That Ranbir Kapoor is a charmer is known. Dubai audiences have seen him during his promo tours following Rockstar, Barfi, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and now Besharam where he shares screen space with his parents Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Kapoor. His film with Anurag Kashyap Bombay Velvet is being shot and he has turned producer with Picture Shuru Productions with director Anurag Basu. Will the blue-eyed boy of tinsel town turn to direction too? Or acting and producing are his fortes, Manju Ramanan discovers new sides to B-town latest superstar.
Why did you choose to have your own production house instead of carrying forth the RK Banner?
I wanted to establish my own identity as a producer and not be under the shadow of a banner that is known to make legendary cinema. I cannot tamper that reputation by taking it on and then doing films that might not do well. So, Anurag Basu and I decided to start Picture Shuru Productions and our first film together is called Jagga Jasoos. It is an entertaining detective film where I am acting and producing the film as well.
Are you expecting to recreate the Barfi magic?
Apart from Anurag Basu and me, the film has music by Pritam – so yes, the Barfi team is there. We hope to create the same magic. Why not?
How was the experience of sharing screen space with your parents in Besharam?
Frankly, I don’t like the fact that the world is getting to see my mother on screen. She’s mine. She is soft-spoken in real life and in the film, she plays a cunning, over-the-top cop Bulbul Pandey. Her character is the opposite of her real life persona and she is the surprise package of the film. My dad has always been critical about my work, a fact he reiterated in the press conference too – his father and grand-father were similar in their praise to him.
Did you have to modify yourself while working with them?
My mother loves my work (smiles) and dad is critical. Of course I had to refrain from a few things when they were on the set – things like smoking etc, out of respect to them. Four months before the shoot, I worried a lot but by the time I started working with them, I surrendered to the director and his vision. This is a comedy, so it was a lot of fun to be on sets. There was a lot of happiness around.
Are you in the movies at the right time? There’s so much experimentation happening right now.
I am getting the opportunity to work in fantastic new-age cinema and I am intelligent enough to recognise the opportunity. Anurag Basu, Anurag Kashyap, Imtiaz Ali and so many directors today are making the kind of cinema we always wanted to watch. And all these directors are using me as a vessel to tell their stories. What can be a better situation? Also audiences are getting discerning about cinema today. But I also believe that you are as good as the movie you do. An actor cannot stand taller than the film. The film is always bigger than the actor. I work with that simple notion and I am very grateful to everyone who has given me the opportunity to do what I love doing and the audiences who have supported the kind of cinema I have done. To put it simply, it feels like being in Disneyland.
You started out assisting Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Will we see you in the director’s cap someday?
Yes, eventually I would like to direct a film. Writing though is not my cup of tea. I am too lazy to write a script though I do have ideas about films that I would like to do. My grand-father, wrote, produced and directed a film when he was 21 and I am 30 years old and have just turned producer. So there have been people from my own family who have achieved more than I did. But I do feel that direction is a more satisfying job. As a director you can express so many life experiences. Acting is easier than being a director or producer.
As producer what kind of cinema do you want to create?
We have talented new directors making forays into our industry. Though the studio culture has taken over Hindi cinema, there are young producers out there who have the opportunity to make a difference. It is a great experience to make a film, stand by it, market it and put it out there for audiences to see. At one point of time, a producer would sell everything to make a film including mortgaging his property, selling his wife’s jewellery and being reduced to poverty for the passion of filmmaking. Today a producer invests in five different kinds of films and if one flops, the rest have a chance of making money. I have a certain vision about the kind of cinema I want to make and I am very excited about it.
But what about being producer to other directors?
I would like to open a new production house with every director. Films are a director’s medium and they need to be given equal profit in the film. It should be a shared partnership venture. I am very clear on one thing – I am not producing movies to make money. I am producing films so that I can tell my stories with my directors.
So, after being a producer, does the actor in you view producers more kindly?
I have always been kind to producers. I come from a family of producers and I know what it takes to be one. I have been taught to not take liberties with producers when they hire you as an actor. Actors can have things for free. But I have never taken advantage of that situation because I know the other side too well. I have always paid for the extra things I would need on my shoots – things that are not in the producer’s purview. Films are an expensive proposition and free tickets, free rides, freebies for an actor is taken for granted. I don’t do that. I foot my own bills.
Do you see yourself evolving through your films?
Yes, of course. You grow up with notions of right and wrong and you better yourself all the time. It’s like it is in relationships. You tend to evolve and grow. With each film, you evolve as a character and as a person.
What will a Ranbir Kapoor story be like?
I want to make a war romance. An epic war story that has great war scenes. I would love to take the war as a backdrop and weave an epic love story within it. I get these visions and imaginative spurts but I am too lazy to write. When I muster up courage and intelligence to do this kind of a film, I will do it. It will be cross between Braveheart and Lord of the Rings.