With a blockbuster like Goliyon Ki Raasleela – Ram-leela and a super-hit Gunday on his resume, Ranveer Singh has instantly become one of the sought after actors today. If directors promptly name him as one of the most promising actors in the industry, then the trade pundits label him as an actor with a bright future, while film-makers like Zoya Akhtar regard him as hot property.
Suddenly Singh is not only sweeping the audience off their feet, but has made the industry sit up and take notice of him. So what catapulted the actor on the popularity charts and the wish-list of every film-maker?
“Ranveer is an unparalleled combination of powerhouse talent and childlike enthusiasm. He has the bandwidth to perform any kind of role in any genre,” is how Maneesh Sharma, who directed him in his debut film Band Baaja Baaraat, describes him. Agrees Vikramaditya Motwane the director of Lootera. “Ranveer’s forte as an actor is that he is sincere, extremely hardworking, driven, focussed and talented. I would rate him as the best of the new lot.”
Trade analyst Taran Adarsh also scores him above all the young actors when it comes to connecting with the audience. “Ranveer is outspoken, media friendly and warm towards people. I have seen how friendly he is with fans who come up to him. It’s his gregarious personality which people find very appealing,” says Adarsh.
On his part, Singh who always dreamt of becoming an actor, credits his performances to his love for cinema and the craft of acting. “I have always been obsessed with films. When I went for parties, the minute the DJ went into raw Hindi film music mode, I would be rocking it out on the dance floor. Arjun (Kapoor), who is a close friend, would join me. Hindi music and films were a passion for both of us,” says the actor, smiling at the memories.
Understandably, it’s his love for the process of acting that has helped Singh in fleshing out his onscreen characters with elan and make them real. He brought a lump to the throat as the passionate, yet subdued lover in Lootera, filled up the screen with his effervescence in ..Ram-leela and had the audience cheering him as one of the dynamic protagonists in Gunday.
“Ranveer has been in the industry for only three and a half years, but look at his choice of films. There is a Lootera, a …Ram-leela and a Gunday. Not many actors get the chance to work in such a variety of films, so early in their careers. Add to it, the fact that both …Ram-leela and Gunday were hits, which is the ultimate crowning glory in the film industry. He has a very bright future,” opines Adarsh.
Film-makers say that the audience are in awe of his presence — he has that X- factor essential for a star. But when it comes to clamouring for space on screen, the actor seems to be least bothered with that. “If I were to start hogging the entire limelight in a film, it would affect my work. I went into Lootera knowing that the love story was heroine-dominated. I went into Gunday knowing that it was a two-hero project, and now I will start shooting for Zoya Akhtar’s film, Dil Dhadakne Do, that has an ensemble cast. The story, script and character is more important to me in a movie than thinking of space taken up by another character. If I know my part, I am excited and confident about doing a good job with it. I go for it. In fact, I always knew if the chemistry I shared with Arjun because of our off-screen rapport, was translated on screen it would be special. In fact, I wanted to do a film with Arjun much before Gunday was offered to us,” he says.
If film-makers say that he is a talented actor, trade analyst Vajir Singh feels he also has the capacity to draw in the audience into the theatre. “The opening of a film depends on the curiousity the audience has for an actor in a film. And the fantastic opening of Gunday was entirely due to Ranveer Singh. It was his presence in the film which drew the audience. At one time, Ranveer was a multiplex actor, but now he is accepted in single screens too. He is excellent in action and dancing and has shown a flair for comedy in Band Baaja Baaraat too. He is a complete package. Ranveer has definitely arrived, and now he can only grow,” opines Singh.
The statement is seconded by Ali Abbas Zafar, the director of Gunday. “Ranveer has star quality and talent, which very few actors have. He has matured as an actor and is now hitting the mainstream cinema in his own way. His comic timing, dialogue delivery and dancing skills have taken him from multiplexes to single screens,” says Zafar.
But it’s not that the actor is ready to take on any commercial entertainer to prove his pull in the single screens. He took on Gunday because he says it was a mass entertainer with a difference, was credible and substantial. “Today mass entertainers have become an insult for a film as they are just a collection of items and gags. Gunday stayed true to the integrity of story telling and invested in its characters,” elaborates the actor.
Then there’s Shaad Ali’s Kill Dil, the film he is presently shooting. This Yash Raj Films’ production is also an entertainer replete with romance, comedy, action and drama. “I cannot say much about the film and my character except that it’s unique as a genre. But what I must mention is that when I would dream of acting in a movie as a youngster, the director in my dreams would be Shaad Ali and producer Aditya Chopra. It’s very surreal and beyond words when I try and describe the feeling. And the biggest high is to get to share screen space with Govindaji (Govinda). I have grown up watching and admiring him as my hero and idol. He was my inspiration to become an actor and now actually sharing screen space with him is as if something has been conjured from my imagination.”
Singh also has no qualms of imbibing the nuances of acting from more experienced co-actors. He is an observant co-actor and quick to learn, which is apparent when he talks about Priyanka Chopra, his co-star in Gunday. “Priyanka is a hungry actor and can enhance a scene. When we were doing the song Jiya, we had to do these lifts. She would say you know what to do for this one, ‘Grab me here and swing me around like this and we will end up in that position’. It’s easier. I tried it and it worked,” he says with a smile.
The actor whose motto is ‘never slack in whatever you are doing’ realises that there has been a marked difference in the way the film industry now perceives and responds to him after two hits. But he also understands that …Ram-leela had more impact than Gunday.
“...Ram-leela doing well was a complete surprise because it was so improvised and not something I signed on. Mr Bhansali (Sanjay Leela Bhansali) changed everything during the making of the film, even the character, and I was not sure how people would react to the film. But its success had an instant impact. And I know how the public, media, producers and trade feel about me now. Understandably, it had a much bigger subject, bigger budget, a much bigger co-star, an established director. Personally, there is a difference for me when I take up a film and the broad arcs are always constant, but I can feel and understand the change in perception about me. I was also very happy with Lootera considering it was a niche film. It did a business of Rs.35 crore in a week and was the best reviewed film of the year. More than that it has a life. Even 15 years down the line you can watch it and appreciate it,” he predicts.
The change and the appreciation is indeed visible! A no-nonsense director like Zoya finds him ‘hot property’ saying ‘she is very excited to start work with him’. Sharma chips in saying that it is unfair to compare him with anyone but he’s the brightest talent we have around.
No surprise that film-makers want him to be part of their projects. According to his spokesperson, he is in an advanced stage of talks with Bhansali for Bajirao Mastani and there are reports that he will be doing a film with Aditya Chopra and may even land up playing the lead in Motwane’s Bhavesh Joshi. Besides, he will also be seen in a cameo as Deepika Padukone’s husband in Finding Fanny.
Interestingly, there are also plans to diversify in other creative aspects of film-making in the next few years. “I want to start writing films, producing and maybe, even directing films and composing music. But I am not confident of the other skills as yet as I am too caught up with acting,” says the film industry’s hottest star on the block.