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If you really want to make a difference, then you have to take that risk,” says Ranbir Kapoor


This year is very special for Ranbir, as he has two films lined up for release, plus he got married to Alia Bhatt, whom he had been dating for a long time. Now they are going to enjoy parenthood, as they are expecting their first child. According to Ranbir, this is his life’s best phase. In an interview with Filmfare, Ranbir Kapoor talks about Shamshera, his craft, and impending fatherhood.  

You have been a very subtle actor. What are the challenges in front of you when you do a larger-than-life film like Shamshera?

You are right. I’m a subtle actor. I’m a new-age actor. But it is important for an actor to understand the tone of the film. Har film ki alag tone hoti hai, like the tone I had in Sanju (2018) is vastly different from a Barfi! (2012) or a Wake Up Sid (2009), and I can’t use it in any other movie. Similarly, Karan Malhotra’s films have a different tone, and it comes with a lot of conviction. I wasn’t prepared for this when I signed this. It was genuinely very physically and emotionally draining for me. But our intention was to make a grand film. I’m nervous as I don’t know whether the audience will like me in this kind of film. But it was very exciting for me as an actor. 

Shamshera Shamshera Shamshera

This is your first period action film and you are playing a double role for the very first time. 

I was only offered the role of Balli because they were considering casting somebody else as Shamshera, but I offered myself to play Shamshera to the director and producer. I was like ki baap-bete ka rishta hai, so it’s okay if the same actor plays. The selfish actor in me came out because it was such a good part, and such a good opportunity for me as an actor. We worked really hard to make it very different, not just in terms of looks, but also in terms of individual personality. And that was very challenging, but it was very exciting for me as an actor also. 

Shamshera Shamshera Shamshera

What was your reaction when Karan Malhotra offered you this role? 

I have been offered films of this nature, but ye genre sabse mushkil genre hai. We take it for granted when we say there are Hindi commercial films. So you can make anything. Leave your brains behind and come. You can’t be part of those films anymore. Today, the audience is not forgiving. They want something entertaining, they want something that is new, they want something amazing. When this film was offered to me, I was very grateful that he had considered me for this part. It is a multi-genre film. You are getting to do action, romance, comedy, and drama. I’m playing the hero. I am playing father and son. So, the opportunity is great. I have more or less played characters who are coming-of-age, or who are always the underdog, or whose struggles and conflict have always been inner.

Shamshera Shamshera Shamshera

You have played different characters in every film. How do you reinvent yourself with each character?  
It depends on a lot of things. Firstly, a choice, your experience as an actor, the director, the script, and it’s hard work. That’s why I guess my films take a lot of time. At least for me, it takes some time to really understand the director’s mind, understand the script, text, try to understand what’s happening and so some prep work. So when you finally do something on screen, it looks real and believable, even if you are playing a Hindi film hero. Today, the Hindi film hero has changed. My father used to tell me that we used to do 6-8 releases a year. Un men se char toh lost n discovered par tha Jo end mei milnjateb the.But that time, the audience was more forgiving. Today, the gate opened. You have cinema from all over the world. So, you really have to be wise while you choose, and know your country, its people, and its culture.  You can’t make a film for yourself. You have to make it for an audience. 

Shamshera Shamshera Shamshera

But, you have done critically acclaimed films…I’ve gotten appreciation for some films, but I realised that in those films, the directors were making films for themselves. It was a personal film. Film-making is such an expensive profession that you can’t afford to do it for yourself. You have to make it for an audience; you have to entertain them. That is the great learning I’ve had for the past few years.

Shamshera Shamshera Shamshera

Your late father, Rishi Kapoor, reportedly never approved of your choices. What did he think of Shamshera?
My father was very happy that I signed on for Karan’s film. He used to always complain about my choices of films. He used to tell me that beta, kabhi daku wali film mat karna. I told him that I was doing a Karan Malhotra film. He asked me, “What is the film about?” I stated that it is approximately 18 hundred daakus. He told me that this director (Karan Malhotra) was not easy to work with. He will give you stress.

Shamshera Shamshera Shamshera

Tell us about your film with Luv Ranjan and Animal…

The Luv Ranjan film is a feel-good romantic comedy family film. It is hilarious. Sandeep Vanga’s Animal is the most shocking character I’ve had to play in my career. Nobody would expect me to play a part like that, which has shades of extreme grey. They are all risky films. But, if you really want to hit it big in life and make a difference, then you have to take that risk.

Shamshera Shamshera Shamshera

Do you think this is the best phase of your life?

Yes, in personal life, whether it’s marriage or parenting, jo kicch bhi aapke saath hota hai, I don’t think there is any greater joy than that. My film is coming after four years, so bahut anticipation hai meri khud ki. The last two years were very difficult for all of us. I have lost my father. Life is that only. You have good times and you have bad times. You have to take life as it comes to you.

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