There is a marvelous quality about actor Ranbir Kapoor. It is a quality he adjusts for films of different mood and is extremely convincing in any role he does whether it’s a young spoilt brat or a hardworking salesman. He has a consistency about him, which enables him to find something of himself in every role without histrionic striving.
Only four films old, he has become immensely popular. Not only has he charmed his fans but has also been crowned by many as the next superstar.
In an exclusive chat with Businessofcinema.com, the promising Kapoor lad talks about his last film Rocket Singh – Salesman of the Year, his perspective on certain things in life and his forthcoming films.
In your last film Rocket Singh – Salesman of The Year, you play a Sikh and you actually grew a beard. Why did you decide to do so and how was the experience?
Yes it’s the first film I actually had a physical appearance change and I learnt a lot from it. I learnt how important it is to feel the character and since I am playing a Sikh in the film we wanted my character to look real so I decided to grow a beard. I could have stuck a beard every morning but that would have been really uncomfortable.
Shimit (Amin) was very clear that the character should not look like an actor trying to look like a Sikh. We also got professional people to tie the pagdi, to make sure it was done correctly and that it stayed in place. I am a half Sikh since my mother is a Sikhni but I didn’t really understand the religion as much as I do now. I have a lot of respect for the Sardars, the kind of sacrifices they make and the kind of discipline they have in their religion. It’s not easy to keep a beard and tie a pagdi in warm countries but they still maintain it and I really respect them for that because they do it for a religious purpose.
Since your mother is a Sardarni, how much did she appreciate your get-up in the film?
My mother was extremely thrilled but more than her, my maternal grandmother who passed away a couple of months back, was very happy that I was playing a Sardar. It was her dream to see me as a Sardar. In fact, the night she passed away was the first time I went home in the Sardar get-up and it actually brought tears to her eyes and joy to her face.
You played a salesman in the film, how many salesmen do you actually entertain in real life? Did this film change your outlook towards salesmen?
I don’t think anyone entertains salesmen. We normally get irritated with them, but after doing this film, I feel they deserve more respect. They sit in their little cubicles everyday making around thousand calls a day, which is not easy and we are so rude to them. At times we just bang the phone when they call. I realized that we need to be more polite to them because every profession needs to be respected.
There were just three songs in Rocket Singh. How important or relevant are songs in a film according to you?
Times are changing, in most of the movies that I am doing now I am not singing, I do miss it because I’ve grown up watch songs in films but I do realize the cinematic liberty that we used to take is changing now with progressive cinema, new ideas and new directors. They want to stay true to the story they are saying, they don’t want the songs to be a roadblock to their storytelling but if it’s taking the story ahead then yes they will have songs. If not then they won’t and I absolutely support that.
You are the fourth generation actor from one of the industry’s most famous and successful families. Do you feel the pressure to excel or to keep up the family name?
No I don’t feel any pressure as such because I work as an individual. I don’t believe in genes and I don’t believe in living on what my great grandfather, my grandfather or my parents have achieved. I am here as an individual and not as somebody’s son or grandson. If my films are doing well I would like to take some credit for it. Sometimes my films will do well, sometimes they wouldn’t. All I want to do is go to work every day.
Does your father – Rishi Kapoor – make it a point to watch your films?
Yes he does. He’s very interested in what I do and he’s my biggest critic. He always calls a spade a spade. He doesn’t shy away from saying what he feels is right because he feels it’s his right and more than being a part of cinema he is also an audience.
Also if he doesn’t tell me the truth, who will? He cannot be a hypocrite to his own son. He’s got this reputation in the industry that he always speaks the truth and speaks his mind. My mother is my biggest fan whereas my father is my biggest critic. Most of the criticism that he gives me is constructive and most of the time in the right spirit but sometimes I can debate it. It’s not that his word is the last word.
How much of influence have your parents had on you as far as choosing your films and the kind of roles you do?
My parents have never sat me down before I started doing films and said – "Ok now you are becoming an actor and these are the things that you have to do." They have let me make my own mistakes and let me take my own decisions and I think that’s great because I can take credit for my success as well as brickbats for my failure. That"s how you learn and grow as an actor. That"s what my parents have done for me and I respect them for that.
How much do you relate to the movies that your father does and how much influence have your grandfather and your father’s films had on you?
I am not shy about saying that my father is my favorite actor. When my sister and I were little we would eat dinner watching his film. So for me a lot of my influence has been from my father and my grandfather’s work at the same time also from Mr. Bachchan’s work or the other great actors of that time.
Having said that, I don’t think I could do a Prem Rog if someone asked me to do it in today’s day and age because I cannot connect to that. It’s a different time, maybe 10 years down the line people will not relate to movies like Wake Up! Sid or Ajab Pem Ki Gazab Kahani or a Rocket Singh Salesman of the Year – so it all depends on time but that does not take away the fact that you like that movie or you enjoy watching that film.
Do we see you acting with your father in the future and how soon will that be?
Of course I would love to do a film with my father but nothing exciting has come where we both have liked a film individually, to be a part of.
What are your forthcoming films?
My forthcoming films are Prakash Jha’s Rajneeti, where I’ve worked along with Ajay Devgn and Katrina Kaif, and also Siddharth Anand’s Anjaana Anjaani with Priyanka Chopra.