'It may sound stupid but it is true. The first time I met Ranbir Kapoor was when he was a 'Kiddy Kapoor', around seven or eight years old. Neetuji, along with the cute little Ranbir, used to come and drop off Riddhima at her tuitions, in Khar West, Mumbai. It so happened that I had accompanied my friend to the same tuitions. But little did I know that the shy boy hiding behind Neetuji would one day make his parents proud. Now he is not known as a Kid but as a Kapoor's kid and on November 9, we all will know him as Ranbir Kapoor, the actor.'
Devansh Patel talks with Ranbir Kapoor, the star kid who is about to shine high and bright in the years to come and one name who will carry the golden words of Hindi cinema forward - 'The show must go on'. What sentence will best describe you - New kid on the block or Kapoor's kid on the block?
Definitely, the statement, 'New kid on the block', at this moment is the best sentence to describe me.
Saawariya is a dream come to true for any debutant. Do you think your dreams have come true with Saawariya?
Absolutely, my dream was to work with Sanjay Leela Bhansali. With that aim, I assisted him in the film Black and today my dream has come true.
According to Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Saawariya is a simplistic young love story. Does that make Saawariya simply special?
Yes. It is a special film for me, for Sonam and for Sanjay. Since, it is our debut-film it is special for us as newcomers. Saawariya is like a baby for Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Saawariya is a fantastic film about an unknown time and a place never visited. But you can still identify with the characters, the time and the place.
The hype surrounding the film is huge and expectations from you are immense. What is going through your mind right now as we talk?
Right now I am a little blank. I am in a state of shock because there is so much happening so fast, and then I dreamt of all these things while growing up, about being an aspiring actor, my first film, my first fan, my first autograph, etc. But when all of this is happening right now in front of my eyes all of a sudden I am speechless. It is quite heart warming. You are right! The hype surrounding the film and its music, its actors and the director will always be there and I hope that when Saawariya releases, the hype sustains and people are not disappointed.
Describe your role in Saawariya.
The character I play is called Ranbir Raj. He is a very happy go lucky man who is also a dreamer. At the moment that's all I can reveal.
We all know Sanjay Leela Bhansali as a perfectionist. Were there any signs of imperfectness from him during the making of Saawariya?
No never, and not even for a second did I or anybody else see Sanjay Leela Bhansali being imperfect, because to him, work is everything. It comes before anyone else. Each frame for him is like a painting. He will never let the performers falter, the cinematography, the sets, the music; everything is done to the extent of detailed perfection. So there was no way Sanjay could be imperfect.
Any memorable moments you can think of during the making of Saawariya?
There are plenty but one in particular I can think of right now is during the first schedule of filming, I had a long monologue to do in one shot at a dramatic pace. While doing the readings I was very scared. I questioned myself whether I will be able to do it? If yes then will it be done in one shot or not? Things like that made me wonder what will happen next. On the day of the shoot, Mr. Bhansali came up to me, spoke a lot about the scene, and then told me to give a take. So we shot it and in the second take, it was approved. The entire team started clapping. Then I remember I went to my room to eat my lunch and Mr. Bhansali came in and told me: "Today I feel an actor has arrived and I will come and have lunch with you."
When you travel on the streets of Mumbai, how does it feel to see yourself wrapped in a white towel on a giant hoarding?
I do not know how to express what I was feeling at that moment. However, if I were to die tomorrow and God comes to me and asks me to list the ten best moments of my life; the day I first saw myself not in the mirror but on the hoarding would top my list for sure. I always dreamt of my first banner and I remember telling Mr. Bhansali about it. So, one day he just surprised me and took me out for a drive only to show me my first billboard of Saawariya.
Talking about your acting abilities, do you feel you have inherited your skills in acting or is it something you've learnt?
I don't think so. Acting is not inborn and it's not a written rule that a great actor's son will be a good actor also. You have to work hard towards it. Personally, I have learnt a lot from my director Sanjay Leela Bhansali. It has been a continuous learning experience from my days as an assistant with him on Black to an actor in Saawariya. Today I know acting because of Mr. Bhansali's training, guidance, and blessings.
Let's talk about your co-star in the film, Sonam Kapoor. Brief us a little bit about your on screen and off screen chemistry.
Sonam is an extremely warm person by heart. She is an honest and a hard working girl and has the same passion and dedication that her father has. She has brought all this along with her on the sets. She had no tantrums and no ego clashes, etc. On the contrary, she was very helpful and supportive and we both were constantly there for each other. It's also a sweet coincidence that we both are starting our film careers with Saawariya. Sonam has given a lot to me in this film and will work with her again in the near future.
You've seen a 90kg Sonam while working with her on Black. When you see her now how does it feel?
