Ranbir Kapoor on life, love, crushes and the Kapoor clan in Bollywood
Ranbir Kapoor, keeping his fingers crossed for the release of long-in-the-making magnum opus 'Brahmastra', directed by his buddy Ayan Mukherjee, opens up in a conversation with Khalid Mohamed
Will he? Won’t he? His marriage to Alia Bhatt is imminent, no date or destination venue has been announced, which would lead to a harumscarum among the media instantaneously. So fair enough, it’s their lives and their call to take.
This year, we can expect to see Ranbir Kapoor, fingers crossed, in the long-in-the-making super-hero magnum opus Brahmastra, directed by his buddy Ayan Mukherjee for Dharma, co-featuring Amitabh Bachchan, Alia and Nagarjuna.
If all’s well with the world of special effects and supple story-telling, here’s that extravaganza which could do wonders for his career. It’s a pity that his father Rishi Kapoor didn’t live long enough to see perhaps the most defining act of his son’s life.
Shamshera—a period actioner pro-duced by Yash Raj Films and directed by Karan Malhotra, has been repor-tedly wrapped up, and is awaiting the pandemic to abate like the rest of the world is, for a theatrical release. In addition, there’s an untitled project with the popular helmer Luv Rajan, co-featuring Shraddha Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia and surprise, surprise, Boney Kapoor.
If you ask me, Ranbir’s dad had always been worried about his initial selection of projects. Today, Kapoor Sr wouldn’t have groused,“Doesn’t he understand that he has to become a ‘commercial’ actor first, and then he can do what he wants. See, he had banked so much on Wake Up Sid! And wasn’t too hot about Ajab Prem ki Ghazab Kahani, and guess which one clicked!”
At one juncture, Rishi Kapoor had even marveled, “Now I hear that Sanjay Leela Bhansali has offered him a role, and he’ll do it–whatever the part is– because he’s grateful for the break he got in Saawariya. Which is fine… lekin thoda sa toh professional hona chahiye na?"
Kapoor Sr’s fond objections apart, in my little book, Ranbir Kapoor is the one who could majorly re-invent his career. A few decidedly wrong choices and he had become the butt of squelchers though.
In fact, there was a period of lull when I’d met Ranbir, and he had smiled, “Uncle, you are the only one who likes my movies..."
Coming from Ranbir Kapoor, ‘Uncle’ is but natural, he’s courtesy personified and will ask, “So have you seen any good movies lately… Uncle?”
“I have been watching American TV series on Netflix mainly,” I answer. And then a round of Q & A:
Since Saawariya (2007), you must have done thousands of interviews. What have you been asked generally?
How it feels to be an actor, about the RK legacy, about the pressures and more than anything else about the women in my life. Yet broadly speaking, journalists have been kind. While talking to them, I hope not to sound like a stuck record or a voice machine.
You were once anointed a gay icon. Did that faze you?
Not at all. I accepted that as a compliment the way I would have if a girl had said something sweet to me. When I was studying cinema at New York's School of Visual Arts and later at Lee Strasberg Studio, some of the guys were gay. It was no big deal. Randy Salo who made a short film Barbarian Invasions, is gay, and one of the most brilliant minds I've met.
Which was the first film ever offered to you?
(Shyly) Funny, you should ask me this, Uncle. You offered me Fiza. I didn't know whether I wanted to become an actor or director then. I had loved Mr Bhansali’s Devdas. I assisted on Black… and I kept wondering why he doesn't offer me a role in one of his projects?
Is it true that you quit as assistant director because Mr Bhansali slapped you...?
Nothing like that ever happened. I don’t know who circulated such stories. He doesn't ever get angry without a reason. He can shout at you when you're goofing up.
To come to your parents -- Rishi and Neetu Kapoor – what’s was your equation like?
With dad, there was always a middle ground. We were as friendly as a father and son can be. I was scared of his I-won't-take-nonsense-from-anyone personality. Mum's always been my best friend, I could tell her about my dark side, about my girlfriends, anything.
There was a period when your parents nearly split. How did that affect you?
That affected me big time. My sister (Riddhima) was out of town. I would sit on the stairs alone and wish my parents wouldn't say things to each other which they didn't mean. And see, they came through that difficult period. I really believe their love was forever. I could feel the intensity, the depth of the love my dad had for mum. Mum has the gift for calming every storm. That period made me grow up, mature. I understood that there have to be bad moments with the good.
Apparently, during your teenage years you were in love with a girl and you were miserable when you broke up.
(Reluctantly) She was my childhood sweetheart. We were in school together for eight years. I couldn't think of life without her. For me, she was the most beautiful girl in the world. But a point came, when we had to go our separate ways. She's very happy today, well-settled and is married to a brilliant guy. I could never be as wonderful as him. On and off, we are in touch, we SMS each other on our birthdays.
Would you deny those stories linking you with (socialite and fashion designer) Nandita Mahtani before you joined movies?
Actors are meant to pretend and lie through their teeth. Call it a weakness but there’s one thing I can’t do. All I can say is that while growing up, I was infatuated with her. I found her beautiful, simple and warm, so unlike the socialite she is made out to be. We went out for dinner, it was nothing serious. Mum knew I had a crush on her.
Okay, I’ll spare you the Katrina Kaif question… here's a Deepika Padukone question instead.
(Blushes) I met her through common friends at a restaurant, a club actually. We liked each other's company but before we could even think about how we felt about each other, it was all over the newspapers. And so many unwanted, spicy things were written. So, we mutually decided to concentrate on our careers.
Any career ambitions?
Someday besides acting I do want to produce and direct films, revive the RK banner. There's no time frame for this. When I have something to tell, when I get an eureka idea, I'll go for it.
(This interview was first published in National Herald on Sunday)
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