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10 Reasons Why RANVEER SINGH Is The BEST BET Of 2013
FSJ January, 2013

10  Reasons Why RANVEER SINGH Is The BEST  BET Of 2013

If you don’t remember him, don’t blame yourself.After a brilliant start in December 2010 (Band Baaja Baaraat), because of a self-made promise to do only one film at a time, a whole year elapsed before a weak reminder (Ladies Vs Ricky Behl) came along.

And 2012 was a fallow spell as there was no sign of 27-year-old Ranveer Singh who broke his back while filming his third, Lootera.But we’ll stick our necks out and put out this tip – Ranveer Singh is the actor to place all your bets on and 2013 will be his year.

Here are 10 reasons to back the bet

Moolah Doesn’t Fuel Him

The rich kid just treated himself to a Jaguar XJL (base price: over `1.25 crore), “To travel comfortably so I can be the best when I reach my workplace,” he says cheekily.

Ranveer lives with his parents in a plush apartment opposite Khar Gymkhana in Mumbai, not they with him. It’s another way of simply saying that they are not living off him. In fact there was even a rumour (not true) that Jugjeet Singh Bhavnani, his businessman dad, had financed Ranveer’s first film Band Baaja Baaraat. What it means is that Ranveer is in a space where he can comfortably plot his moves, pick his work and focus solely on his career with no desperation to keep the kitchen fires burning. It is a huge advantage if you check out the messy movies that new actors have sometimes had to sign out of desperation.

Acknowledge Knowledge

Well-heeled is not necessarily well-bred or well-educated (check out boorish politicians and certain businessmen). Well-travelled and well-spoken, Ranveer arrived in the studios backed by global exposure – he studied in Indiana University in Bloomington and had a Plan B in place (advertising was an option) in case his acting career didn’t take off before his self-imposed deadline was up. And he simultaneously put relentless hours into honing his craft – even fetching up in Paris overnight to do a street play for Shaad Ali.

His Heart Ticks For His Movies

First it was October 2012, then March 2013, and now nobody really has an official release date for the much-awaited Lootera (costar Sonakshi Sinha has had five releases in the meantime).
“I really don’t know what date it’s coming on, but I have a lot of faith in Balaji (one of the producers),” Ranveer remarks, a mixture of can’t-wait anxiety and comfort that his film is in the right hands. “I know they will ultimately release it on the best date they can find and do all they can to promote it well.

I’m in constant touch with Vikramaditya (director and one of the producers) and he’s been giving me positive feedback all the time. But I want to see the ready product, I’m waiting.

There are few things I’m looking forward to more in life than to see the final cut of Lootera!”
The inordinately long gap between his last release in December 2011 and his next, would have frustrated most into signing up anything that could make it quickly to the theatres. But Ranveer explains, “The first time we went to Dalhousie to shoot Lootera, there was way too much snow, none of the equipment could reach and we had to come back.

The next time that we went there, the set we had constructed had so much snow on the roof that it collapsed. The third time my back gave way in the harsh conditions. So there was a delay, that’s why we missed the October date (in 2012) but it has finally got made and what really matters is that the film should be of quality.

“I’m aware that at this nascent stage of my career a gap of over one-and-a-half years between two of my films is really not the best thing but I know that ultimately the next instalment, the next film that comes out should be a good one and I’m very confident, very happy with the way Lootera has gone.”

He Is Not Desperately Impatient

He is currently shooting for Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Ram Leela and for Yashraj Films’ Gunday – there goes his promise of doing only one film at a time but we’ll come to that later. For now, Bhansali moves at his own pace – and Ranveer is in no hurry to reach the finish line.

“We’re currently shooting Ram Leela,” he confirms, “there is a lot left to do. Mr Bhansali likes to take his own time, it’s a unique style of filmmaking which I really appreciate because every technician, every artiste gets all the time, all the space, all the support he wants to really do his best work. It’s quite rare to find a director who doesn’t let the creatives be dictated by or bogged down by the budgeting or the scheduling. He stays so true to the film that he is in that sense one of a kind. I feel blessed to be working with him at such a young age.”

He Plays With Accents

Ranveer was so authentic with the Delhi accent in his debut film that a considerable percentage of viewers still believe that he is – like AB and SRK – a Delhi boy. Soon there’ll be many who think he is from Modi land for Ranveer has gone as Gujju as a dhokla in Ram Leela. And there is sincere, hard homework put into it.

