Referred as the next SRK-Kajol of Bollywood, Ranbir and Deepika talk about their upcoming film, their relationship and much more.
Ranbir, you are one of the finest actors in the current generation; there is no doubt about it. All your performances have been appreciated, but when the film doesn’t work at the box office, as an actor, what do you think you could do separately to make it work at the box office? Also do you think destiny has been a bit unkind to you? And are you banking heavily on Tamasha?
Ranbir Kapoor: As an actor, I can’t do much. The only thing I can do better is my choice of films. The kind of stories that the directors want to tell, I like them and I become a part of, but maybe I should choose wisely.
Coming to your second question, No, I don’t think it has anything to do with destiny. I believe in a man makes his own destiny. It’s about your choices, your hard work, your karma. All of that put together.
And yes, I am banking heavily on Tamasha, like I also banked on Bombay Velvet, post Besharamand Roy. Every film for an actor is a testing ground. I think in this industry you are only known for your last work, you are not known for what you have done before in life. And if Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan have to constantly prove themselves, who am I? I’ve just started my career. So the constant search and the constant want and desire to do better, is alive and I do understand the pressures that I have. I understand the kind of expectations that were there and are probably not there today and I have to start from scratch and go again.
Is the pressure at the peak now, that you have to deliver a hit?
RK: My first film was such a disaster. There was so much pressure then also. It was such a big launch, but it didn’t work. People were skeptical of Sonam and me. Pressure is good as it drives you and not cracking under pressure is important. Taking pressure in your stride, understanding failures and where you went wrong and then moving ahead is what we should do.
Is chemistry with your actress an important part when you sign a film?
RK: I think chemistry is not something that me and Deepika look at, it’s the kind of parts that we like individually as actors. Like in Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani, Deepika liked Naina’s character and I liked Bunny’s character and we liked the story. When that happens, we can bring our best to the table and the characters and the dynamics between us make the chemistry appear on the screen. Having said that there are films like Gone With The Wind, which is supposed to be the one of the greatest romantic films ever made and there the lead actors never spoke to each other throughout the entire film. They were at logger heads, they were fighting. So it’s not what your personal life is, what your friendship is, or if its someone in a relationship. It doesn’t matters. What matters is what you bring to the table as an actor.
Deepika Padukone: Correct. Absolutely, I think the biggest downfall would be if you come on board thinking that let’s create some chemistry. It’s like saying c’mon let’s make a hit film. It’s stupid you know. In fact chemistry is something for people to see and people to sense and people to judge. The only thing that we can do as actors is to come on board individually because we feel the same kind of passion for a script. And for the director to cast us because he feels we are right for the part and as actors we will do justice to the part. In the process of making that film and being honest in the parts that we are playing, him as Bunny and me as Naina or me as Tara and him as Ved. In this process of being honest, the chemistry should generally happen on its own. You can’t create that. And the day you say c’mon now let’s create some chemistry; that will be your biggest downfall. And I think what adds to the chemistry is what the film gives us as actors to play with or how the characters are written. It’s actually very technically, how the character is and how is it layered. So if you see, 50 per cent is what is on paper and what the director and writer have written. And 50 per cent is what the actors bring and how they make those characters memorable and special.
Deepika your on the top of the ladder now and we hear many actors saying that it’s very lonely at the top. So what’s your take on it?
DP: See, I don’t like to believe that I am at the top of the ladder because if I am at the top then there’s nowhere to go from there. So, I would like to believe that I am still on the way and that there’s lot more to do and lot more to achieve. As far as loneliness is concerned, then it is Yes and No. For example, when people come into my life today, there is a feeling in me that are they friends because they genuinely care or are they wanting to be friends because of who I am of what I have achieved. So that sense is always there, but the flip side and the positive side to that is that I have had a very solid upbringing and I have had a very solid group of friends who have been a part of my life since nursery.
So are you very cautious while making friends these days?
