I'm not as ambitious or as greedy as Khilji: Ranveer Singh
The actor's performance as the antagonist in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmaavat has been earning him praise
With his menacing eyes and eccentric behaviour, Ranveer Singh has upped his own ante as Delhi Sultan Alauddin Khilji in Padmaavat. But the actor says it's a character whose ambitions and greed he does not relate to. He adds that he’s simply trying to build a filmography that he can be proud of.
After captivating with powerful performances in films like Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela, Bajirao Mastani and now Padmaavat, the actor is set to dive into projects that are as different as chalk and cheese. There's Gully Boy, Simmba and a biopic on India's 1983 Cricket World Cup victory.
"I have a very large vision for myself, my body of work, my career. I hope to build a vast legacy with a filmography that I can be proud of. I want to look back and feel like I made a significant contribution to the art, and yes, keep pushing the envelope and keep exploring things," he says.
With Khilji, Ranveer has achieved that to a certain extent. Where did the inspiration for his eccentric antics in the Sanjay Leela Bhansali directorial come from? "There were no references (for the character) as such and it definitely didn't come from within. I cannot really relate to Alauddin Khilji on any level. I am not as ambitious, as greedy or as manipulative," says the actor, who believes "there's no end to what you can achieve."
"The more work I do, the more I realise how much I can do because it is limitless. So, I hope to keep going," he adds.
Ranveer made his acting debut in 2010 with Band Baajaa Baaraat, and by his own admission, has "grown leaps and bounds as an artiste" since.
"I think the past seven and a half years have been very solid. It has been an amazing journey from Band Baaja Baaraat to Padmaavat. I have learnt a lot. I have been able to showcase my versatility and have been able to learn and work with very different styles," he says.
Wasn't it a risk to play an anti-hero? "It was a huge risk. I was very apprehensive about taking the risk, but Bhansali was very persistent in his pursuit of me and was the one to convince me that I could pull it off. I can never say no to Bhansali, given the amount he has contributed to my career, and to me as an artiste. Once I committed, I gave my everything. But, yes, initially there were apprehensions," says Ranveer, who found the character "mentally, physically and emotionally" draining.
The film was mired in a row as protests erupted over alleged distortion of facts. After the film released, following a long-stretched battle, reviews have pointed out how Khilji's character has been demonised. "As an actor, I just have to stick to the character that I find in the script," Ranveer says, adding he used the film's bound script "as my textbook and my bible" to create a character around it.
The actor says he can always choose to add to the script from the "research and homework" he does during the prep phase, but his job as an actor is to do justice to the character.
Excited about his upcoming slate of films, Ranveer says, "I am working with films and filmmakers who are very different from each other. Zoya Akhtar, Rohit Shetty and Kabir Khan... It is again a very good opportunity to showcase my versatility. I aspire to be an actor who is able to transform himself with each character. I always endeavour to be that way."