Interview By: DRISHTI PANDEY
Articulate, witty and full of energy, that’s Ranveer Singh for you, he has come a long way ever since he started out and has been garnering immense appreciation for his act in ‘Simmba’. Just as the film hits the marquee, we catch up with the actor for a chat, where he shared his experience being in and as Simmba, opinion on masala films, and how it’s a big deal for him to be in a Rohit Shetty’s film amidst much more…
Can we say that ‘Simmba’ is the most important film for you because you had said that it’s a bonafide in and as role?
Yes, it is. It is my biggest film so far and it is my first in and as, and it is a film that is mounted on me as a solo hero, this time, it’s me as Rohit Shetty’s leading man and that’s a big deal for me. This film was offered to me after ‘Bajirao Mastani’, I always wanted to do masala films but I wouldn’t do a masala film if it wasn’t Rohit Shetty, for me it’s nobody who gets it more right. So I really only wanted to do this genre with him because to me he is the king of this genre. I waited, and to me it seemed as if one has to earn ones tribes; you have to have a certain amount of acuity which qualifies you to become a leading man of a masala film. We did the chings ad together and I was dubbing for the ad at Yash Raj studio and I remember he walked into the studio and told me that, he had a subject in head and that I’ll be good for it and without a doubt I said I am on for it. (Smiles) It’s a film backed by two very big brands, Karan Johar and Rohit Shetty coming together makes it really massive project. I think our ambition for the film was higher than what the expectations were, to be honest when the film was announced there were a lot of expectations because Rohit shetty and Ranveer coming together, expecting dhamakedaar entry, we were well aware of it but never ever took it for granted. We wanted to exceed expectation which were already so high. The entire team had done our best and now we feel like we have got something which is gone beyond everyone’s expectations, it’s more than I had imagined as a film. We have Rohit sir and his team who have worked together for 10-12 years and this is one unique team, these are the same people who made ‘Golmaal’, ‘Chennai Express’ and ‘Singham’, they all were telling Rohit sir, that it’s his best film, Karan sir watches all the rushes and tells him this is the most assured work of him as a director. And what we are hoping for is that, when the audience will watch ‘Simmba’ they will recognize that there is a new benchmark in the masala genre, it’s a full on paisa vasool entertainer, having song and dance, action, comedy, romance, every flavor that you love to see in a masala film and the core of it is this substantial, narrative, pivot, which bids the entire story together and at the same time told in that cinematic language that we come to love from Rohit Shetty, the kind of cinema that the viewing audience can celebrate.
Since years we have seen cop films and its character being somewhat similar, as to being a corrupt cop; to being an honest cop. How would you describe ‘Simmba’ is it the partnership of both?
I think it’s been around for a while. I remember my first memory of a lovable role, arc type in mould of a police officer was Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘Shahenshah’, when he is not Shahenshah is this lovable cop and then I remember Lakhan and then there is Chulbul Pandey even Singham and of course all of them have similarities and dissimilarities but a fundamental trapping of playing a cop in mainstream Hindi films is that you have, as your predecessors, some really cult characters so the responsibly comes on the actor playing the part and of course the writers and the filmmaker; that you try your level best to create a distinctively different character. If you feel like – we have seen something like this before then we fail and the endeavor is to create that, the character can have its own identity and Rohit sir and I definitely want to take this character forward, and we hope that ‘Simmba’ will be loved by the audience so that we can take it forward with ‘Simmba’ 2,3,4,5,6.. (Laughs) and yeah we have worked hard and did some extra homework to make sure that the characters distinctively like, Simmba, will be Simmba and hopefully the audience will recognize that. And the intent is to make the character distinctive from any other cop characters that you see before.
As someone who is currently among the top stars in the county, what is your opinion on getting male super stars act together; is it actually difficult to get them together?
