cardio. I have been eating healthy and making music.

  • Bollywood is slowly getting back its 90s pop music culture. What are your opinions on the same?

    The pop-culture of Bollywood has been very melodious and lyrically enriching. It is coming back along with the remixes. The old time is being presented in a new way and I feel it is great. Although the remixes and remakes have been getting a lot of criticisms, I would like to emphasize again that it is not an easy job. So I really love what is happening in Bollywood music.

  • One message you would like to give your fans?

    The only message I have to all my fans is keep loving and supporting Yo Yo Honey Singh. I am what I am because of them and I do what I do for my fans only. My song ‘Moscow Mashuka’ has already garnered immense views and this is possible only when you have such loving fans. I really want to thank all my fans.

  • What talent of yours which overshadows all others talents you have?

  • Are you somebody who broods the lord after something if it doesn't go away or just like you know what i did it & move on what kind of person are you ?

  • Heroes have lot of saying for the movie so do you have any heated conversation with the director or the mind of the movie saying this is not going right lets do this or at the end he said whatever he have said is done?

  • Stardom comes with a price. What is the price you paid?

    Certain instances can agitate you. The lack and invasion of privacy being one. False media reportage can also leave you disturbed. Sometimes people just cook up stories. They don’t realise that it could affect a human being profoundly. That it’s bad karma. Mobile phones are adding to the nuisance. They don’t even ask you for a picture. It’s bad manners. They take pictures and videos even when you’re eating or when you are in the washroom.

  • Are there other things which annoy you?

    People ask me how I am such a happy person. They ask me whether I’m really happy or faking it. I believe we are living in a maha kalyug. It’s the worst it’s ever been. I can’t understand why people find it hard to believe that I’m a jovial person. They don’t realise that I just count my blessings every day. I’ve so much to be thankful for? How can I be a dull and morose person? Maybe, if I had not become an actor, I would’ve been a different person. Perhaps, I’d have been bitter and resentful. Right now I have all the reasons to be happy.

  • Three times in a row with Sanjay Leela Bhansali. How did that happen?

    I’m thankful to Mr Bhansali for that. Aditya Chopra once told me that you should give your director so much that they can’t look beyond you. You must leave no stone unturned in adding value to their vision. I’m happy that this is the case with him. Sanjay Leela Bhanslali is truly an enigma. He’s a special man. He’s blessed with these unreal talents. He’s hypersensitive and intelligent. He cannot digest mediocrity. The defining phrase for Mr Bhansali would be ‘the relentless pursuit of excellence’.

  • Popularity, great roles, awards… is it like living in a surreal world?

    I do feel so! At least once a day, invariably in the morning, I find it hard to believe what’s happening in my life. Today I was on stage with Kapil Dev and I had to pinch myself. I’m going to play him in one of the biggest movies of Hindi cinema. I thank the Almighty for giving me the opportunity to do what I love. For wonderful people to work with, for my loving family and friends. Every day in prayer I remind myself as to how big a deal this is for me. I only wanted to be one thing all my life. It’s a dream which lakhs dream of. They come from small parts of the country to this big bad city to make it as an actor.

  • What are the things that make you happy?

    Work, family, friends... Everything is beautiful. I’m also someone who likes to make others happy. I guess, I’m blessed with this ability. I do that on a daily basis. If I spread happiness and joy, I’ll get it back manifold. I find it amusing that people can’t wrap their heads around my happiness. It makes me wonder how many cynics are out there. Yes, the agony of existence is always there but you can choose to ride that wave and be happy through it all. That’s why I live my life to the fullest.

  • Were there moments when your parents were unhappy about your career choice?

    To be fair, my parents have always supported me. They’ve helped me at every step. They supported me when I called them halfway through the university and told them that I wanted to become an actor. You can imagine how bizarre it must have sounded to them. They told me first get the degree and then pursue my passion. My dad supported me throughout my struggle period. He coughed up money for my portfolio, for my physical training and for my dance classes. And it was not the best financial time for us. Three and a half years of waiting is a long time. At times, he did question if the path I had chosen was the right one and whether I was serious about it.

  • Stardom comes with a price. What is the price you paid?

    Certain instances can agitate you. The lack and invasion of privacy being one. False media reportage can also leave you disturbed. Sometimes people just cook up stories. They don’t realise that it could affect a human being profoundly. That it’s bad karma. Mobile phones are adding to the nuisance. They don’t even ask you for a picture. It’s bad manners. They take pictures and videos even when you’re eating or when you are in the washroom.

  • So would you rather have critical acclaim or the numbers?

    The idea is to do something where you find a midpoint. Frankly, I don’t understand business. I can make the audience laugh, I can make them cry. But I don’t understand picture kitne mein bani, kitne mein biki. Just for curiosity I ask these questions. The day I do a project that is designed to do numbers that will be the death of me as an artiste. I’m happy I’m bad at numbers. Only then I will do movies like Band Baaja Baaraat and Lootera. Otherwise I will do brainless three-figure film. I don’t care much for most of the films in the 100-crore-club.

  • Did dancing come easy to you?

    For my first audition, I was required to enact a couple of scenes, but the second one required me to dance! Maneesh rolled the camera and said pick your song! I chose 'My Name Is Lakhan' and 'Chaiya Chaiya'. In the feedback, they said you can dance, you have rhythm but your moves are terrible! Then I met Vaibhavi ma'am who made me dance and then made moves according to what I naturally can do. I am not trained, but enjoy it. That's why I get away with it! She made me do dance classes. Finally we rehearsed before the shoot. The songs are so much fun, I never felt like I was going to work. If you choose a job you love, you will never feel like you're going to work.

  • What have you discovered about yourself as an actor since Band Baaja Baaraat? How have you changed?

  • From all your films, if there’s one character you connected with the most, who would that be?

    All my characters have been extremely dear to me, but I most connected with my role in Band Baaja Baraat, Lootera, Bajirao Mastani and Padmavati. I’m still on the fence about my role in Padmavati — though it was intensely gratifying and fulfilling to play the character, it was a difficult process.

  • One life lesson the industry has taught you?

    After 7 years, if there’s one thing I’ve learnt, it’s to keep your focus on what’s important. Keep your head down and concentrate on what you’re doing.

  • How do you balance out your work life and your personal life?

    Right now, my work is taking precedence, but over a period of time I’ve realised it’s important to keep in touch with my friends and family. It’s admittedly a bit lopsided right now. I know I can do better and I intend to when work starts happening a little on my own terms, but until then, work is my life.

  • You are known as the youngest superstar in Bollywood today. Was it hard work, sheer luck or an insane amount of talent that got you here today?

  • As a performer who aims to please his audiences, do you ever feel under pressure to be ‘on’ all the time? Do you ever have a ‘bad mood day’?