Q. Were you anticipating this response from the fans for Gully Boy?
Ranveer: No, it has exceeded my expectations. I understand its not typical popular music but it was a huge thing. This is the first time I have done my vocals and it has become number one.
Q. Are you the new singer on the block?
Ranveer: No, I can’t say that but my rapping is decent. If it has gone to number one then it must be okay, at least. Its not half bad. Of course I have not written it myself but I have given my vocals to 5 songs and few poems. Its awesome to see the tracks doing so well, not just Apna time ayega, Asli hip hop and Mere gully me also. Its not like popular music like Aankh marey, its legit hip hop songs. So that is significant for the scene and for underground and independent music; that a legit hip hop song can get such a mainstream acceptance. Zoya was telling me that after the music launch, now this film is a little bit more than just about her and me. Its about hopes and dreams of a lot of people. The people attached to the underground scene and to the Hindustani hip hop scene, understand that this could be a turning point or a boost for them. So they feel that sense of ownership. They are feeding the film with all kind of love and energy. They are adding so much, somebody is working on the lyrics or somebody is working on dialogues. They keep adding an authentic flavour that takes the film to another level and that has made the film very special. It feels so authentic, I am very proud of that aspect of the film.
Q. You have watched the film, how was your experience?
Ranveer: It was very special and a very emotional experience. The film really made us feel something. If you have worked on something and you can still be moved by it when you see it as a ready product, then that is very significant. We are very happy with the film, very proud of the work and very excited for it.
Q. Were you sure that you wanted to rap in this movie when it was offered to you?
Ranveer: Yeah, I tend to enthusiastically jump at opportunities. So I wanted to rap but Zoya was not sure that I will be good enough. So I had to give a test. For me, there was no question, I’d be doing my own voice in it because of the nature of the film. Its the journey of a young boy who wanted to become a musician, it calls for the actor playing the part to lend his own voice to the music. So whilst I was very keen, she was unsure. She called me in the studio and my tested me. When I started rapping Mere gully mein, they were impressed. I had a lot of help because this was my first time. Now the songs are out there and people are liking it.
Q. You have proved justice to every character that you have played, so now the expectations are also high, how do you feel about it?
Ranveer: These are things which I find out about everyday. Everybody are like ‘now after Simmba..’, but that is great. It is a wonderful and a welcomed tag. It is creatively empowering to be that. But it comes with a responsibility now. People believe now that if your face is attached to some poster, that is a promise of quality and entertainment. And these people are paying and going to the halls believing that you will deliver the entertainment to them as promised. That is why they are putting their trust and their money on you. So I understand that responsibility, I am choosing my stories wisely and doing the best I can.
Q. Response from the small town is humongous, how do you feel about that?
Ranveer: Alia’s security saw the film with us and he is a ‘Simmba’ audience and he loved that movie but after he saw Gully Boy, he was crying at the end of the film. He told me that he loved this movie as well and my take away from that conversation was that this movie is ‘apne logo ki film’. This movie’s characters are very relatable and grounded. Zoya is very particular about these detailing. When you watch the film, you can almost smell Dharavi. Its quite amazing what she has achieved.
Q. This is the first time when we will be seeing the more vulnerable side of yours, was it easy to bring that out?
Ranveer: One has to become comfortable as an actor for revealing that side of yourself. Because its very real and authentic side. It protects from people and that side of you only comes out when you are with people whom you really trust. Initially I wasn’t very comfortable being emotionally naked in front of the camera. Zoya has the ability of peeling away the layers and bringing out the real part me and that is because of the relationship that she has cultivated with me. More than filmmaker, she is my friend. It was seen first in Lootera and then in Dil Dhadakne Do. I was very raw in Lootera. In Simmba, he has got all the action and all the dialogues, but this is different. He is there, he is present but he is reacting to everything that is happening around him. I learnt and adapted to that mode of performance in Dil Dhadakne Do. And now I am very happy to see that I have come a long way from there. I have learnt many things along the way. There is a lot more to react to and to do. Your performance is one that is structured by your co actors and I have had the privilege to work with outstanding co actors. You will be blown away by their work.
Q. Deepika called you ‘hot’ after Simmba’s role, what was her reaction now?
Ranveer: Now she called me hotter. She loves my look in Zoya’s movies. She prefers those looks.
Q. What is your understanding and take away from the hip hop scene?
Ranveer: Two years ago when I signed Gully boy, even I didn’t realise that the scene would be what it is today. Its exploding. We are in the time where the threshold of the musical revolution is almost like a social revolution. Because the expression in this music is so socially relevant. On the ohter hand there is the remix culture, I am not dissing it, I think its great, there’s a generation that receives joy from certain kind of music. There’s nothing wrong with another generation receiving same joy from repackage, I have benefited from it and I love those songs. I love Kala chashma, Aankh marey and even the new age versions of these songs. But at the same time I believe it is important for original music to come out for young talent to be given a platform to showcase their expression and talent. And its happened already with the people who have been credited with the lyrics, through our music album and the mainstream exposure that we are hoping to give these boys, is happening. Its a very significant point as we had hoped it would be for this Hindustani hip hop. They feel that sense of ownership and they know what it means for them. They are pumping this film with love and energy and that is why it has become so special.
Q. How satisfying has it been to play different characters and make the audience root for all of these?
Ranveer: We are definitely rooting for the characters in this film, that is the achievement of the storyteller. I am thrilled that the films I have done have come out in this sequence. It allows me to establish that notion that I am a versatile actor and that’s something I have endeavoured towards. There is no good and bad acting or better or worse. I am trying to be the best actor that I can possibly be. If you can be effective across genres and transform yourself and be as believable as an underdog, that is what I have consciously endeavoured towards. Like doing an introvert character in Lootera and then absolute raw and rambunctious in Ram Leela, in the very same year. Then in 2015, Dil Dhadakne Do and Bajirao in the same year; now Khilji and Simmba and on back of that Gully boy. Now through social media you can consume what the on-going talk is about, I know that aspect is being spoken about now significantly than never before. People are recognizing my versatility and that is something that I have consciously endeavoured to be recognized as.
Q. Will you play a dark character like Khilji anytime soon?
Ranveer: Probably not. Not anytime soon, not on the periphery. I can’t go back there. Touchwood, I am very blessed that right now, I am going through a very good time. I am very happy and happily married. I am being showered with love and affection from my wife. I am in a very warm and fuzzy, happy space in life. To be honest, when Khilji was offered to me, I was happy even then. But I was prepared to go down that rabbit hole. Now, I am not prepared to do that again because having done that before, I know how deep and dark it is. I don’t want to do that. Not anytime soon and hopefully never. I will do this mercy on myself and not go down that path again.
Q. What genres you want to explore now?
Ranveer: I am very excited that I am doing a sports film, I wanted to do a sports film. I wanted to play some kind of athlete and I am lucky and blessed that I am a part of playing a living legend and perhaps the most extraordinary story of human will and triumph. It’s the most unbelievable and spectacular story. There is a whole generation that doesn’t know who these guys were and the magnitude of what they have achieved and how they did it. I am very honoured and privileged to a part of this film.
BY RUJUTA THETE