A touch of drama

A touch of drama

A touch of drama

A touch of drama

In the purely commercial sense, Tamasha is a crucial film for Ranbir Kapoor. It was 30 months ago that he delivered his last hit Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, and since then, Besharam, Roy and Bombay Velvet have been progressively bigger flops. However, as Shah Rukh Khan said recently, “No one can take Ranbir’s talent away from him.”

The latest of over 20 actors from the Kapoor khandaan — Hindi cinema’s first family (including wives and daughters) — he also remains one of the most well-behaved artistes from the younger set. And he is courtesy-personified as usual, when we meet at a five-star hotel.

His charming self

The aura of Rockstar (his critically-acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful 2011 film with Imtiaz Ali, who directs Tamasha) pervades this film too, in the sense that people expect a dark romance. Ranbir, however, nixes this buzz immediately.

“This film is about the metamorphosis of a man when Tara, Deepika’s character, comes into his life and becomes a kind of muse. There are times in our lives when we become mediocre, or cheap imitations of ourselves, and that troubles us and discomforts us, till a metamorphosis comes. But Tamasha is not a dark film, because even this discomfort is shown through a lot of comic moments. I think that Imtiaz has acquired this reputation after Rockstar and Highway.”

Is not the title wrong for a love story? “Well, the word tamasha is not to be taken in its negative connotations, for it also means spectacle and a form of entertainment,” answers the actor. “But Tamasha is more than just a love story. It advices the viewer to write his or her own story, and not succumb to pressures about how to lead one’s life.”

The trailer also resembles Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, and a lot of what it shows and says is similar. Shaking his head, Ranbir replies, “Well, the principal thought in that film, according to Ayan (director Mukerji), was that happiness is real only when it is shared. I was shown as a selfish guy who wanted to travel the world, so though he was in love, he went and did what he wanted first.”

He goes on, “Here, the boy wants to be with the girl, but the girl does not want him because he has changed from what she thought he was. In fact, he’s become like a robot, a small screw in the mechanism of the world and does not even know the race he is running. I have a friend who’s somewhat like that, so the film is quite relatable. It also highlights how, today, relationships and life have both become so mechanical.”

Ranbir is hopeful that people will connect to this film. “As cinema people, we want to make audiences comfortable and, at the same time, provide a new experience on screen,” he goes on. “We do not have any formula for success and failure in movies, but I think you will find this film engaging and entertaining. Imtiaz’s films always come from his heart, and are original. He had given me an idea about Tamasha during Rockstar and I had loved it, though the script was not ready.”

Ranbir is in awe of Imtiaz and adds, “Imtiaz wants an actor to connect with the character and become the character. He makes the character so easy because he does most of the basic work on it. He made me understand this character as someone who is average, dresses and speaks like an average person, as all his extraordinary qualities have been suppressed because his dream has been shattered by his father.”

As a director, says Ranbir, Imtiaz is also open to creative discussions, giving Deepika and him the broad guidelines of a scene, and asking them for inputs within its parameters.

The filmi chakkar

Which brings us to another of the actor’s directors — Anurag Basu — with whom he did Barfi! and is now working on Jagga Jasoos, which Ranbir is also co-producing. We ask the actor how it feels to work without any script as such, and in today’s organised setup where a release date is locked at the time the film is announced.

“Aamir Khan recently said that the best way to kill creativity in an art form like cinema is to give it a release date! So while it’s true that I have grown old waiting for Jagga Jasoos to be complete, I don’t mind it at all,” smiles Ranbir.

Softly, he adds, “Because I know that there is a mad genius within Anurag, so I have to trust him and his take on camera angles and performances. I will give you an example. He once told Priyanka Chopra and me during Barfi! that the day’s scene was about Jhilmil — her character’s name, me and pani-puri! Most of the time, we did not know what we were really doing on sets till we saw the final version.” Terming this an organic way of shooting, the actor admits that going into it blindly can be “scary.”

Just as he is about to release this film after a slew of flops, Deepika has had only a flow of hits. So would he, after a successful Bachna Ae Haseeno and a super-hit Yeh Jawaani..., call her his lucky charm? Also, as they have been more than friends in the past, how do we interpret their frequent declarations of loving each other today?

“I think that love and in love both mean different things,” the actor declares soberly. “Love is a universal term going beyond romance. We are friends for life and I flirt with her just as with some others, and have always said that flirting is like yoga — beneficial for health.”

The actor grins and says, “Come on, we are friends now for more than eight years. That is a long time — in India, the government has changed and there have been three Golmaals in that much time. Our debut films released on the same day — hers was a hit, mine was not. I first saw Deepika in Filmistan Studio even before our movies hit the theatres. That was enough to tell me that this actress would become a big star. The rest was her hard work, and so it is an insult to call her my lucky charm, because it takes away from her talent and effort. Deepika is what she is because she is serious about her work, even more so than we worked together two years ago, and that’s the reason for her success.”

Finally, how does Ranbir cope with multiple assignments today as he has four films on hand?

“I am an actor, I don’t know how to do anything else, and I have no complaints if I have to be on the sets every single day. Yes, I like to work on one film at a time, which I am trying to do. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is 75 per cent complete, but Jagga Jasoos is still on and I have just finished Tamasha. As for Ayan’s next and Rajkumar Hirani’s biopic on Sanjay Dutt, they are still writing the film. Meanwhile, I am trying to beef up to look like Sanjay-sir, but I guess it is not easy at all!”

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