Ranveer Singh may be down, but he’s definitely not out. The actor injured his shoulder pretty badly while shooting for Bajirao Mastani, and after undergoing surgery, has been asked to rest until he recovers fully. But clearly he’s making the most of a bad situation – he’s taking some time off to “vegitate,” something we’re sure he doesn’t get to do very often! However, just this week, the actor once again started working a bit by going out for narrations and speaking to the media. Lucky for us, because when we got a chance to catch up with him at his house – while he was wearing a basketball jersey and shorts (yes, this is relevant information!!!) – we obviously pounced at the opportunity.
Thus commenced one of the most fun interviews of our lives, where he chilled with us, showed us his home theatre, sang with Swagata in the elevator (yes he came to drop us all the way down; isn’t that sweet?!), proposed to me – Sindhi connection, y’know – and answered all of our questions without missing a beat. Well, except for one question. Which we’re still wondering about.
Team MissMalini (Team MM): How have you been spending your time?
Ranveer Singh (Ranveer): I have watched movie after movie after movie after movie. The best movies that I’ve seen in my downtime are Nymphomaniac, Wild Tales – Spanish film – recommended to me by Mr Kashyap himself, and I rewatched Dr Strange Love. I caught up on all the Hindi movies. I’m a true cinephile – I love movies, and I’m tremendously affected by movies as you can see. But I don’t watch movies when I’m shooting because my performance gets affected. If I see Scarface while shooting Bajirao… [trails off] You know, I’ll get better as I get more experienced, but if I’m impressed by something Al Pacino does, I won’t even realise when it’ll start coming into my own acting. So I make a conscious effort to not watch anything while I’m shooting, so that the performance is never referenced. It should come from the heart and be organic. The good part about this [gestures at his injury] is that I’m getting time to spend with family and friends, and catching up on all these movies that I’m hearing about that I haven’t seen. And rewatching some good ones as well. I think tonight is Ship of Theseus.
Team MM: Speaking of movies, we’ve watched the trailer of Dil Dhadakne Do like some 12-15 times.
Ranveer: It’s killer! Zoya, man. She’s incredible.
Team MM: We know you’ve gone on so many locations for this film, but would you pick any one of them as a favourite? Somewhere you really loved and would want to go back to?
Ranveer: Istanbul! Incredible place. Fascinating. Such an incredible blend of tradition and modernity. This whole east meets west thing – it blew my mind. I’m very fascinated by culture – I used to be a student of culture in university; I was actually studying culture by using films and various texts as a channel to study culture. So just the culture of Istanbul – the incredible nightlife, the people, the buzz, the pace… the old and the new, the east and the west; it was just a heady concoction. I was most impressed. My mom and sister had come to visit at the time, [as did] my best friend, whose wife was the second unit director of Dil Dhadakne Do. We were all together and we had a blast – we went clubbing, went to restaurants. I had a lot of time off, too, in Istanbul. I love that place. I’d go back there first.
Team MM: You have always spoken so highly of Anil Kapoor, and you and Arjun Kapoor have always said that you dance to his songs. So how was it playing his son? Did you ever feel oddly formal or like you had to be on your best behaviour ’cause it’s Anil Kapoor?
Ranveer: I’ve most misbehaved with him! And that’s because Anil is a bro. He doesn’t give you that senior vibe. I’ve worked with Govinda also, one of my other screen idols, and with him it was more like senior-junior, guru-chela. I’d sit with him on sets and listen to all his experiences. But with Anil it’s like talking to one of my boys. Like a bro. We’d go to the gym every day.
Team MM: And he’s family.
Ranveer: Yes, he’s my massi’s husband. My mom and Sunita aunty are first cousins, and he’s Sunita’s husband, so that’s how we’re remotely related. But I used to see him when I was growing up as a kid… you know, birthday parties and all. Once a year I’d invariably see him at a family function. But he’s an absolutely killer guy. He has a wicked sense of humour that keeps me entertained all day. His wisecracks are just damn funny. He and I bond tremendously over fitness and nutrition, and it’s really amazing to learn how particular he is about his shit – about his diet, his workouts, his dialogues, his looks. So meticulous! It’s inspiring to see someone who’s worked so many years and still has this burning, childlike enthusiasm for every little thing. It’s not jaded. He works on the film like it’s his first film. To see that level of energy and enthusiasm from him is inspiring. I hope I can be like him when I grow up [laughs].
Team MM: Was it sad having to play Priyanka‘s brother?
Ranveer: Not really… I’ve always seen her as sister types. Maine Priyanka ko hamesha bhai ki nazar se dekha hai [laughs]. But I feel at home with PC. Now we’re shooting our third movie together and it’s a different dynamic with every film. While it still feels familiar, it’s interesting that this is the same actor and there are these different dynamics. It’s a challenge for her and for me.
