December 31, 2021 6:22:47 pm
Ranveer Singh cuts a dramatic and memorable figure in real life. With his quirky fashion and infectious energy, the actor is like a ball of energy and you will not forget a meeting with him soon. However, watch him on screen and you will not remember the actor, you come back home with the characters — Kapil Dev and Alauddin Khilji, Gully Boy and Bajirao. And that is his big win.
As we sit down with him after he has brought a cricket World Cup and many accolades home post 83, he is a happy soul. The conversation veers towards his wife, actor Deepika Padukone who has also co-produced and acted in 83. She plays Romi Dev, Kapil Dev’s wife. Ranveer is effusive in his praise, explaining how she “balances his life and grounds him”. The actor also opens up about how he feels it is his duty to entertain people because otherwise “life is just an agonising journey”.
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Excerpts from the interview:
Are you overwhelmed by the response to 83?
People are laughing, crying, hooting and cheering, these cinematic experiences are so rare. I remember having this experience myself when I watched Lagaan with four of my friends. I remember feeling so euphoric and it was exhilarating. That was 20 years ago. It is hence becoming evident that 83 is a rare, epic film. It is like a once in a generation film. One should embrace and cherish this feeling. I am just trying to be there and receive all the love and appreciation. I’ll cherish this for the rest of my life. It was once in a lifetime sporting achievement, and I am aware that it is a once in a lifetime movie for me. I understand how rare it is for a film to be received in this way. I expected this from the audience, and that is what I have received.
Did you have concerns about 83’s release strategy as there is uncertainty looming over the exhibition sector?
We had anticipated that it’ll be Christmas and the festive season. We thought it’ll be the perfect time to present a film that evokes euphoria and ecstasy. It was just the right time, at least it seemed so. But given how volatile the environment is, things are changing every day. Nobody knows anything. We are all dealing with this beast (pandemic) that is so unpredictable. Literally 48 hours before the release of 83, we suddenly had all of these restrictions because of Omicron. It is such a funky time, not just for the film industry but for everyone in this world. Everyone, every business and every life is being affected. I heard today that they have shut down theatres in Delhi all of a sudden. It is a tough time and we have to take it in our stride. We need to stay strong and united. We will have to be committed to not be bogged down by this.
You have had back-to-back hits. What does that do to you as a person and a performer?
I have gone through different phases. There was a time when I only wanted to prove that I am a good actor. Every time a character resonates with people and they give me love and appreciation, it changes me and my process. I become more humble and grounded. Initially, I used to think that I know everything that there is to know about acting. Now, I feel like I don’t know anything. I feel like I am barely scratching the surface. I feel like there is so much left to explore, and I don’t know anything. It is like there is an infinite universe of possibilities, and I am just a dot. Over the years, I have realised that there is no extent to which you can transform yourself into a character and literally become another person. There is no extent to which you can devote yourself to a part. The possibilities in this craft are limitless. I am just hungry to do more.
My whole purpose in life is to entertain people. I have always felt that this life is a journey and this journey is very agonizing. There is a lot of pain and suffering in the world. Everybody is fighting through some kind of battle in their personal lives that we don’t really see. Everyone is going through a hard time, especially now when the world is going through a pandemic. So I just want to be this guy who entertains everyone along the journey. I’ll dance for you and laugh with you. I want to be the guy who is walking beside you and saying, ‘Hey come, I’ll tell you a story’. The story will touch your heart, making you laugh and cry. You’ll then feel light and forget that this journey is difficult.
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Are you also like that as a person? Or is it the actor in you who wants to obsessively entertain people?
I’ll give you a recent example. We were at the premiere of 83 and we had an after-party where my beautiful wife (Deepika Padukone) was there and I was on entertainer duty. I was making people dance and ensuring everybody is having a good time. I kept feeling like I am still an entertainer and I am still on duty. And then I went back to my wife who was relaxing with a bunch of friends and she was like, ‘Come, come, have you finished your duty? Now, come and sit with me. Is everybody happy now?’ Then she was like, ‘You don’t always have to be like this. It is not always your responsibility to entertain people’. And, I found myself telling her, ‘Baby, I feel duty bound to entertain people’. I take my duty and responsibility as an entertainer seriously and that manifests in many in real and reel life.
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Who is your toughest critic and your best cheerleader?
(Blushes) I think my toughest critic is Deepika, and my loveliest cheerleader is my mum.
It is my background and the journey that I have been on for the past decade that help me stay grounded. I am very fortunate to have Deepika as my life partner because she comes from a very simple background. She is very protective about that simplicity and she infects me with that as well. She is a very simple and grounded girl. Her family is too, so that helps as well. And then me and my family, we never lose sight of the times when things were different. I was not this established professional.
Personally, I never forget the place and space I am coming from and the times when I was trying to hustle as a struggler, trying to get my foot into the doors of the entertainment industry. It is so vividly etched in my heart and mind. I remember the kid who wanted to be an actor, and he miraculously became an actor. However, there was a time when I had none of this. The way my personal life is set up and my background contribute to me effectively being able to retain that simplicity and ‘groundedness’ in my core.
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