Arrogant! Who, me? asks the Band Baaja star

Ranveer draws life lessons from the casting couch to his TV viewing days to co-star Anushka Sharma

If you thought 'Band Baaja Baraat' had gone to his head, think again. “I feel speaking your mind is not arrogance. I come from a background where the word ‘arrogant’ is unknown.
I have been taught to be humble and get ahead in life. In the end, your talent speaks for you. I know today my film has been declared successful but in the future, unless I work hard I will not be able to achieve success. Only if I do my job sincerely and with dedication, success has to come.” He smiles.. no.. not arrogantly…confidently.
With a degree in films from the University of Bloomington, Indiana, USA and a few theatrical stints under his belt, surely, the path to the Upcoming Talent award in the Screen Awards was clear cut? “To tell you the truth I have learnt acting from television” he confesses. “I am grateful to Aditya (Chopra) for having faith in me. It feels good to get up early in the morning and read about yourself.
But I know how to keep my head on my shoulders.
I am not the kind to get carried away by success and take things for granted. But Yes! I know that now is my time.
I need to tread on the right path.”
And no, it wasn’t as easy as you imagine. Before he got a break assisting director Shaad Ali on commercials, the regular struggle with cold calls and e-mail ambushes to get his portfolio noticed and run-ins with the casting couch all reared their ugly heads.
“A homosexual gentleman set up a meeting in a very dingy place and began an odd line of questioning,” he recalls.
Frightening? Suave Ranveer took it in his stride. “I said let me study this man. Who knows, if I am offered the role of a sleazy homosexual character, at least my homework will be done! He lost his cool with me after 20 minutes.”
The casting couch, he insists, does exist, “but it’s at the grass root level, because up the ladder there are too many big names and huge monies involved to take a risk like this.” These lessons help keep him grounded, he says.
Ranveer is rumoured to be debut co-star Anusha Sharma’s current flame, though the two are not so similar. “Yeah, she doesn't believe in rehearsals. I like to rehearse until I get the hang of the scene. So we took a while to get into sync," he smiles.
He still denies the relationship though, “No, I am a little closer to her than a friend. Meeting her at few occasions does not mean we are seeing each other.
Right now work, work and work is all I can see.”
And that work is piling up with no time to even celebrate the hit! “Adi (Aditya Chopra) did promise me a success party-I am still waiting for one. Besides that, I just took a three-day vacation from work, my first in almost four years.”
He’s making the most of the fair weather. “I used to be a 'lukha' in life before, but now I’ve gone from not having any work to having my hands full. I never expected that one successful film brings so much change. On one hand, I am happy but on the other, I am stressed about the pressure of giving my best in my forthcoming films.”
He’s witnessed first hand how 'Band Baaja Baraat' took a slow opening, but picked up after the first few shows, by word-of-mouth publicity. “Unfortunately 'Tees Maar Khan' didn't do well, so all the screens that we lost in the second week to accommodate it, came back to us," he says. “A high film can take you to the sky but a flop can again bring you back to ‘nowhere’. As an actor everyone tries their best, but the rest depends on the audiences. I will do my job sincerely, but the rest depends on luck and the junta.”
Apart from his workload, success has changed his schedule and his social life. “My social life has taken a back seat. I am obsessed with my career.
Though I am learning from my co-star Anushka, how to balance the two.”
Once cellphone-free, he’s now addicted to the instrument, “The first time I met Anushka, she was busy on her BB (BlackBerry). But now, even I realise how important it is to communicate.” His team handles his money, leaving Ranveer free to look out for a good script.
“No more ‘Bittu Sharma' characters – I’ve done that - I want to experiment.
If I go like ‘Wow’ after reading it, I will sign it.” That, and which co-star he wants to work with.
“Boman Irani, one of the best actors, is a very versatile actor.
There is so much to learn from him. He always has some advice to share which I can incorporate” He has learned a lot from Anushka and the team of 'Band Bajaa Baraat', he says “We were literally performing in the open roads amid the 'aam junta'. Maneesh would take such unconventional risks. We were doing anything that would suit the sequence and believe me the scene turned out to be mind-blowing. Performing the unconventional looking guy was only easy because I was made comfortable by the team and Anushka. One thing exceptional about Anushka is that she is natural and amazingly gifted.”
He is looking forward to working with her again in Ricky Bahl vs The Ladies.
“Ricky Bahl is a totally con man, devoid of any emotions. I am looking forward to creating a totally different experience with this new character and new project.
She is a brilliant actor and lots of fun to work with.” Also on his list of must-act-with co-stars? “Rani Mukherjee, because she is a great actress and I can learn a lot from her. Also I would love to work with Kareena Kapoor, I have a huge crush on her.”
Ranveer now looks forward to a life full of new experiences. “The Dalai Lama once said that when one achieves something good, one shouldn’t be too happy or when something bad occurs one should be too sad.
I don’t let success get to me. I want to stay connected to the real people – real life. I find it fun to sign autographs and pose for pictures. In the end it’s all about being connected to your world. I am not proud of the fact that I have done it within just three years.
I feel humbled to have got the opportunity with Yash Raj Productions and this first chance became very fruitful to me. I would definitely give the credit to Director Maneesh who allowed me to perform at liberty, for giving me a chance and trusting me. Anushka too agreed to work with me and with their support I have made it.”
Arrogant and Ranveer? If anything, success has made him more in love with Bollywood. “We are all friends in this small knit family. Whenever we work in a film we need to be friends with all. Having a friendly atmosphere gives vent to excellent performances,” he quips.
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