I am not a producer and I have never attempted that so I only can tell you in my capacity I was keen to play Lakhan and I have also done a 2 hero film in ‘Gunday’ also done a multi-starrer film in ‘Dil Dhadak ne do’, you have ‘83’, ‘Takht’, which are a multi-starrer film and I am not someone who will shy away from multi-starrer film or a two hero films and my track record was to show that. I have no insecurity that stops me from taking these films and these stories; I have no greed that provokes me to have everything. I am only happy to collaborate with other artist and for there to be a give and take sort of cinematic magic and for me the story is greater than anyone. So yeah, I don’t want to judge but in my opinion it will be rather foolish to pass on, on a great opportunity; if you have a great story and if you are secure as an actor there’s no reason one shouldn’t do it. I think we are entering a phase where everything is going to change, if we see the recent track record, if our content is good , we are accepted with open arms and people will applaud you and if it’s not, it doesn’t matter how big the film is or who is in it. It’s just going to be rejected, so in that kind of climate the power has shifted to the audience, they are not going to enter to see whatever you offer to them because they have access to content from all over the world. And in this climate I feel more and more actors are going to opt to be in stories even if there are multiple stars in it, I think they are going to do it and I think the times are changing and in my estimate there is going to be a golden era of two hero films, more two hero films and multi-starrer as we use to have back in the day and its definitely going to come back like now, may be next year.
You spoke about content drive cinema do you think the contemporary actors are somewhere shying away from doing masala films and looking for content films, wont that be bad for masala films in Hindi cinema?
I think masala films cater to a very larger audience and it will always have that grace in Hindi cinema. There are enough Fridays in a year to accommodate every kind of films. There are certain actors whose forte is to do high concept cinema and you have actors who do both and you can have actors who are well suited for masala films. So I guess there is work for everyone and there is space for every kind of film.
What was your take away from ‘Simmba’?
The main thing was that I couldn’t stop talking like Simmba. (Laughs) it’s a very distinctive way of speaking Marathi, not very heavy Marathi but very street Hindi with a heavy Marathi tilt. And I remember I use to talk chilling with my buddies and they’d complaint saying that – ‘who are you?’ and use to ask me to stop talking like Simmba. They use to remind me that my shooting was over and I need to come back. So this was the genuine complaint from my closet friends (Laughs) it’s actually very addictive, the manner of speaking, it was hard to snap out of it.
“I think masala films cater to a very larger audience and it will always have that grace in Hindi cinema”
A lot of people are opting for digital platforms, are you also open to it in doing a web series?
Yes, I am open to it but I will tell you what I am focusing on, if something comes along I am not going to be close to it and I am open to it and I never say no and I never say, never. I am very open-minded in that sense and any good content is good content. And I loved ‘Sacred Games’ and I am so proud of Vikram Aditya he has achieved something really unprecedented with ‘Sacred Games’, it’s like they have create a whole new a bonafide avenue for creative people to explore and ‘Sacred Games’ made OTT a real thing, people have really started taking the platform seriously because of the acceptance and the way the audience celebrated ‘Sacred Games’. So yes I think it’s great and I would love to be part of it but my focus is big screen experiences and I think it’s very important that one focus is on big screen experiences because in my opinion what has happened in the past few years is that, the screens are getting smaller and smaller. You have the big screen, then you have your television, then you have your laptop and then you have your phones. And more and more people are watching on these screens and not enough people are going to watch in the halls, the foot falls are suffering. And I believe it’s fair enough because it’s freaking expensive to go to the halls, 4 people go on the gold class its like seven thousand bucks, it’s ridiculous, also its like you have to make plans with the family and then many things that come our way to reach the hall and by the time you reach the hall you are brain fried and then if you don’t give a good film or if I feel like I have paid so much money and went through all this effort and I could have watched it at home than anybody will be pissed off. If I am taking all this effort and paying the money and come all the way to watch the film, then I’ll make sure that what experience I am getting from this big screen shared experience is worth it. So if you are inviting people to the big screen you have to give them a big screen experience. When they watch your trailer they have to immediate recognize that this is something that can be only viewed and enjoyed in the big screen. That is where my focus is – ‘Simmba’ is big ticket, big screen offering, as is ‘83’, as is Takht, so my choices is definitely part of the criteria. ‘Gully Boy’ being musical its beautiful cinema, the other day Karan Johar was explaining it to me that – theatrically now there are two types of films that will work in cinemas either you have big ticket, big screen offering, or you have films that you are genuinely high on content there’s no middle ground it’s going to but not yet disappeared. So fortunately for me I have a balance but going forward and my immediate focus is to offer big screen experiences to our beloved audiences.