The shooting experience reflects the kind of film it is and even my behaviour is impacted. So, the ADs on Dil Dhadkane Do will tell you that I am so much fun to be around, but the ADs on Bajirao Mastani will be, like, ‘He is a terror.’ So, yes, different films, different approaches but the one constant is that you put your best foot forward, every single time.
BOI: Call it a coincidence but you are clashing with Shah Rukh Khan this year end and will be replacing him in an Aditya Chopra movie early next year…
RS: (Cuts in) As far as I know, I was the only choice for Befikre and I am not replacing anyone.
BOI: No, not replacing, as he has only worked with Shah Rukh, so far, in that sense.
RS: Oh, yes, it is cool. It is a great privilege and an honour for me. In fact, it is a matter of pride that my mentor chose me to be in his movie and I am the only actor besides the mega star with whom he has worked. So, it is a matter of great pride that he believes in my ability to do justice to the character. He explained to me why he was so comfortable working with Mr Khan. He used to tell me that he (SRK) is just amazing, he is almost like a computer. ‘All I have to do is press something and it gets done.’ That is the kind of brilliance with which he delivers for his directors.
He used to draw from his shooting experiences with Mr Khan to teach me what I could learn from him. If you can be like this with each of your directors, then they will not want to work with anybody else. He often used his example to teach me more about how to better myself.
BOI: Deepika, as an actor, we assume it was easy for you to relate to the character in Piku or even in Tamasha as they are about modern young women, just like you. What did you draw on to essay the role of this personality from history?
DP: It is a period film but as a woman, I find her (Mastani) very relevant today. Her story, her courage is very relevant. I believe there is a Mastani in every woman because she has to multi-task. She was a warrior princess, and women today are faced with so many difficulties. They may not be in an actual battlefield but they are confronted by challenges that require the same kind of willpower, strength and fearlessness to overcome these situations.
Mastani stood for what she believed was right, she stood up against the system because she believed she was correct. And she had so much faith in herself, in her love and in everything that she did and at the same time she was extremely emotional, extremely vulnerable, very fragile and delicate, which I believe are the qualities that every woman of today has. So it may be a period film but I am certain that women will identify with Mastani and most definitely be inspired by her journey.
BOI: Ranveer, as you said, this film was very different for you. Did it take time for you to emerge from your character after you finished shooting?
RS: I am still not out of it! No, I am just kidding. Since I had invested so much in this movie, that by the time we got around to completing the shoot in October, I was waiting to exhale. I was waitng to emerge from my character as I had lived the role for long enough and gone deep into it. Also, we shot the climax at the very end and then we shot for the song Malhari, which is a celebratory song.
It was great that we kept the climax for the end because that is when things rise to a crescendo, like in any piece of art. Now that it is done, it is time to celebrate. So we shot the celebratory song and it was a great note to end the shoot on. For me, the process itself was the prize. Whatever transpires on December 18 and after that will be a bonus for me. I already have my prize.
DP: They linger. Whether you like it or not, they linger, and very often it takes another film to help you snap out of the earlier role, or sometimes a very long break.
RS: A long holiday (Laughs).
DP: Yeah! It doesn’t leave your system for a while.
RS: Yes. I am changed for life. After playing Peshwa Bajirao, my whole personality has changed, but in a good way. I have learnt a lot from the character. He is a very, very inspiring man. Mard! (Laughs)
BOI: Ranveer, as an actor, how have you evolved?
RS: Well, I have learnt the depths I can go to, to tap into my energy reserves, emotional reserves and physical reserves. Let’s put it this way, now I am a rubberband and I know how far I can stretch.
BOI: Deepika, what has 2015 been like for you, having done Piku, Tamasha and now Bajirao Mastani?
DP: What more could I ask for!
BOI: Well, you have had many good years, it’s been four years now!
DP: It’s overwhelming. Before the films released, I was like, ‘Oh God! Why are all of these releasing in the same year?’ But when you get feedback and see how people react to your performances and the characters, I was like, ‘Okay, it wasn’t that bad.’ So it was good and, of course, now topping it with Bajirao Mastani.
BOI: Were you not worried about having two big releases (Tamasha and Bajirao Mastani) within just three weeks, both of them high-profile films?
DP: Two years ago, I had four releases in a single year but at least they were spaced out, one every four months. This is the first time I have two consecutive films releasing less than a month apart. These things are beyond an actor’s control. I also think it a true test for an actor to have two big releases, back to back, and still convince the audience of both characters you play.
RS: It’s been a very, very special year. She got Piku, Tamasha and…
BOI: Finally, what do you think will happen on December 18? What are your expectations?
RS: I don’t know. I will be going to cinema halls, most probably, just to get a first-hand reaction.
RS: So I want to see the faces in the audience.
DP: (Cuts in) Since Bajirao Mastani is an experience, when you come out of the theatre, you will say, ‘I have not watched the film, I have experienced it!’
RS: If watching the trailer on the big screen is anything to go by, you can imagine what the rest of the film must be like. And believe me, nobody has even seen the best parts yet, you know, the parts that required so much work. The film has so much more to offer. And, as Deepika said, it’s not just an audiovisual experience, it is a part of you that is deep down and you have an experience in the cinema hall.