The star of the hour!

Ranveer Singh is on everyone’s mind. While Padmavaat is raking in the moolah, the actor has been garnering loud and tall praises from all and sundry. Shubarna Mukerji Shu takes notes as Singh talks about the film that made his seven-year-old career, seven times brighter

Ruthless, rugged and relentless, Ranveer Singh will be sweeping all the awards for his portrayal of Allauddin Khilji in Padmaavat, which has entered the 200 cr club. While the actor is busy with his next film, and revelling in the accolades, we thought we will speak to him about the journey of Padmaavat that has expanded his fan base even further and won over critics alike.

The journey…

“I keep saying this for me it is the journey that matters. It is the process of becoming Allauddin Khilji that was the greatest prize for me. I know there are a lot of people out there, saying a lot of good things but for me it is the journey that will remain the highlight.

Everyone knows that I almost didn’t do the film, because I feared diving into the depths of Khilji’s soul. His depravity and his cunning would have been too much for me, Ranveer, to conquer. But I am so glad that Mr Bhansali convinced me to take the plunge. Of course, once we wrapped the shoot, and cut that cake, I threw that garb of being Allauddin for good. No way am I getting to that space again!”

When the dark gets ugly  

For me, as a person, with my moral compass – everything about Allauddin Khilji would point to the negative. However as an actor it is exciting to be able to play a negative character. It was something that I always wanted, but like they say – watch what you wish for, because I got to play the worst of the lot. The role was challenging and being Khilji took a toll on me. I knew if I would sign that dotted line, I would most likely lose myself in it. But I did come out of it, a little bit more evolved in my craft, a little bit more mature as a person. I am very happy and fulfilled about the process.

The making of Khilji

Did you know all the eccentricity and the idiosyncrasies in this character were not there on paper. I sort of added a lot to it myself, but even more than me, Mr. Bhansali added to it.  We added layers, we added nuances, we added so many things to what we had in the written material, that actually makes this character more unique and fresh; it made him exciting to watch, unpredictable. What I like best is the fact that whenever people are coming upto me, telling me they like a certain moment in the film, each of their collective feedback are about scenes we had come up with spontaneously or improvised.

Like for instance, the scene where I throw that perfume on the girl and rub her against myself, that was Mr Bhansali’s idea, he came up with it on the spot. The part when I go into the fortress, and sharing lunch with Raja Ratan Singh, I sniff the food… that’s my doing. We improvised because when I suggested I will take a sniff at what’s served, Sir said perhaps that’s because he is suspicious of what is served, so he should switch the plates… and so on…. Mr Bhansali and I, free styled a lot through the making of it. like Jim Sarbh called me up and asked, how I feel about all the scenes that got cut, well, that’s what is filming a film all about, we shoot 8hours of a film and showcase only two and half. A lot is bound to go, but you enjoy the process….

Shahid feeling like an outsider…

I did my best to make him feel comfortable but perhaps because this is his first period film or a costume drama he felt a wee-bit uncomfortable. It is a whole different kind of cinematic experience when you are working on a period film, it does take a while getting your head around it. But I will tell you this, it is listening to Raja Ratan Singh’s words to Khilji, that helped me build my character.

The Bhansali-Ranveer magic  

Mr Bhansali has a style that is unique to him, there is a very special bond between Bhansali sir and me, I have been thinking about it a lot. Today if a Rohit Shetty, Zoya Akhtar, Kabir Khan who are each unique directors, are very secure in their ways of filmmaking, if they feel excited about having me aboard their film, thinking to achieve something different through me, the potential they see is what Mr Bhansali has unlocked.

I genuinely think we match on many levels, we are both extremists, we are both attracted to heightened emotions and both are high risk takers. My choices as an actor will always bend towards taking the leap and his as a filmmaker too, is the same. Our synergy is great. Even Adi Sir believes we have some kind of a magic together. We have seen it through the history of cinema that a filmmaker finds a certain actor, and they go on to create a vast legacy of work together and you know it is, the same thing about sir and me. I understand all too well what he has done for my career, he has given me my biggest hits and more than that, he has shaped me into the artist I am done.

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