He loves sweets – in fact, even before we can start the interview, he hollers to his Man Friday, “Yaar woh oats wala meal bhijwaa dena please. Iske pehle ki main sare brownies kha jaun. (Please send my meal of oats before I gobble up all the brownies).” He is none other than super energetic Ranveer Singh, the actor who dared to storm the industry and make a niche for himself right up there. Read on as he spins tales of his success and struggle, delights with his many anecdotes and even gives his opinion on being a fashion trendsetter.
You came out of owhere and conquered Bollywood. How did you manage to do that?
I don’t think I have conquered Bollywood as yet.
Well, it’s been seven to eight years, you have grown in stature as an actor and given so many big hits.
I think a good number of things have happened in seven years. But I have a very long way to go. My vision is vast and compared to the amount of things that I want to achieve, this is a very small part. It is a good start of course, I can’t deny that. But it is only a start.
Did you always think that you would be an actor?
I always wanted to be an actor but for a long period of time, I didn’t believe that it was achievable. It seemed too far-fetched to think that I could become a leading man in mainstream Hindi cinema. I had given up on this dream for a long time and started pursuing something else. But when I was in the university, I started randomly taking an acting class, I enjoy it so much that I finally said, ‘Nahin yaar, I want to do acting only’.
So, the signs were very clear. But I wanted to act, not just that, I wanted to act very specifically in mainstream Hindi films as I am a big fan of Hindi films. So I told my dad that I have made a decision to shift my focus and become an actor. He was like, okay, if that’s what your heart wants, you must go for it. I really appreciate the support he showed me at that point of time.
So, how has the journey been, from Bitoo Sharma (Band Bajaa Baraat) to Allauddin Khilji (Padmaavat)?
When I was starting off, I used to have a chip on my shoulder and think that I could act the pants off anyone. I thought I was the best actor around. But with each passing film, I realised how little I knew about the craft and how much more there was to learn and how the craft of acting is limitless. There is absolutely no end to what you can do as an actor, the depths to which you can go, getting into the skin of a character. And there are so many wonderful actors with so many different styles one can learn and imbibe from. Like Anil Kapoor, like Deepika, like Anushka. I have had some wonderful co-actor experiences, especially and particularly Anil Kapoor. To see the level of zeal and enthusiasm he has towards his work is amazing.
Can you narrate any incident with Anil Kapoor?
In Dil Dhadakne Do, there was an emotional exchange between him and me. And he had performed his bit for the camera already. But there he was standing off camera and giving me cues. His level of seniority is such that he was well within his rights to not even stand there and give me cues. But not only was he standing there for three whole days and performing with unflagging energy and enthusiasm, very cognizant of the fact that if he gives me the right cue, I will react the right way and it will only help the scene better. The amount of love and respect I had for him as a fan was immense, but after working with him as a professional, it just went up 10-fold. It’s almost as if I am infected by his energy every time I meet him.
Ranveer, now you’ve got name, fame, success… Has it ever turned your head or made you arrogant?
I have been fortunate enough to have a wide variety of life experiences. The highs and lows that I have had the good fortune of seeing taught me a lot. Whatever luxuries my family is enjoying today weren’t always there. I have seen those days and remember them very fondly. I have a great amount of value to the adulation that is shown to me in the sense that I don’t think it is a small thing. When somebody wants to meet me or give me a hug or get a picture taken, I think it is amazing and I attach value to that. So, I make sure I give back the kind of love I am getting from my fans. Priyanka (Chopra) makes fun of me. She says, ‘You know what your thing is, ki dekh yaar, main actor ban Gaya, Mujhe yakeen hi Nahi ho Raha hain yaar. It’s like mumma mumma, dekho yeh log mujhse milna chahte hain!’
It is almost as if every day I wake up, and I can’t believe that I am an actor, a so-called hero in mainstream Hindi films, something I always wanted. But that’s because I very fondly remember the days when I wasn’t famous at all. And I think if you don’t lose sight of where you are coming from, you are good. The arrogance will never set in.
Ranveer Singh is this bundle of energy, man with a quirky fashion sense, trendsetter… Who is the real Ranveer?
I don’t know. I get asked what is the secret of my energy and where does it come from… I think I have an inherent lust for life. I feel like it is very deeply ingrained in me that I have this one life and so I think it is important to make the most of it every day. And that’s what I try to do. So I put a great amount of energy in everything that I do and I guess it stands out and gets noticed.
As for my fashion sense, I agree it’s not a thing that mainstream leading men do — experiment with fashion choices — to this degree which is why I guess my fashion sense gets noticed and discussed a lot. But to be honest, I have always been like this. My Whatsapp group of 30-40 classmates aren’t the least bit surprised because they have been seeing this stuff since I was in 1st standard. In the 3rd standard, I got my hair cut in a mohawk, after that I got both my ears pierced, from there I got those temporary tattoos on both sides of my head. I wore baggy jeans in the 6th grade and people were like, ‘My God, his underwear shows yaar!’ They used to call me atrangi or an oddity. So, I am very used to making these very ‘brave’ fashion choices. It is a part of my personality. I just do things freely without any filter I guess.