For a few weeks now, several rumours about Ranveer Singh’s demands with regard to his upcoming movie, Padmavati, have been doing the rounds. As the actor starts shooting for the film, HT Café catches up with him for an exclusive chat about all the stories and controversies that have been reported.
Is it true that you weren’t happy with Shahid coming on board, and that it has hurt your ego?
At the beginning of the year, Mr Bhansali (Sanjay Leela; film-maker) spoke to me about it, saying, “I want to make a film called Padmavati with you.” I thought it was going to be a beauty versus the beast or the heroine versus an anti-hero kind of a story. I was very excited and committed to it. Then, I went to shoot Befikre, while the scripting [for Padmavati] was on. When I came back and read the script, there was a prominent third part. I told him what I thought about the script. As a policy, I never get into the casting decisions [of any character] of a film, unless my opinion or suggestion is asked for. We had that discussion and I clearly, told him that, “We should get the best possible actor to play this part.” And I am very excited about Shahid [coming on board]. I think he’s a brilliant actor and an amazing inclusion to our team. He will add immense value.
Reportedly, you wanted to be the solo hero, and later, you wanted to opt out of the film...
I committed to the film even before the script was ready. I was always going to do this film, regardless of who was cast as Padmavati or Rawal Ratan Singh (Shahid’s role). It’s a very conscious decision to do a part (Alauddin Khilji), which is challenging and completely out of my comfort zone. I knew that it would be a maverick move and could be a risk. But, I listened to my instincts and went ahead with it. There’s no question of opting out. I always wanted to do something different; I was always interested in doing an anti-hero part, and who better to do it with than Mr Bhansali.
Watch: Nashe Si Chadh Gayi song from Befikre
So, how did all the negative stories come about?
I think the way the film has been set up, it makes for spicy stories, where [people] assume there’s friction [between actors]. But, at one point, I was like, “This is getting out of hand and as the leading man of the film, I need to take the responsibility and initiative to make sure that everything is okay”. So, I called everyone and said, “Let’s meet”. We all got together and I was very happy to see that we gelled well. Shahid joining the team is a blessing and I was happy to see that we are all on the same page, and we could have a laugh about all the absurd stories.
According to the grapevine, Bhansali has decided not to work with you ever again…
I like to believe that I am Mr Bhansali’s blue-eyed boy. He has given me my two big hits — Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela (2013) and Bajirao Mastani (BM). Creatively, he has been the most significant contributor to my career. I believe we are a special and a rare actor-director pair. I am extremely honoured that I am selected as his leading man film after film. I believe landing a leading role in his film is a marquee acquisition for any actor. I will be unabashedly greedy and say that I want to continue to be the leading man in every film he makes even after Padmavati.
Reports claim that Shahid and you can’t stand one another…
The only report that was true is that we work out in the same gym and enjoy each other’s company. I have always had a warm and affectionate equation with him. I have tremendous amount of respect and admiration for his work and him as an actor. I have been watching his films even before I got into the industry. I am excited to be collaborating with him.
Another report said you had asked Bhansali to cut Shahid’s role and turn it into a guest appearance…
First, the idea of me doing something like that goes against my grain. I am no one to ask a film-maker to give another actor a certain billing or to alter the script. Having said that, the script is phenomenal and should be shot the way it is.
Watch: Befikre trailer
Did you ask the film’s makers to come up with three different posters?
I just stick to my job, which is acting. Things like posters, publicity material and promotions are entirely the film-maker’s prerogative. I don’t get into all of that.
Reportedly, Bhansali asked Deepika to convince you to start shooting…
It was me who decided that all of us (Deepika, Shahid and Bhansali) should meet and sit face-to-face, and find out first-hand that we aren’t getting perturbed by all this.
So didn’t Bhansali call you two for dinner to break the ice?
No, that is inaccurate. It was me who felt the need to get us all together. After that day, the film started on a positive note. We all got charged up after that day.
Buzz is that Deepika is being paid more than you for the film.
Let me put it this way, if I am the leading man of the film and the film-maker is asking me to support him in a certain aspect so as not to burden the budget of the film, I will do whatever I can to support his vision.
It’s being reported that Padmavati is the reason behind your alleged break-up with Deepika?
These are the kind of rubbish stories that I have also read about my rifts with Deepika, Mr Bhansali and Shahid.
There were rumours that Deepika and you hit a rough patch since Deepika was happy about Shahid joining the cast...
I was happy about Shahid coming on board, as it elevates the entire film.
Isn’t it unfortunate that Deepika has been dragged into all this?
Yes, some of the articles were appalling and that’s why I am clearing the air now.
Do you still get upset when you read such stories about yourself?
I have evolved to take it all in my stride, but when I was informed about some or the other article every other day, my patience started running out. That’s when I took the initiative to arrange for a meeting because I was like, ‘I am getting disturbed by it. So let me find out from my core team, and hope they aren’t getting disturbed as well’.