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'Ranbir not scared of making fool of himself'
What made you pick Ranbir for 'Barfi!'?
I usually don't cast people before finishing the script. But halfway through writing Barfi!, I started wondering who'll play this character of a deafand-mute boy as it was getting difficult to finish writing the film because of that nagging question. It was then that Ranbir, and only Ranbir, came to my mind. Even after the film released, I've been asking people who else could have played this role and the answer is only Ranbir Kapoor.
What was it that you saw in Ranbir as your 'Barfi!'?
His biggest asset is that he's effortless. He's very real and easy-going. For me, his acting is like he's not acting. Also, whatever films I'd seen of him, further convinced me that my choice is correct.
From his choice of films earlier, one sees a chilled-out boy-next-door who's almost a loser initially in most of his films. What does that say about Ranbir as an actor, as a
youngster in today's competitive times?
He's creating his own path as he wants to explore and rediscover himself with every film he does. He follows his heart while saying 'yes' or 'no' to a film. He doesn't think box office, he doesn't think numbers. If he likes a script, he says yes, and that's what happened with Barfi!. He won't say I'll think and get back to you etc. He heard the story of Barfi! and immediately said, I'm doing this film - that's it. He thinks from his heart and doesn't dwell on things.
Coming from a film family, Ranbir could have easily had his pick of larger than life hero-centric films. But he's consciously making choices which are very relatable to today's youth.
He likes to do films which he enjoys. He needs to relate to the subject. Basically Ranbir is very simple at heart. That's why he doesn't think in terms of box office. For him, it's important to come to the set every day excited and to be able to enjoy the process of shooting.
What was your brief to him for the film and
how did you strip off the clichês ?
Nothing at all, I just told him to be happy and come with that happy frame of mind to the set. He was too eager to find out what he was required to do. He kept asking me what am I supposed to do;you are not doing any workshop etc. I told him to relax and we'll do something on the sets only and that's what we did.
He has said in interviews that he's a director's actor and literally followed you.
It's the director's job to take the actor through the character. I get paid for that. But having said that, it's not necessary that what you think gets projected on screen as you see it. In Barfi!, Ranbir was on his own beyond a point and that's because he's a great actor. He has the knack of becoming the character he portrays. Because he's a natural performer he does not realise his talent. That's why I keep saying he's effortless and doesn't know how talented he is. After the film's release, we were getting a lot of messages and he keeps saying, 'Dada humne yeh kya kar diya? Itne messages aa rahe hai'. I told him, 'Tumne achcha kaam kiya hai isi liye aa rahe hain'.
Your next project is also with Ranbir?
Yes, we are coming up with a biopic on Kishore Kumar titled Kishore. When I see old Kishore Kumar films, I see that Ranbir has that body language and look. Though he doesn't look like Kishore da, but I'm very confident he'll pick it up and become the character.
So is Ranbir the next 'actor' actor?
For me Hrithik Roshan and Ranbir are two actors to look out for. I enjoyed working with Ranbir and I feel his choice of films is better than Hrithik's. There are other stars who're great actors but Ranbir's choice of films is making him create his own path. It sets him aside from other actors of his time. Also, he's not so much in love with himself. He's not scared of making a fool of himself - be it in public or during interviews. He does not have any airs of a star on the sets. He's just like any boy his age and that's his USP.
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