Imtiaz Ali was torn between two Kapoors, Ranbir and Kareena, when he was casting for his Rockstar. And while the director was keen to work with his Geet again after the Jab We Met, he had to reluctantly let her go because Ranbir was best suited for the title role, and being first cousins, the two couldn’t be romantically paired. Kareena’s admitted that losing Rockstar to Nargis Fakhri was “heartbreaking”.
Ranbir acknowledges that Kareena is one of most talented actors in the industry today: “She’s hardworking, passionate and has had the opportunity to work with many good directors, including Imtiaz. It’s unfortunate that since we are related by blood, we couldn’t act together.”
However, he points out that Indian cinema is progressing and with different kinds of movies being made, they could be presented with another opportunity. “May be a film in which we are not meant to romance each other but play characters,” he says.
Ranbir, however, got a chance to act with his grand-uncle, late Shammi Kapoor. Rockstar was the ’60s rockstar’s last film and his grandnephew remembers him as an anxious, nervous little boy on the sets: “He would rehearse his lines industriously, flirt with the assistant directors and share stories of Kashmir and the songs picturised there. It was an unforgettable experience for all of us, particularly me.”
With 14 songs, Ranbir’s on-screen musical journey, it’s being said, has been inspired by its composer, A R Rahman’s. “That speaks a lot for Mr Rahman who gives so much of himself to his music. His songs are not just frivolous additions but an extension of the characters. But Rockstar is not AR Rahman’s story, it’s an original one penned by Imtiaz Ali. And while it’s a 10-year musical journey of Janardhan Jakar who becomes an iconic rockstar, it is primarily a love story,” reasons Ranbir, explaining why Kareena couldn’t fit in.
Did Ranbir ever aspire to be a rockstar? “I wanted to be an actor, play different parts, and Rockstar is a role of a lifetime,” smiles the actor for whom a rockstar is someone who without caring for people or society expresses himself through music, film and various art forms. “A rebel with a cause.”
Is Ranbir a rebel too? “Aren’t we all, in our own way?” he quips, and admits that when he was younger, he did some pretty stupid things. “You become responsible with age. But while I’ve always respected my parents and elders, if I have a contradictory opinion, I will always voice it.”