It feels weightless. Anyone who is overweight and has to loose so much of weight for her role requires a lot of hard work and commitment. It was a do or die situation as far as Sonam was concerned because she was trying to shed weight to become an actress. She had to look perfect and look at her now, she is looking gorgeous. It's not easy and not everyone's cup of tea. I've got so many friends who are trying to loose weight since years and it just doesn't happen. Sonam lost weight only because she was focused and had a strong mind.
We know that you love wearing and collecting caps. Is that the reason why you are wearing a cap in the title song holding a guitar?
No not at all, yes, I do have a fascination with caps ever since I was a kid. I am not saying that I have a rare collection or something but whenever I do travel I make sure that I buy a cap or two because I like wearing caps. In the film, it's only in that particular song that I sport a cap because the character's outfit had to look like one with a cap, accessories, etc. but I am not wearing a cap throughout the film.
How true is the fact that 'Ranbir Kapoor is going to set the dance floor on fire'?
Oh! I think it's absolutely false. I don't consider myself as a good dancer. I have a long way to go. Right now what you're seeing in the promos is Mr. Bhansali's specialization in songs, his shot taking abilities, understanding of the moment, the look and expressions while dancing, the choreography, the sets, the way Ravi Chandran captured the songs in his lens, so on and so forth. Credit goes to all of them. I cannot take the credit for being a good dancer because everyone mentioned above have contributed a lot to it.
So far from what we have seen, it looks as if Saawariya is going to be a film with blue and green color. It also looks a bit too dark. What do you have to say?
Well, that is the color pallet of the film. That's the backdrop of the film. Saawariya is a very entertaining film and it's not dark at all. When you see the film you'll have a smile on your face and a tear in your eye.
To promote Saawariya, we saw you, Sonam and Mr. Bhansali on the sets of Amul Star Voice of India singing along with the participants. Is this so necessary because Bhansali's previous films didn't have such kind of publicity and still did well?
It is necessary now. You are right. Sonam and I are new comers and the audiences need to warm up to us and meet us so they can connect to us while they see Saawariya. These are new ways of marketing any film and if it does no harm to the film and its team why not go for it? When you work so hard you also need to be a part of the promotion and that's exactly what we were doing there. We make a film for our audiences so why not meet and greet them and be a part of them?
Which is your favorite song from Saawariya?
My favorite track keeps on changing from time to time. Right now I am listening a lot to 'Pari'.
Saawariya is a fresh new perspective for Sanjay Leela Bhansali Films because there are many new comers in the film, from actors to music director to playback singers. Any comment?
It is true and not many can do what Sanjay has done in Saawariya. The entire team of Saawariya is young and fresh. In fact, Mr. Bhansali has come out with a new thought process in Saawariya, he was more than willing to adapt to it, and that is how Saawariya was born. Mr. Bhansali is not stuck in one time zone. He likes experimenting and is giving himself space to grow which is fantastic. Filmmaking is a risk but I don't accept that. You will see big banner films with even bigger stars faring badly at the Box Office and critically and small budget films with lesser-known stars getting good reviews. You are right; it is a fresh new perspective to filmmaking.
What did you learn from your senior co-stars in Saawariya - Salman Khan and Rani Mukherji?
I did not have an opportunity to share screen space with Salman sir but I am really close to him. He treats me like his younger brother, guides me, advices me, gives me lot of support and love. On the other hand, it was a pleasure to work with Rani Mukherji. What can I say about her, she is a great actor. I've learned so much from her. And the fact that you need to keep up with her when sharing screen space, is in itself a challenge, which has improved me as an actor.
Let's go in a flash back mode. Any of your dad's film you'd like to watch again and again?
I really like his performance in Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai
Any film you would hate to watch of Rishiji?
That has to be Jai Hind - The pride
Are you your papa's son or mama's son?
I am more close to mom so I'm mama's son. I love dad too.
Any memorable film you'd keep watching with Rishiji and Neetuji as onscreen couple?
I would say Rafoo Chakkar.
The grapevine hears that you've also signed films with Yash Raj and other big directors. How far is that true?
No not at all. It's false. I haven't signed anything yet. I am too busy and attached with Saawariya and anxiously waiting for the release of my debut film. Once the film releases, I'll take my decisions. As of now I am reading a few scripts but haven't committed to anyone yet.
Do you think that you will have to stick to your grandfathers golden words - 'The show must go on'?
Of course, that line is carved in all of us in the family. We are born with it.
We also hear that you and Sonam are not going to be present in London for the promotion of your film. Is it true?
I'm not sure at the moment. We might be coming to London but it's just that we are so tied up with our last leg of promotions with so many places to go. We would love to come to London because it's one of the hubs of Indian cinema with lots of movie goers who love Indian films. We will definitely make all our efforts to go there.
Why should one go and watch Saawariya?
I will not say that Saawariya is a different film. I would like to say that please go and watch Saawariya because it's my first film and above all, it's a Sanjay Leela Bhansali's film and I promise you that you will not be disappointed after seeing it.