Actor Ranbir Kapoor is one of the hottest stars of his generation. He is very aware of his family legacy and yet carries it very lightly. His acting style reminds you of his very talented, natural and spontaneous parents—actors Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh.
CNBC-TV18's Anuradha SenGupta caught up with Ranbir Kapoor to talk to him about his upcoming film Rockstar.
Here are the excerpts of the interview.
Q: You are all ready to release your new film, isn't it? When I describe your acting style as natural and spontaneous, am I getting it right?
A: Honestly, I can't judge myself. I am relatively new, seven films old, three-and-a-half years. I feel I am as good as the director of my movie or the movie. I never detach my performance or my work.
Since a very young age, I am a firm believer that if a film is good, everything is good. 'Hit hai toh fit hai.' It sounds a little crass, but it's the truth. You cannot detach yourself from the director's talent. So I guess it's an amalgamation of all the right energies coming together.
Q: How do you see your acting style? Your dad, Rishi Kapoor, on the show, talked about the fact that after you studied in New York where you did visual arts, you then went and did an acting course at Lee Strasberg and that's the method school. He said, "I wasn't comfortable about that choice because that's not my style."
A: I think to be honest the method sucks, I don't follow it. Where America really helped me was to get the exposure. You get exposed to different cultures, you meet different people. You get aware of the fact that there is a method to acting. But it's up to you, how you want to adapt it.
Every actor has his own methods. You cannot tell me you can do these ten things to become an actor. I disagree with that. Thankfully, my parents had been spontaneous actors. So, I can pardon myself from being compared to them, you cannot compare spontaneity.
Q: How do you approach the roles you do? Let's talk about 'Rockstar' because that's a new film. You play an artist in that, a musician.
A: He is actually a jatt boy from Delhi, a lower class jatt boy who lives in Pitampura. Now that boy comes from a different stratum of society, somebody who I haven't met in my life. So, it is very hard for me to first get into his skin, physical appearance.
Imtiaz Ali (director of the film) and I went and spent a lot of time with a jatt family in Delhi. I guess as an actor it is very important for me to observe them, I can pick up certain nuances.
This is part method. These are superficial things like learning to play guitar because I am playing a musician. I mean that's my job as an actor. If I don't do these things, the audience will never believe me. There will be a sense of disconnect.
But I think more than that my process is really marrying the director's mind because if a director has written a story, he knows it better than anybody. Yes, you bring in your own talent, experiences. But I think Imtiaz has been so gracious by sharing his experiences to help me as an actor to put in my work.
I think every film comes with different experiences, and challenges. You approach every role differently.
For example, for 'Rocket Singh Salesman of the Year', I never felt the need to prepare to be a salesman. I thought that is there in the script and that will come. I think that character reflected goodness, he was a good guy. So, what I did was I went to golden temple and I spent a night there all by myself because I thought I would get to know the Sikh culture well. There is a sense of very positive feeling you get, when you wake up there in the morning, when you see people doing seva, how they tie their turban, it's a big deal for them.
So, every film has different ways that as an actor how you can connect to a character and what you can put to it.
Q: But you need to connect to the character, no matter what the film. There are many movies where you look at it and you wonder really what an actor needed to do besides look good and have that star mystique or that charisma which carries you.
A: That's another side of being an actor. That's very important because unless you don't do that kind of cinema, which is a more mass friendly cinema, where a larger audience will come and see it and enjoy it, you won't get the opportunity to do films like 'Rocket Singh' and 'Wake Up Sid'.
A film like 'Ajab Prem Ki Gajab Kahani' will come easier to me because there is no reference to this character. You can play it fantastical, you have funny lines, and you have so much of support system in the form of songs, glamour and a beautiful co-actor. But it's different kind of cinema. It's very important.
What I also feel is as an actor because I have grown up in a very luxurious way, my life has been cushioned. I don't have too many life experiences. I don't have a big reservoir of emotions. So, it is harder for me to connect to an audience, it is. So, if I am playing a jatt boy who is going through some form of suffering how do I show that because I haven't really suffered. So, that's a challenge itself to kind of borrow from people, borrow from their experiences, imagine it, and put yourself in that situation. There are other ways. There is no right answer to it, what's the right process.
Q: It's interesting you mentioned that you don't have a bank of experience, emotions, suffering even to tap into. There is a theory that for great work of art and I don't just mean cinema, it could be anything that you need to have gone through great pain. Do you subscribe to that?
A: It's actually the criteria of this film— Rockstar because he is being told at a very young age when he is bit of a wannabe artist, that unless you have gone through a heartbreak in your life, the music will never come from within. There will be no sense of motivation and a sense of honest place where the music is coming from. I do believe that. I endorse it.
But I have gone through my fair share of problems, struggles, anxiety, angst, happiness and sadness. I am not very expressive person in life towards my parents, towards my friends. I can't express myself. I can't express that I am sad. I can't express if I am extremely happy. So, I guess somewhere through the medium of movies I can express through a character. So that kind of helps me. It does little bit of damage control of not having the reservoir of emotions. So, I get a little saved there.
Q: But you do think that's valuable for an actor to have that reservoir, right?
Q: What you are going to do about it?
A: I can't force it. It's about experiencing life in a very natural and organic way. That's why I am very hell-bent on working with directors who know much more than me, people who I can really respect and regard because I know how much that will help me. People probably not know that, but I rather work with a person who is far more experienced and intelligent than me, not in age wise, but just life experience wise, because I can always borrow that. He has put that in the character, he has put himself in the character and so he can give a little bit of himself to me also.
Ayan Mukherjee, a very young director, the 'Wake Up Sid' director, he did that to me, Imtiaz did that to me. Anurag Basu is doing that to me in 'Barfee'. So, I guess with experience, with time, with age I guess I will mature. I will understand more about life. I will understand more about emotions. I am kind of making my bank, I am aware of it. I am making all that. I am putting emotions inside here and holding it.<iframe width="100%" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/RThZ5rupqcc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>