Team MM: You’re working with Anushka after a few years. You made your debut together, so how do those equations change after so much time?
Ranveer: Anushka has evolved as a person, as have I. We’re completely different people from what we were back then. We were very much novices – me especially – and I was overenthusiastic at the time. Now I’m enthusiastic, but good enthusiastic, not ‘calm the f**k down’ enthusiastic. So we’re different people, and I know there’s excitement to see us together since we did this great film, Band Baajaa Baarat, and now people are seeing us together again in a completely different mould as Farah and Kabir and not Bittoo and Shruti. It’s such a different dynamic. In at least a socio-economic sense, it’s diametrically opposite. It’s amazing to see how much she’s grown, and I made it a point to be extra-nice to her because I know how much I troubled her during my first two movies that I did with her. I was a real headache. If someone was as irritating to me as I was to her, I would have smacked them up the side of the head. But she had an incredible amount of patience with me and she kind of guided me through the whole process. There’s so much to assimilate and process when you’re thrust into this new world, and she was very helpful. But I can imagine how irritating it must have been for her to have to help me out at every step, because she was also trying to do her own shit. So I made it a point on Dil Dhadakne Do to be the best co-star I could possibly be for Anushka.
Team MM: How much are you missing your hair? And when will the cap be off?
Ranveer: I have hair now! This is legitimately, like, hair. But Mr Bhansali had asked me to wear a cap until it’s time to promote Bajirao. So you’ll see me in a hat for another 6-8 months… and you’ve seen me already for 6-8 months in a hat!
Team MM: Wow! So how many hats do you have now?!
Ranveer: In the last 6 months I’ve acquired at least 80 new ones. I must be having a collection of over 200 now.
Team MM: Woah.
Ranveer: Ya. I told Mr Bhansali that I’m really fed up of just wearing a hat all the time. So now that I legitimately have hair, I asked him if I can please go without a hat or a cap and he was like… nope. [laughs] So I’ll have to keep my hair covered until it’s time to promote Bajirao.
Team MM: If you could eat only one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Ranveer: It’d be mutton. Sindhi mutton.
Team MM: What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?
Ranveer: The one compliment that always resonates with me the most is ‘you are the most hardworking person I’ve seen.’ Because I believe that there are too many other factors that come into play when things happen, but what’s in my hands is how hard I can work. So when someone says, “I’ve seen you go out, day after day, everyday, and put your best foot forward” – that compliment really resonates. Otherwise I don’t really subscribe to compliments. I don’t buy into them; people say a lot of stuff and I have my own take on it. But I remember when Mr Amitabh Bachchan complimented me on my work and when Mr Govinda, Anil Kapoor and Naseeruddin Shah did – when these guys said nice things about me, I was ten feet above the ground.
Team MM: What’s the most illegal/naughtiest thing you’ve ever done?
Ranveer: I can’t tell you. I’m a mischief-maker. Naturally predisposed mischief maker. It’s my instinct – my instincts are mischief! So I can’t tell you. There will be an outrage. ‘Put this delinquent behind bars!’
Team MM: We’re always going to keep wondering about this [laughs]. Okay, if Team MissMalini comes to your house for dinner, what would you make for us?
Ranveer: Elaborate Sindhi meal. It would be Sindhi kadhi, with rice, boondhi, tuk. It puts you in a food coma. You definitely need a nap after that meal. You can only have these meals on Sunday afternoons – I don’t know what it is, maybe the besan they put in the kadhi, but all Sindhis are wired. The minute Sindhi kadhi goes in their system, they konk off.
Team MM: Have you ever gone through your partner’s phone?
Team MM: Really? Are you a possessive partner?
Ranveer: I’m extremely possessive. I may not extraneously act on it because I’ve learned that self control is healthy and I practice this self control. It’s very difficult, but I manage. And I used to do it a long time ago, and I used to do it all the time. Rampantly I used to do it! But not anymore. Now I’ve grown up.
Team MM: When was the last time you cried?
Ranveer: The last time I cried… [thinks] I cried when this happened [gestures at his injury]. I was really bummed out, you know. Like man, not again. We had gathered so much positive momentum in Bajirao, things were going well, we were shooting some incredible shit, Bhansali was happy, everything was on time… there are so many things to do, and I need my right shoulder for every single one of them! Especially the sword-fighting. It’s completely busted out of its shit, man. Right now also. I was very upset, I was quite down… and I cried, because I thought I’ll be fine, but in Jaipur when I went and did my MRI, they called me into a room and I was all jolly, and then… I was hearing shattering sounds.
There’s more, though – Ranveer has also spoken about his fans (that’s you!) and all the love you shower on him. That’s coming up in another blog, so stay tuned! :)