Watch: Why Ranbir Kapoor doesn't have 'yes' people around him

Bollywood star tackles stardom, his Casanova image, the challenges of movie making and his long cherished desire to turn director in a freewheeling chat with us


Ambica Sachin

Published: Sun 5 Mar 2023, 9:29 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Mar 2023, 5:36 PM

Ranbir Kapoor is quite the slick talker. Words pour out of him in a steady stream, often without pause, as if what he wants to communicate needs to be done in an uninterrupted manner.

Chalk it up to his privileged upbringing as a Kapoor scion which probably explains his been there, done that approach to fame coupled with a natural affinity for theatrics — cue Wake Up Sid and Barfi! There is a no-nonsense vibe about him that even when he is charming audiences or the media as the case maybe, there is also a certain aloofness that one can never quite penetrate however affable he comes across as.

I remember encountering this during his Rajneeti days, when he solemnly chastised co-star Katrina Kaif for being distracted during our interview and took control of the proceedings. In the post Brahmastra phase there was that detachment at play once again. It almost felt like he had cut himself off from the demands of the role and was impatient to embrace the next big thing.

Lack of intensity is, however, not something this actor can ever be accused of. So even as he sinks his teeth into his umpteenth rom com with Luv Ranjan’s Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar, a genre that he has excelled in (Bachna Ae Haseeno, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani), there is also the undeniable assurance that in his hands it is not going to be yet another wayward lover boy act.


The Bollywood star admits in a candid chat with us ahead of the release of Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar on March 8, that he was in talks with Luv Ranjan (Pyaar Ka Punchnama, Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety) to feature in a gangster drama with Ajay Devgn but due to date issues the project didn’t work out.

“And in that period he narrated the subject to me and I was always looking for the right story, the right character, the right music — because music plays such a big part in romantic comedies. But in the last couple of years, I never found one. So I'm really happy that I'm a part of this film that I love.”

Excerpts from our conversation with the unflappable Kapoor.

Ranbir and Shraddha costar in Tu Jhooti Main Makkaar as a young couple who find a match in each other
Ranbir and Shraddha costar in Tu Jhooti Main Makkaar as a young couple who find a match in each other

How does it feel to go back to your heydays as a romantic hero with Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar?

Heydays?? Wow! I’m really growing old, eh?? The rom com genre is something which I truly enjoyed in my early years. But having the understanding of that genre is not easy. I've had some good ones and I've had some pretty bad ones also.

So after 15 years of working at the movies and trying my hand at different genres, I was really looking for a good rom com. It's a film that I enjoyed working in. It's a character that I have never played before, though it's a romantic comedy and it's a character that I also aspire to be in my life. It's somebody who I have taken home with me, and I'm really excited for the audiences to experience that because it is a new character.

You have done so many intense roles be it Shamshera, Raajneeti, or Rockstar. But somehow it's been very hard for you to break away from your Casanova image. Have you made peace with that, or do you still try to break the mould with every role that you take on?

I don't think I had a choice, and I would like to share the blame with the media also. When I did my second film, Bachna Ae Haseeno, I was tagged like what people saw on screen, (they felt) I’d probably be the same offscreen. So I think it's very important to separate the art from the artist.

And because I've played those roles, people try and put me together and say, he must be like this. But it's okay. It’s something which really didn't bother me for a long time. I kind of got over it. But that's really not scaring me from doing this genre again, or trying to play a Casanova on screen, though I don't play a Casanova in this film. I actually play an aashiq (lover) in this one.

Where do you see the place of rom coms like Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar at a time when OTT is giving us some really gritty and realistic movies and series. Do you believe there is still a place for these lighter movies for the audience?

I hope so. I'm an audience member myself. I'm a huge fan of the movies. I'm a huge fan of all the content that comes on OTT also. Today the audiences have become less forgiving. You need something extra to pull them to the theatre to experience your film. So it has become much harder. But I think we all, as an industry, are just trying to do that — to give new forms of entertainment, but at the same time do something which has not been done before.

People keep saying that I've done the rom com genre so much, but I found this film very new. I found it very entertaining and cinema friendly. But I can sit here and tell you that I've done this, I've done that, and this movie is great. But everyday it really is a challenge for filmmakers and actors to choose subjects which will appeal to large numbers of the audience.

Your co-star Shraddha (Kapoor) says you come so prepared on the set but make it look so effortless on screen. Is the prep for an intense movie like Shamshera, say, the same as for this one?

Every film comes with a different kind of prep, but I think the common prep that I’ve had in all my movies is that I really try and befriend the director before we start shooting. I spend a lot of time trying to understand him, understand the text, and for him to understand me as an actor. So that's the kind of prep I focus on. And I have this fear of really forgetting dialogues on set. I don't like the fact that hundreds of people on set are looking at me while I'm fumbling my lines or I’ve not come prepared. So I really focus on learning my lines so I don't come on set unprepared. And I think that's the only prep I do.

Otherwise, I like to be spontaneous. I like it when the director changes it up in between takes. Or your co-star is giving you an energy that surprises and throws you. And then you have to come with something new. So that kind of energy is very important. Otherwise you would be the same in every film. And of course, I've been the same in many films. But the challenge and the desire is to really be different.

You mentioned recently that you don’t think you deserved the Dadasaheb Phalke Best Actor Award for Brahmastra. How important is self analysis for you as an artist?

It's very important to me. I don't like to live in a fool's paradise. I don't have ‘yes’ people around me. I have a very realistic approach to my work. And especially when you work in the movies and you're an actor and a star of some sort, you can really lose your mind. You can lose the perception of reality and separate yourself from what an audience sees you like.

I guess coming from a film family also really helped me, because I've seen it around my family for so many years. Some of them have been really humble; some of them have been very arrogant. And so that kind of learning and understanding started very early on in my life. So I'm just trying to be an authentic artist. If you ask me a question, I'm not really trying to manipulate it. I just try and give a very real answer. Of course, I try and stay away from controversies because then that becomes the headline. But otherwise, just trying to be real, you know, just trying to be yourself.

Where do you go from here once this film releases? What kind of cinema excites you moving forward?

Professionally, I have Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar coming out on March 8. Then I have Animal which is out on August 11. I still have around 30 days of work left on that. And then I'm taking a very happy 5 to 6-month sabbatical to spend time with my daughter. And I'm very excited about that time.

I have a couple of films that I am considering, but I haven't really zeroed in on anything, so I'm taking it slow. I also want to see where I stand with the releases of these two films. There’s that old ambition of mine to direct a movie which keeps stepping up, but I don't do anything about it. So I'm going to try and take some time to write, to try and nurture that side of me and to really make a movie and direct a film.

Ranbir Kapoor along with wife Alia Bhatt
Ranbir Kapoor along with wife Alia Bhatt

What song does Ranbir sing to Raha?

During the promotion of Brahmastra, Alia Bhatt was often heard crooning Kesariya, the hit number featuring her alongside Ranbir Kapoor. Both the actors have a lot of chart topping numbers to their credit. But we are curious as to which song does Ranbir croon to his daughter, Raha.

“I think Alia and me will fight, you know, (as to whether to) make her sing your song or my song first. But out of my entire discography, if I had to choose a song for her to see, it would probably be, the cheesy song in Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani called Prem Ki Naiya Hai Ram Ke Bharose. I think it’s a very child friendly song or Galti Se from Jagga Jasoos. Then I will slowly bring her to Balam Pichkari and Badtameez Dil.

Then after a pause he continues. “Children for some reason love Radha from Student of the Year. Alia has such a large fan following among children because of that song, so I think that will be our first song.”

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