He sharply draws a contrast between the two accents he picked up for his films.
“There’s a difference between what was on paper for Ram Leela and Band Baaja.... Even if I hadn’t gone to Delhi I would have still been able to pull it off, I would have picked up that accent and the lingo at some level because Habib Sir had done all the work. Like business was spelt ‘binness’ on paper.

But Ram Leela was written like a mainstream, pan-India Hindi film. It was up to me to infuse the Gujarati accent into it. The idea was mine and when I asked Mr Bhansali, he got very excited about it. I went to Gujarat, picked up the accent and started speaking like that in the readings. We were at the crossroads at that point of time, should we do it or not? We knew that if we went for it, then every other actor in the film would also have to use that accent.

And if we did it, it had better be damn good. At the same time, people all over the country should be able to understand what you’re saying, so it had to maintain that balance.

“Mr Bhansali said, ‘If picking up accents and dialects so wonderfully is in your arsenal as an actor as one of your deadliest weapons, then you should go ahead and use it.’ I hope people appreciate it as much as they did the first time. ”

“Given that Sonakshi has been doing mainstream, there was always the apprehension that she might have a higher pitch than needed for Lootera!”

He’s Got A Way With Words – Ask His Heroines

In the process of infusing an accent into Ram Leela, he made his heroine, Deepika’s work tougher. He laughs wickedly but observes perceptively, “Mr Bhansali wanted a strong Gujarati flavour because it adds authenticity as an additional dimension to the film. Deepika was worried initially but she is such a diligent worker that she took it up as a challenge and worked towards it. She is really a wonderful actor.”

His replies are quick and well-put with an interesting mix of correctness and candour – a flavour one hopes he doesn’t lose on the way to the top. Smartly wording his observation on his Lootera costar Sonakshi, Ranveer states, “She is doing this type of film for the first time around and it’s very heartening to know that she has this tremendous range as an actor.

Given that she has been doing mainstream,there was always the apprehension that she might have a higher pitch than needed for Lootera but her range is alarming, she can do anything.”

“Yes, it was Kareena in my head for a long time but now if you say ‘Leela’, it is Deepika’s image that pops into my head!”

He Is Practical

Last year he was effusive about his chemistry with Kareena Kapoor, Bhansali’s first choice for Ram Leela. Was it difficult to go from Bebo to Deepika?

“Yes, it was Kareena in my head for a long time, I won’t deny that,” he accepts promptly. “There was definitely a period of transition but when I started reading with Deepika it changed completely. Now if you say ‘Leela’, it is Deepika’s image that pops into my head.”
Not very loyal, huh?

“I have to do that, no? I have to be in love with the right Leela!” he shoots back with a laugh.
His ability to switch lanes pragmatically is also seen in the manner he has changed his work pattern. From vowing to focus wholly only on one film at a time, he is shooting Ram Leela and Gunday while Lootera is still to be promoted and he’s looking at a couple of others scripts as well.

“I will admit that it’s something I never wanted to do,” he answers with customary directness. “But right now I can’t help it. Lootera has been delayed, Ram Leela is going to have breaks as long as one-and-a-half to two months. At this stage I really don’t want to be sitting at home not knowing what to do with myself. It’s more important for me to be shooting at any given time than to be doing just one film at a time. But I’m not going from one set to another the same day. I’m shooting Gunday for a couple of months, then going back to Ram Leela. I’m doing it in chunks, so it’s not that bad actually.”

“I did six hours of rehab a day. My target was that I will not only recover but I will become fitter than ever before, so that it never happens again!”

He Is At His Fittest Best

After injury of April 11, 2012, what was it like going back to shoot? And how’s the back now?
“I was in bed for a month, then rehab for about 16 weeks with a lot of pilates, swimming, yoga, stretching. When I was lying in bed I thought to myself, this is my life and I have to take this very seriously. So I did six hours of rehab a day. My target was that I will not only recover but I will become fitter than ever before, so that it never happens again. I achieved that.

“Coming back to shoot (for Lootera) after that, there was a full-on action sequence on the very first day and I was very, very nervous. I was almost in tears because I was so under confident. It was a week-long action sequence. The first day was tough but it went off without an issue. I kept gaining in confidence and by day three I was breezing, literally flying through it. As always, like the old Ranveer, I wanted to do more than was asked of me.

“In Lootera you’re actually sweating, actually running, actually hitting. It’s very real,
very gritty!”

It’s a very exciting part of the film, I was very happy to do that gritty action, it was not glam action. There is a difference. In glam action there are harnesses, there’s more film craft to make it look good. Lootera requires you as an actor to do it and you don’t have the support of the craft. You’re actually sweating, actually running, you’re actually hitting. It’s very real, very gritty. I enjoy it more than glam action.”

