Considering the kind of work Ranvir Shorey has done in films and web series, and his versatility as an actor, it is surprising that he is yet to make an appearance in a Hollywood project. Ask him about it and he is refreshingly candid about his unsuccessful attempts at auditions. “I have auditioned for international projects, but never got a break. It’s been a mirage so far. It’s not what I work for anyway. I know ki main isi kuyein ka daddu hoon (I am a frog in this well). I am happy that I can make a living here and do the work I love,” he says.
His recent outings, whether it was the black comedy Kadakh or the family thriller Tabbar on Sony Liv, have only strengthened his belief that good stories and content will always get noticed. Streaming platforms, he believes have provided a democratic space where the audience can choose to turn a small film into a big one and vice versa.
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“Not to forget, you can consume content from across the globe. Currently, the whole world is hooked on Korean content. So, why can’t we have a phase in the world when everyone is watching Indian content? Let’s up the game! We are already the world’s largest producers of films. Let’s start making our films and series so good that the world watches it,” he enthuses.
Making a mark
The Mithya actor kickstarted his film career in 2002 but it wasn’t until 2006 that makers and audience took notice of his talent. “Khosla ka Ghosla released on one Friday followed by Pyaar Ke Side Effects the next week. That one week changed my life,” he recalls with a smile.
One of his biggest strengths as an actor is his versatility, whether it is as the dacoit in the wonderful Sonchiriya or as an inspector chasing a missing bag full of money in the comedy Lootcase. Ranvir credits the engaging scripts and the makers who trust him with such diverse roles, for what he manages to eventually bring on-screen. “For instance, Rajat Kapoor has shown an immense amount of faith and trust in me, which has helped me a lot. It’s not just about how the audience perceives you — from a comedic actor to a dramatic actor to an intense one, but what it does to your confidence,” he explains.
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No time for rumours
Watch him in a film like Titli or even A Death in the Gunj, and you marvel at how well he manages to showcase the simmering violence and anger lurking just beneath the surface of the characters. Rumours of Ranvir’s own hot-headedness and impatience have been around for a long time. Fatherhood, of course, has calmed him down but the actor claims that even earlier, that’s what they were — just rumours. “The film industry is a political space. People here have agendas and spread rumours according to what they want. There are a lot of people here who are far more hot-headed than I am, but they are known as angels because of their strong PR machinery or because they have friends in media houses,” he says.
Ranvir, whose father KD Shorey was a Hindi film producer, too had his fair share of enemies in the business, he recalls. “A lot of people wanted me written off before I even began. So, that is something I have lived with,” he says. In the early 2000s, Ranvir had a public fallout with Mahesh Bhatt and his daughter Pooja Bhatt and he attributes some of his reputation to that time. “If I was truly problematic, I wouldn’t have had huge production houses like YRF working with me or independent filmmakers like Rajat working with me on multiple projects. Jinko doosron ki jhopadiyaan jalaake mahal banana hote hain, unko aap kuch nahi kar sakte (You can’t do much about people who want to burn your house to build their palace). Let my work do the talking; that’s my mantra,” he shares.
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Projects and more
His work speaks and how! In the recently-released Tabbar, the actor channelises the ambition of a local politician while imbuing him with a certain unpredictability, so the audience doesn’t know whether they should sympathise with him or feel terrified of him. “Unpredictability is a great trait to have in a character. I find it very rewarding,” smiles Ranvir, who adds that his endeavour has always been to humanise every character he is playing, no matter how dark or negative it is. “Bringing a human element to something which exists on paper or in a story is very important to make it flesh and blood,” says Ranvir, who took up the role as he wanted to work with director Ajitpal Singh, whose earlier work had left an impression on him.
Ranvir recently also reunited with his friend, colleague, and neighbour Vinay Pathak after 17 years to co-host the sketch comedy show Chalo Koi Baat Nahi. Their ‘gehri dosti’ has seen them work with each other numerous times, including Ranvir Vinay Aur Kaun?, Oye, House Arrest, Duniya Goal Hai, and Cricket Crazy. They have also teamed up for the crime procedural IPC 420 directed by Manish Gupta. Ranvir is also looking forward to Santosh Sivan’s action-thriller, Mumbaikar.
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