DP: No, I wouldn’t say cautious. I in fact trust anyone very easily. Someone would say something to me and I trust people very easily, whether its people I know or other people who I have met for the first time. There are lots of time when people around me have to help me understand things. Like will finish a conversation and I am like ‘Oh my God, that’s so sweet and all’ and then they will be like ‘relax, they didn’t mean it like that.’ They actually make me realise that someone’s scheming or plotting or whatever. But I am someone who takes everyone at face value. And I believe that I need to develop and build my own equation with people. I do not base it on what other people’s equation with others people. So for me until and unless I personally haven’t had a bad experience with someone, I am usually very forthcoming and I allow people the opportunity to be who they are. And I am also very very trusting unless I have had a bad experience or something. My parents also keep worrying all the time that I trust people very easily.
Does the fear of failure grow with every success? The more you, win the more you stand to lose?
DP: I have experienced it all. Whether it’s in my sporting career or whether it’s in my film career, I have experienced the highs and the lows. And I am where I am today because of my own hard work and maybe that’s why I am so possessive and protective about it because this is the only thing that I can proudly say, my own. So no, I don’t know. I don’t think of success or failure when I am working. I think of passion, hard work and honesty when I am working and everything else follows. And of course I have seen the lows in my career and I have seen the high in my career and I don’t take either of them for granted. People are like you are riding a high now so how does it feel? To me it feels no different for me as I am just working. I am not someone who pays too much attention to the praise or what is being written or what people say about where I am in my career. It’s just a part of life. I wake up every morning and go to work like any other day.
Any kind of fear you have as an actor or individual?
DP: No. I think the only day I will worry is when I stop getting exciting roles. I think that’s my only fear because I feel as an actor, I have so much to give and I feel like I have learned so much. And there is a lot of fire and hunger in me to juice every part I get. So I think that’s the only fear I have that maybe someday some exciting part may not come to me, that’s the only fear, no other fears.
Talking about the roles actors take up and off late the extent to which actors are getting into the skin of their characters. Does that in any way affect the personality of the actor?
DP: I am sure it does. A lot of people give a lot of themselves – physically, mentally and emotionally to become the character. Like if he (Ranbir) is getting into Sanjay Dutt’s character for his biopic, it’s not going to be easy for him and somewhere no matter how much you try he will be affected, even though he has a very solid balance in his personal and professional life. So somewhere its carrying that character home every day. Like its happened to me also. It’s happened during Cocktail and during Bajirao Mastani too. You give so much of yourself to your character that you play and so sometimes there is a residue of the character in you for some time and you can’t get over it. But, the little residue remains for sometime because you can’t say like OK shooting has finished so let’s get out of that zone. Maybe there are actors who can do that but I am not that kind of actor. When I finished Cocktail, it took me a lot of time to come out of Veronica’s mind space, her zone and behaviour. I had to recollect who I am. Similarly with Bajirao Mastani too. So some of the films demand that.
Since you were shooting for Tamasha and Bajirao Mastani at the same time so did you face the same thing? Was it difficult for you?
DP: See for Tamasha it was still slightly easier t get into the character in a sense that at least from a character point of view it’s a slightly more real and relatable character. Tara could be anyone of us today. For me Naina Talvar was just me, I just had to be myself and Tara is also someone similar again. But it’s not Mastani or Veronica, where its completely different from who I am. But there are shades of familiarity. What was difficult in Tamasha was especially the second half bits where there is a lot of breakdown and emotional drama in between both the character. That’s tough on you as an actor because you are manipulating your feelings and emotions on a daily basis. We could have woken up in the morning had a great breakfast and were ready to shoot and then you will be like ‘Oh now I have to get into another scene’.
You are actually manipulating your feelings to suit that scene. I remember the most difficult days for me were all those days in Delhi where the breakdown starts happening and most importantly I think it was that Cafe scene. It went on for three days so you know you have to hold on to that.
Ranbir in the film you act like Dev Anand too. How nervous you were about doing it?
RK: I was very nervous because as an actor to do mimicry is very hard. I am not a mimic artist, so I had to do a lot of work for that. I worked with a mimic artist for a few weeks time, but it was a very small portion in the film.
Ranbir and Deepika, you both were very open about your relationship, but after your split you have made your personal lives very private. Was it a decision based on the experience of your past relationship?
RK: Yes, it became like a bit of a circus.
RK: Everything that you did became all about the relationship and related to that. We were really ambitious people and we wanted to make our own identities apart from the relationships we have in our personal lives and I think that was important. With time and age you understand that when you come closer to marriage, when you come closer to seriousness, because it is such a spoken thing and so much is written about it, it is better that way that both the partners protect each other.
