Ranveer Singh comes across as a livewire, impossible to pin down and have a detailed discussion with. Fact is, it is unwise to judge the man by his outer behaviour.
Veer the conversation to his acting evolution in the past four years and he is full of rumination and self-analysis. Ranveer believes he was too raw in his first film.
“I was an over-rehearsed actor who would think and over-think, was so fixed on the role interpretation that often I’d get stuck and refuse to get moulded into what the director wanted.”
In fact, his first two directors, Maneesh Sharma and Vikramaditya Motwane both pointed out that it was something he had to work on and that he would have to adapt faster, better and more effectively.
The actor reveals that a significant spike in his learning occurred during his first collaboration with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, during Ram Leela.
“Mr Bhansali has a very fluid style of filmmaking, his creativity is free-flowing, he keeps improvising and asking you to do things on the spot that you don’t expect. You are thrown into the deep end and just have to do it because time is money and everything is set up for you to perform.”
This helped break the mould for Ranveer, because even if something didn’t sit with him immediately, he had to quickly get over it and do the action. He believes he evolved rapidly as a performer with that film.
On a self-critical trip, he avers that he was personally very disappointed with his performance in his second film, Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl. He was very new and hungry, hoping for a performance-oriented part but wound up with a film which he dubs as “more popcorn”. It lacked fulfillment for the actor within him, as it was light and concerned with only its principal players looking good.
It was followed by Lootera, which he considers his favourite performance till date. Looking at it in hindsight, he muses, “Today I appreciate its cinematic quality and poignancy.
I believe it is a much greater film than it was perceived at its release.” He adds that he has watched it multiple times and understood more about his performance, as it’s so subtle that things he emoted probably did not register on first time viewing.
Believing that he was too conscious at the time of shooting, he shares that he kept worrying if he was going too low-key and so internal that nothing was translating on screen.
He is aware that while his fears perhaps came true for the audience, there is a section of viewers who consider it his best performance till date. “I learn that more and more people are seeing it on DVD and write in to me that the film is actually a cinematic jewel that did not get its due credit at the time.”
He rates Ram Leela as his grand showcase because there was lots of action and dance, where he could show himself off as a performer. Bhansali is the one he gives full credit for, for demanding and bringing out the best in a performer, and for giving him that opportunity at a time when Lootera had not even released.
His outing in Dil Dhadakne Do came as a welcome surprise after the high intensity of his previous film. He admits that critics were wondering if he was single type of actor, who was only good in showy parts, in a loud, playing to the gallery space. Ranveer did not take that criticism to heart.
Instead he turned his attention to showing what was next in his repertoire, which was distinct in its tonality from anything he had ever done. He shares that Dil Dhadakne Do was easier for him because he was playing an urban boy which he is in real life. What also could have helped was his cutting out on caffeine and plumping for green tea instead, he grins. We prefer to think he’s being modest – his growing skills cannot be dismissed so easily!
Now he’s got his sights on his upcoming Befikre. The most exciting aspect about this film, he declares, is Aditya Chopra. “He said he wanted to make his film twenty years ago but for some reason he could not.
He has made pious romances, which is the traditional side to him, but he’s also wickedly humorous; you will see his zany, irreverent side in this film.” He personally sees it as an honour that he (Ranveer) is the only leading man Adi has worked with other than Shah Rukh Khan. We can’t blame him for feeling rather chuffed!