Ranveer Singh is practically a household name now.
From his first appearance as Bittu Sharma in Band Baja Baaraat to his most recent Alauddin Khilji in Padmaavat, Ranveer’s career spans a variety of roles and performances. His off-screen persona is as wild and versatile as choices in the films he’s done. Post the controversial yet epically shot and acted Padmaavat, we will see Singh embrace Rohit Shetty’s action-packing masala film Simmba opposite Sara Ali Khan and Zoya Akhtar’s musical drama Gully Boy.
When we start talking about Simmba, we begin with talking about who he is as a person and how this character, Sangeram Bhalerao, comes together in his life. “You’re a very thinking being,” I ask him. “How involved are you in the developing of a character in a film?” There are shades of machismo to his character, and he’s a man of today. How keen is he to keep the character a little bit politically correct?
“There’s a lot hues and cues on what the character is, in terms of gender,” he answers thoughtfully. “If you go deep into the textual analysis of the character, you’ll find those hues. I’ve had many conversations with the filmmaker, I’ve spent a lot of time with the writers. I’ve tried to keep the foundations down to what they want in the script itself but on that foundation, I do a lot of development, I’ll do a lot of work on my own. Physicality, energy, pitch, action – it all comes from a process. It’s not the same process – it’s a different process for every character. There’s a trial and error process for the developing of a character. But there is help from the filmmaker because they have a clear vision. I’ve been very fortunate that all the filmmakers that I’ve worked with have always been open and welcoming of what I’d like to add to the foundation that they’ve set.”
Ranveer refers to Sangram Bhalerao as ‘effortlessly macho’ without having to ‘make a point for his machismo’. “It’s a layered character, it’s very different,” he says. “You’ll have to see the film to know this. He’s very lovable, sensitive, very respectful of women.”
Referring to his machismo, Ranveer adds, “It’s just there, that’s just how he [Sangram Bhalerao] is.”
Ranveer adds many qualifiers before taking credit for what he’s bringing to the table in Simmba. “I’d like to believe that – without putting myself in too high of a position, I’d like to say that I’ve brought, or have endeavoured and attempted to – bring something new to this performance in this genre. It fits a cinematic language of the film but it’s not superficial. What I’ve done is given it a very honest emotionality and that is something that I think – I hope – people will recognise that.”
Ranveer, off-screen, is quite a character with his charming conversational skills and some thoroughly unique fashion styles. There is a lovability about him that allows him to get away with all of this. “They’ve given me a very lovable character, sort of like the lovable rogue that has long existed in classical literature. Fortunately, I’ve got some traits as a person that fit well,” Ranveer laughs.
How does the dynamic work for a character like that opposite a young girl who is truly fresh off the boat? Ranveer stars opposite Sara Ali Khan, whose recent film Kedarnath, has received favourable reviews for her performance. “Sara brings an amazing amount of freshness to the film,” Ranveer explains. “It’s very rejuvenating for any actor to work with a newcomer. They’ve got a keenness and a hunger that’s very revitalising.”
Does it remind himself of his own time as a newcomer? Ranveer ‘hmms’ before answering this one. “Yes. I think so. [As a newcomer] you’re always searching for validation and answer. All you want to do is be your very best. But it’s also a very vulnerable position. You’re trying to be liked. One tries as much as possible to guide and give some tips that might help.”
“She’s lovely, intelligent girl and very much a people’s person,” Ranveer explains more about Sara Ali Khan. “She’s extremely gregarious. A born star in the way that she carries herself and how she interacts with people. When she does more movies that are more intense and where it’s required of her to internalise a part in an even more serious level, she will grow and evolve even more as an actor. She has that … potential to grow very rapidly. She’s also a very emotional person, she wears her heart on her sleeve. I would genuinely like to see her become a huge star.”
Simmba releases world over on December 28th and is directed by Rohit Shetty and written by Farhad Samji, Yunus Sajawal and Sajid Samji. Ranveer’s next, Gully Boy, will be screened at Berlin International Film Festival.