DP: Absolutely yes, if there is a certain aspect of our life that you are not comfortable in sharing. Yes, it’s because of our past experiences. What happens is from a journalists point of view, its reporting but from a human being point of view it causes a lot of stress on a relationship and relationships and emotions are very fragile. So yes, it does cause an unnecessary stress every morning especially if negative things or untrue things are reported. There is conflict, unnecessary unrest and more than that at some point what you realize is that you really want to be remembered for your work and for the films you do. And what we experienced in that effort of being honest is there was no end to the speculations.
When are we getting married, when are we having children, is his family okay, is my family okay and I don’t think even we had ever discussed those things but the speculation were already there. So it kind of adds a little bit of pressure on relationships. And I think we have learned that and now it’s important to protect something and keep it to ourselves.
Ranbir had told that he saw you on the sets of Om Shanti Om. When did you see him?
RK: Yeah, she didn’t see me when I saw her
DP: Yes, this we discovered much later that he saw me but I didn’t see him. Actually we were on set that day, I was shooting for Om Shanti Om. I know which scene also we were shooting.
DP: No, it’s the scene in Om Shanti Om when Arjun Rampal and me are fighting in the room and Shah Rukh Khan hears everything from the vents, just before Jag soona soona lage. So it was one of those days in Filmistan when we were shooting for the film and I walked out from a take and was walking towards my vanity. At the same time, he had taken a break from his shoot and he saw me going towards my van, but he didn’t take very long. That evening he got my number and connected with me.
There were reports that the love making and kissing scenes were toned down by the Censor Board. Do you think this will take the flavour away from the scene in the film?
RK: I don’t think it is about the kissing. That is again a wrong report as the chunks that were edited was only for certain language that was used. Imtiaz’s movies are not to titillate the audience. He doesn’t put things which audience re out of character. So that was not the issue. The issue was something else. But coming to censorship, I think they are being a bit radical and strict with things. So creatively, yes we do understand the responsibility they have with the messages and social values that a film should have because cinema is an art, but having said that there is some creativity that is hampered due to it as freedom is curbed by many things. Couple of people sit together and decide what should be cut and what shouldn’t be. It’s an ongoing debate and I don’t know who is right and who is wrong. But as far as Tamasha is concerned, then there were just a few abusive lines like Saala and words like that which they wanted to censor.
How was it working with Pankaj Kapur in an advertisement?
RK: I have been a big fan of Pankaj Kapur because of the Karamchand series, so for me working with him I can relate to him as that person whom I as a child used to watch and was really enamoured by. He’s a fantastic actor but unfortunately it was just an ad film, so it was just a day’s work but I really look forward to doing an a entire film with him like how she did Finding Fanny with him.
Deepika, you did an advertisement with your parents. How was it?
DP: It was lovely. Actually they are both very camera shy and they did it only because of, first the love for the brand and very few brands, I think manage to bring out the beauty of a family and Tanishq has always done it. They always bring out a beautiful advertisement with a message. Like even for Mother’s day, I did an ad with my mother for them. So actually that was my mother’s first experience and when we had to shoot for the Diwali one, it was the same team the same director. So a night before the shoot, I saw my mother is giving my dad advice saying, “See he doesn’t like overacting and all.” She was busy at the dining table giving my father advice about how he should perform the next day. Be very real and natural and don’t do overacting. I found that very adorable and it was sweet because even on the first day of shoot my parents were there and as a daughter of course you hope they are okay and not inconvenienced. It’s different if your parents are from the industry, then you know that they understand lights, camera, this and that. But they come from a completely different background so.
Deepika, when you were finding your foot hold in Bollywood, you had to stay away from your parents. Has that relationship grown over these years when you had to stay far away from your parents?
DP: Yes, it’s made us closer than before. Actually we have always been a very close knit family and we are not one of those families that talks everyday on the phone. We are not phone people in that sense. But at least once in two-three days they will call and find out what my schedule is, where I am, what I am doing and they will give me the full report of what’s happening in Bangalore – it’s raining, we did this, we went for a walk, we did that.