I want to be remembered as an entertainer: Ranveer Singh on completing a decade in Hindi cinema
The actor on his formidable rise in Bollywood and the road ahead…
December 10 marks a decade of Ranveer Singh in the movies. His debut film, Band Baaja Baarat, had released in theatres ten years ago. Since then, Ranveer has charted a formidable rise in Bollywood with a string of diverse and memorable roles. Many of his films are modern classics — Lootera, Bajirao Mastani, Dil Dhadakne Do, Padmaavat, Gully Boy — others, not so much.
Here, Ranveer opens up about his most memorable milestones, his dreams and aspirations, the rejections he faced for years before his explosive debut and the legacy that he wishes to leave behind.
December 10 marks 10 years of Ranveer Singh. Looking back, which moments from these 10 years would you consider your biggest career milestones, and why?
Well, the biggest milestone of them all actually is when I got selected for my first film, a moment that is simply unforgettable. I get goosebumps when I think about it even now. For somebody from my kind of background to get such a big break was beyond my wildest imagination. The stuff dreams are made of, really. After that one incredible twist of fate, it’s been a journey of learning, growing and evolving as a creative person, a performer, and a public figure. With every passing year and with every film I have learnt something more about the craft, about myself, and tried to keep bettering myself and improving my set of skills. With every film, and through every character, I hope to explore my own being a little bit more. Hopefully, somewhere along the way in the course of becoming other people, I'll be able to understand myself better. Every experience and every film has left me enriched a little bit more, so I’m extremely grateful for each and every opportunity.
You are a self-made star who has also faced rejections before you landed BBB as recounted recently by Anurag Kashyap and Nikhil Advani. Tell us about the time when you stared at uncertainty and how you kept your eyes on the prize.
My period of struggle was not easy at all. There was a recession going on at that time, the movie business was not very prolific, people were making fewer films. We didn’t have these OTT platforms. Good opportunities were hard to come by. For three to three and a half years, I was just groping in the dark, attempting various avenues, trying to get a foot in the door, doing the rounds of various offices with my portfolio and not knowing whether it would ever happen at all. It was very farfetched to think I’d get an opportunity to act as a lead in Hindi films. It was a million to one shot, but I took it. With the love, blessings, sacrifices and support of my amazing parents, I mustered up the fortitude to keep going. I was hungry and sometimes foolish, but also very persistent. I was 21 when I started trying and at 24, it happened for me in spectacular fashion. Those tales are memoir-worthy for sure. I almost debuted in a side role in Patiala House. I almost did some small budget films that Anurag was directly/indirectly affiliated with. Anurag sir and Nikhil sir are probably as astounded as I am about how things started and how they are going!
Today, you are a favourite of all top directors. Looking back, when you did BBB, did you think you would achieve this level of success in a decade?
No, not at all. Right from the very Friday of my debut, the kind of things that have happened to me, the beats of my career, and my journey has been such that it's beyond my wildest imagination. I could not even dream of the things that have happened to me, with me and around me. I can't claim to have had the vision to dream up something like this. Maine socha ki ‘kuch na kuch ho jayega’, lekin aisa hoga, yeh kabhi nahi socha tha. They say you should dare to dream big, but I couldn’t have dreamt this big myself. So, if I stop to think and take stock of how things have transpired and where am I today, it feels absolutely unreal to me.
Are you someone who thinks much about your legacy? If so, what do you want Ranveer’s legacy to be in the history of Indian cinema?
Yes, every day I am working towards leaving behind a legacy, a filmography that I can be proud of. I want to make a significant contribution to the arts and inspire other artists, the same way my senior artists have inspired me. We all wish to be remembered in history. I want to be remembered as a thorough entertainer, as a versatile actor, someone whose body of work constitutes some of the best cinema in our country. These are tall ambitions, but I am putting in the work every single day to hopefully have a fulfilling run at the movies and make my country proud through my work in the field of my choice — Hindi cinema. If I distill my ambitions further, I would say that I just want to entertain people, that’s all. I would like to alleviate the agony of existence by offering people some cathartic relief. My calling is to be an entertainer and I believe that God is guiding me as I fulfill my destiny and answer my calling.