Fenil and Bollywood

I make the best pair with Konkona Sen-Sharma-Ranbir Kapoor

Posted on: October 19, 2009

Man of the moment: Ranbir Kapoor

Ranbir Kapoor fell in love with movies while still at school. He talks to Subhash K Jha about love, life and how actors are overrated
TIMES LIFE! (October 18, 2009)

RANBIR KAPOOR’S earliest memories of his grandfather Raj Kapoor make him smile as he gets ready for his first shot for the day in Bhopal where he’s shooting for Prakash Jha’s Rajneeti.

“I was his favourite grandchild. Whenever my mom shouted at me I would call him up and he would fire her. I, being his first grandson, was special. Every weekend, the grandkids used to go to his home in Chembur. He kept a bag of toffees and gave us one every time we salomed him. I once asked him for a suit when he was visiting Russia. He got back two bags of suits in every colour possible. He never shopped for anyone else.” Wonder if the suits had anything to do with it, but Ranbir became an ardent fan of
Raj Kapoor’s cinema in school. “It was during my last days of school. That’s when I realised I wanted to be part of the film industry. The first RK film I saw was Sri 420. It influenced me deeply.”

Ranbir’s father Rishi
Kapoor wanted his son to get a formal education before he became an actor. “I completed my Standard 12 in Mumbai. Then I went to film school in America although everyone suggested I go to business school. But I don’t think I ever could do anything apart from movies. My father supported that and agreed to send me to acting school.”

Ranbir loved the experience of living alone in the US. “I learnt to value my fami
ly and my money. I missed my parents. I met them three times a year in Mumbai. In New York, my friends and I would take a train to Queens to see new Hindi films. Being in touch with Hindi films and music during my stay in the US made me determined to turn a director at the earliest.”

‘I’M REALISTIC ABOUT LOVE’
Ranbir didn’t have a girlfriend in the US. “But I had my first girlfriend before that in school in Mumbai when I was in Class 7. I was really naïve then. I didn’t understand love. When that relationship ended I went into depression. I thought I would never fall in love again. Now I think I’ve become more realistic about love. Love is a beautiful feeling. It almost equals cinema in my list of passions.”

Ranbir’s parents have been married for over 30 years. “I firmly believe in marriage. Marriages today go wrong for temporary pleasure and lust. My marriage will be for keeps.”

The Wake Up Sid actor has
seen his parents’ marriage go through turbulent times. “That’s what makes any relationship stronger. My sister and I were never kept in the dark about my parents’ fights. If after marriage, God forbid, my wife and I fight, I’d make sure our children don’t feel insecure.”

Ranbir feels Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh make the best ever pair on and off screen. “Just as Raj
Kapoor made the best onscreen pair with Nargisji. Me? I think I make the best pair with Konkona Sen-Sharma.”

He admits, “Yup, I think I have a wonderful life. But I want more. Much more. I don’t want my life to get perfect. Because then there’d be nothing more to strive for.”

The way he’s handling his career would have made his grandfather Raj Kapoor proud. If Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Saawariya brought Ranbir instant notice, his new film Wake Up Sid has given the young actor a cult status.

Ranbir isn’t taking the rave reviews seriously.
He pushes on doing his work, sometimes to the exclusion of a personal life. Girlfriend Deepika Padukone recently had to fly in to Bhopal to spend time with the country’s latest heartthrob. But when he’s shooting, Ranbir detests distractions. He’s so focussed on his work the people close to him feel left out.

For Shimit Amin’s Rocket Singh Salesman Of The Year, which releases next, Ranbir learnt to speak fluent Punjabi. “Rocket Singh made me a better human being. Not too
many roles do that. Though my mother is Sikh, I didn’t speak fluent Punjabi. But I started speaking Punjabi for the role of the Sikh. I wore a kadaa throughout the making of the film. I had a beard and turban. I read the Guru Granth. This film made me know and respect the Sikh culture and religion.”

‘ACTORS ARE OVERRATED’
Ranbir is all set to buy himself a home, “It’s just property acquisition. I’ll never live in it, not even when I get married. I can’t stay away from my parents.”

He also has a wishlist of 40 directors he wants to work with. It’s not just in his head. The names are diligently written down and being ticked off one by one. “For me, cinema and not just acting is a passion. I love filmmakers. Actors are generally just tools, and overrated.”

Ranbir reveals his plans as a director. “It sounds too pompous to say I’m already directing a film. But I’ve been inspired by the work of Raj Kapoor, Guru Dutt, Mehboob Khan, Bimal Roy. My father made me watch their works. I’m not influenced by actors. I’m influenced by these directors. They made me passionate about cinema. I’ve a number of ideas for what I want to make. But I’m not a good writer. I would definitely like to cast myself because I know my film would be about a boy my age. And I’d like to believe no one else would fit the bill better.”

He lights up when he speaks about his father Rishi Kapoor. “I loved my father in Love Aaj Kal. He’s a source of inspiration. His passion for any film, good or bad, is exemplary.”

He has signed only one new film. “I want to take a month off. On the other hand, these are the best years of my life and I might as well make the best of them. Truth is, I feel guilty when I’m not working. I would rather be on a film set than anywhere else.”

Pausing to think, Ranbir says, “I think God has already made plans for me. How things turn out are not in my hands. All I can do is follow my conviction.”
timeslife@timesgroup.com
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