Ranbir Kapoor: That Touch of Class

Ranbir Kapoor teams up for the first time with Shraddha Kapoor in Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar. Photo: Spice PR

The man exudes class. Ranbir Kapoor is a fabulous human being, a terrific actor and radiates CHARISMA in capital letters. Son to true-blue star legends Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh, he bears his family stamp with the same humility for which the entire First Family of Hindi Cinema is known.

On the eve of the release of his latest film, Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar, Ranbir Kapoor opens up on multiple topics. It is a joint interview with the producer-director Luv Ranjan, who jokes and warns the media that he can predict what Ranbir will answer if asked about becoming a father and how he is hands-on in the process, Ranbir, as usual, is his composed yet humorous self.

Excerpts from an interview follow:

You recently stated that it is easier for you to cry than laugh. What was that all about?

When I was working on Saawariya, Sanjay Bhansali-sir told me that I have naturally sad eyes because they were droopy added to my facial bone structure. Yes, crying comes easier to me. I smile but I don’t have a laugh that sounds good on screen.

You also said that you are not going to do rom-coms anymore.

I was typecast and accepted in that genre. There were a lot of offers, but I realized that I was reaching some dead-end as the stories they were proffering were quite similar. And not all of my rom-coms had worked. Also I am 40, and no more quite the young man of 2007, when I had started out. There are younger names that can do such roles better, and I would like to get into other areas. I would love to do, for example, a sports film, a war film, or a movie in which I play a father. Yes, I might consider a rom-com that is different, about someone who is older!

I instinctively liked Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar when Luv narrated the idea to me—it was something new. And my character, Mickey, is among the very few characters I have done that I would want to be like. His value systems, his life, family and basic grain are all impressive. And Luv understands this genre. It is a very family film, not very contemporary, but plot-heavy and interestingly told.

Is there any change in your choice of subjects after marriage?

No, because I do not think that I have done any questionable work. I am quite responsible as an actor and will not do something that influences society in a bad way. It’s another thing that a certain kind of people considered my character in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani as an example of toxic masculinity. I do not think it was so, but then I am just an actor, not the character.

Ranbir Kapoor in Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar. Photo: Spice PR

This question is very relevant today: is it fair that actors are blamed for flops?

I would say that is very fair, because we get the bouquets too when a film does well! And an actor is as good as the film: if actors understand this, they will have less of egos.

Do you think that any of your flops would have done better today?

You know, I feel that cinema and content always find their audience sometime, maybe even 10 years later. Guru Dutt’s Kaagaz Ke Phool, and my grandfather Raj Kapoor’s Mera Naam Joker were disasters when released, but have now become iconic. Mera Naam Joker remains the highest-selling film of my father today! I think, if I choose a film of mine here, it would be Rocket Singh—Salesman of the Year. The audience is king—it is never wrong, so something must have been wrong with the film in 2010. But maybe, today, on OTT, it may be a great watch. Such films should be made for OTT, so that we don’t waste people’s time and money.

Arising from that, how much has filmmaking changed, since the time you first assisted on Prem Granth and later even with Bhansali?

Cinema is always changing, and techniques have changed, as today you can make a film sitting in a room. But storytelling remains storytelling, and if your films have honesty, and there is truth in your characters, people will like your film. Filmmaking, after all, is not about just getting actors’ dates and making money.

Another change is in the way music is used now. What do you have to say about the role of music in your movies, from Saawariya to Brahmastra, with films as musically rich as Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, Barfi!, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Jagga Jasoos in between? Interestingly, leaving aside your first film, all have had Pritam’s music.

Music has really helped me, got me a lot of recognition and love. The problem is that new directors find it hard to see characters dance and sing. I have got very lucky there as Luv too is a fan of lip-synched songs. Such songs are a big part of our Indian culture. We are the only industry that celebrates our songs, and our multiple genres within a musical movie make those films really stay on. The progressive, new-age, one-genre films are what our people find boring. They should be released on OTT or for smaller audiences.

Coming to Pritam, yes, it’s been magic every time! I guess I am lucky, and he also recognizes that I work hard on my songs, because I believe that songs make an impact. I love the process of music, of sitting in Pritam-dada’s studio and hearing him making tunes, and also with my directors when discussing the choreography. I love being involved in the music-making process as, for me, making music is as important as doing any key scene. And all my family members, from my grandfather Raj Kapoor to my dad Rishi Kapoor, all other family members like Shammi Kapoor, Shashi Kapoor, my mom Neetu Singh and my cousins Karisma and Kareena, are known for great songs too.

Having done so many romances, what is love all about for you?

I just love love! But I do not subscribe to the clichéd romantic concepts like candle-light dinners and so on. I prefer silences in love, spending time with each other and just being there for each other. Since Luv here is a good writer, I would even send Alia romantic messages that he coined for me after I gave him the thought, one even the day before our marriage!

Is doing light roles easier or otherwise?

A character like Sid in Wake Up Sid, for example, has a specific character graph, and is easier to play. Someone like Mickey is way harder as there are more facets and emotions to him. So a certain charm, skill and freshness are needed, and after 15 years you too get a bit jaded, and it is not that easy to reinvent another version of yourself.

What are your thoughts on your chemistry with Shraddha Kapoor?

On-screen pairing matters a lot, and the first pairing of two actors who have individually worked for so many years generates curiosity. Also, in a rom-com,  our energies must match, and there is scope to improvise and have fun. So I am very excited about our chemistry, and I have always maintained that chemistry is always on paper, and not just in the actors. And over here, the characters are very nuanced and layered, and every line and word has been carefully thought out.

Which one of your films would you like to show first to daughter Raha?

It would be Jagga Jasoos! And also my mother’s Do Kaliyan that she did when she was eight years old. It was a double role and was based on Walt Disney’s The Parent Trap.






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