Ranveer Singh remembers 2018 as one of his happiest years. “I am happier than I could imagine in my wildest dreams,” he starts off as we settle for a chat during the promotions of Simmba, his next with Rohit Shetty that released this Friday. We are interrupted by his man Friday, who comes to inform him, “Madam ne khaana bheja hai…” I tease him and he blushes. Over the next hour, Singh spills the beans on the iconic moments of the year, how he is perceived as the new-gen superstar, his marriage to Deepika Padukone and finally reaching a place of professional and personal serenity.
What is your role and responsibility as a mainstream hero?
My mentor, Aditya Chopra always told me that the endeavour of any star should be to blend commercial value with credibility. My commercial successes have been recognised to have a certain heft. It was my intention to blend the best of both worlds. This new generation ‘me’ along with Ranbir [Kapoor], Varun [Dhawan], Ayushmann [Khurrana], recognise that we are the new guards appointed by audience, trade and the film fraternity. The onus is on us to ensure that the business of films sustains and grows manifold. We have to break the glass ceiling in every sense of the term. Keeping the commercial aspect in mind, we have to help cinema evolve. Our work must transcend language barriers and be regarded as amongst the biggest cinematic nations in the world. I am confident of our commitment and intent; I think we are in a critical, yet the most exciting phase. The positive signs of what worked this year reiterates that we are headed down a good path.
Is Simmba an attempt to refashion masala movies as noble and not merely slapstick or frivolous?
I would have worked with Rohit Shetty regardless of the script and story. But it is a bonus that our maiden film is pivoted on a strong narrative. He trusted and gave me a freehand to build my character. People are harsh in their criticism of commercial films. But the process of mounting a film like that is painstaking. When people watch [commercial films], it feels light, but a serious amount of work goes into ensuring that you cater to the length and breadth of the entire country. Simmba is a potboiler — a thali of romance, action, comedy, and drama. But some of the intense scenes in Simmba will give you goosebumps. I am hopeful that this [Simmba] will change how masala films are seen as a genre in this country.
2018 has been an eventful year with Padmaavat and your wedding with Deepika Padukone How thrilled are you?
I couldn’t have asked for more. I am the happiest I have ever been. Everything that has happened this year is beyond my imagination. Accolades and acclaim for Padmaavat were unprecedented. I couldn’t have dreamed the bliss life handed out to me. My marriage — Deepika gave me a dream wedding and an even better marriage. She had a vision for everything and worked meticulously on every detail. She gave me a memorable wedding that will be in my heart forever. I feel safe, secure and loved. Something has changed inside me; I am living
You’ve also hit your career’s highest opening with Simmba…
It is a humbling moment for me. As an artiste, I have always tried to experiment and I’m happy that my content choices are being loved by audiences, who want to see me break the mould every time I come on screen. This record makes my journey in cinema sweeter. I’m overwhelmed with the love that has been poured on Simmba. Rohit has an incredible hit ratio. The success of the film belongs to him and his
the team who are there for him at all times.
You recently mentioned that Gully Boy was a creatively gratifying experience. Right after Simmba, the film will be premièred at Berlinale [Berlin International Film Festival].
I finished shooting for Gully Boy and Zoya [Akhtar, director] took the film to NYC to edit it. A few days ago, she asked me to redub a few lines. At the studio, I saw the first teaser and it blew my mind. I always wanted to follow Simmba with Gully Boy. I play a boisterous, open, front-footed entertainer in Simmba, but I am more restrained in the other film [more than my Lootera-act]. I had receded into a zone. My character is in every scene, but he is not driving it. It’s a reactive performance.
Your career graph showcases the versatile actor in you…
I have always strived for it [to be versatile]. In acting, there’s no good or bad. It is an unmeasurable and subjective art form. The best actors are those who have a range. I want to be a chameleon, who changes with every performance.