How’s the back holding up?
“Touch wood, it’s been holding up so well, it’s not troubled me at all. It’s actually a collaborative effort with my physiotherapist, my spine specialist, my physical trainer and my support at home. Everybody has worked towards getting me back to full fitness.

“As we speak I’m at the pinnacle of my fitness. I’ve been doing full-on dancing and when you are dancing in a Sanjay Leela Bhansali film it’s not like any other, you really are DANCING!
“We’ve done a garba number, it’s supposed to be very hard on the back and I was doing it with boots, and boots are not good for dancing either.

“There’s a lot of bending and jerky movements in garba. I’ve been lifting henchmen upand slamming them down. I’ve been on harnesses, fight sequences.
I’ve been loading my back but all the effort I put into recovery and rehab has paid off!”

There’s a lot of bending, a lot of jerky movements in garba but I breezed through that, I breezed through the action stuff. I’ve been lifting henchmen up and slamming them down. I’ve been on harnesses, fight sequences. So I have been loading my back but it has been behaving very well so far. All the effort I put into recovery and rehab has paid off. I don’t even think about it anymore. I just go for it.

“It’s a 100 per cent plus recovery. I notice it when I do fight scenes and dances. I’m able to do it much more fluidly. I have the support of my body and it’s wonderful when your body allows you to go that extra mile and surprise the technicians, the director, to show how much you’re able to do and how many times over. Ram Leela is a physically tough film, there’s dance, there’s action.

“Lootera and Ram Leela aren’t lightweight, easy, breezy, happy, fun, romantic comedy films. They both take a lot out of you emotionally, mentally and physically as well. You feel drained at the end of the day. But you get a good night’s sleep and go back and do it again.”

“I’m into body sculpting now and getting fantastic feedback especially from the ladies. Mr Bhansali said, you are playing Romeo, you have to be desirable to every woman who watches you!”

He’s Got A Hot Bod

“I’ve graduated from my rehab exercises to weight training and body sculpting,” he shares.
Yeah, those spanking new shirt-off photographs that have begun to adorn magazine covers sure provide proof of the ‘sculpting’.

He laughs, “Yes, I’m getting fantastic feedback especially from the ladies. Mr Bhansali was very clear about what he wanted. He said, you are playing Romeo, the quintessential heartthrob. So you have to be desirable to every woman who watches you.”
And Gunday demands the bod too.

“Gunday is an action drama and Ali (Abbas, director) is clear that he wants to work with the physique of the actors.

“It’s a massive confidence booster to be in screen-ready shape at any given time, to know that you’re ready to take your shirt off at any time!”

“It’s a massive confidence booster to be in screen-ready shape at any given time, to know that you’re ready to take your shirt off at any time!”

Ready To Compete

In recent times, Yashraj Films’ Gunday which costars two of their best acting discoveries, Ranveer with Arjun Kapoor, is the only film to pit two heroes in finely-balanced equal roles. Worried, Ranveer?

“It’s a great script, a very well-balanced script,” he returns with ebullience. “The producer (Aditya Chopra) and the director (Ali Abbas) were so confident about it that Arjun and I were given a joint narration. Ali was very clear during the narration that this was my character and this was Arjun’s, you are Bikram and you are Bala.

“Arjun is a fab actor and I’m very excited to work with him because I have great chemistry with him. I think ours is going to be the best bromance that people will have seen in a long time.

“We’ve had such a great tradition of two-hero films, be it Deewaar or Ram Lakhan. It’s sad that it just doesn’t happen anymore; young actors are not being able to agree to do a film together. I’m very proud and privileged to be a part of Gunday, the one two-hero film coming after a very long time which has two young heroes in it. It’s a film where I heard the script and it hit the spot immediately.

“We had our first ice-breaker party, Arjun was there too. There was great camaraderie at the outset and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun shooting Gunday.”

So, lots of releases, lots of action in 2012? “Yes, high time,” he grins. “I don’t know about Gunday, but Lootera should be released this year and Ram Leela should too, if everything goes according to plan. But as I’ve learnt in the last year, not everything goes according to plan!”

But the plan to be at the top of his game will happen. Add to all the above his infectious energy (a more youthful version of SRK’s renowned effervescence), his focussed, tunnel-vision talent and Prabhudheva’s recent remark that he is a brilliant dancer. And there it is – far more than 10 good reasons why Ranveer Singh will be the best bet of 2013!     

– Bharathi S Pradhan

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