His eyes talk and then he says it, "It feels unreal to be doing an interview with you." The strikingly good-looking and the surprisingly tall 25-year-old Kapoor has been a quiet, shy and yet confident presence at the Krishna Raj bungalow on Pali Hill. There he has watched everyday life in 35 mm.. taken in the crests and troughs of show business.. and is now the son who will carry his clan's torch forward. Ranbir Kapoor.. gets hearticulate.. in a conversation with Khalid Mohamed
This must be your umpteenth interview... There must have been 2000 already. So what have you been asked?
How it feels to become an actor.. about the RK legacy.. about Mr Sanjay Leela Bhansali.. about the great expectations.. about the pressure.. about Sonam.
Everyone's been very nice and sweet.. but by now, I hope I'm not sounding like a stuck record.. or a voice-machine.
How do you react when you wake up one morning to be described as a gay icon?
(Smiling awkwardly) I accept that as a compliment the way I would if a girl had said something sweet to me. Whatever one's sexual preference may be, that is an accepted norm in today's society .
When I was studying cinema at New York's School of Visual Arts and later at the Lee Strasberg Studio, some of the guys were gay. It was no big deal. Randy Salo who made a short film called Barbarian Invasions, is gay, and one of the most brilliant minds I've met.
<b1>At the school, did you act in and direct short films?
Yes, they had titles like Passion to Love, Undeclared Love.. and I Fall Asleep. I really liked Undeclared Love in which a boy loves a girl silently.. and discovers that she loved him too.. but only at her gravestone. After three years of studies in America, I wanted to come back.. and I did.
Which was the first film ever offered to you?
(Shyly) Funny, you should ask me this. You offered me Fiza. I didn't know whether I wanted to become an actor or director then. I'd loved Devdas.. I assisted on Black.. and I'll be honest, I kept wondering why Mr Bhansali doesn't offer me a role in one of his projects?
Is it true that you quit as assistant director because Mr Bhansali slapped you.. or threw a cell phone at you?
Nothing like that ever happened. He doesn't ever get angry without a reason. He can shout at you when you're goofing up. After Black, he asked Sonam and me to do a photo-session.. we were the first choices for Saawariya.
To come to your parents now.. how's it been to be the son of Rishi and Neetu Kapoor?
With dad, there has been a middle ground.. we are as friendly as a father and son can be. I'm scared of his I-won't-take-nonsense-from anyone personality. Mum's my best friend.. I can tell her about my dark side, about my girfriends, anything.
There was a period when they nearly split.. did that affect you?
That affected me big time. My sister (Ridhima) was out of town. I would sit on the stairs alone and wish that they wouldn't say things to each other which they didn't mean.
And see, they came through that difficult period. I really believe their love is forever.. I can feel the intensity, the depth of the love my dad has for mum.
Mum has the gift for calming every storm. That period made me grow up, mature. I understood that there have to be bad moments with the good. (Emotionally) I understood
About two years ago, there were reports about a face-off between Salman Khan and you.
It was not the way it was made out to be. I was at a restaurant, wearing a Diesel T-shirt.. a sweater actually.. he came up to me and wanted to bite the label. Then Sanjay Dutt sir told him who I was.. and he backed off.
The next day, he sent me five bags of clothes and gold Bvlgari watch.. dad, of course, made me return everything.. (laughs) even though I wouldn't have minded keeping the watch.
Apparently, you were very much in love with a girl in Bombay.. and you were miserable when you broke up.
(Reluctantly) She was my childhood sweetheart. We were in school together for eight years. I couldn't think of life without her. For me, she was the most beautiful girl in the world.
But a point came, when we had to go our separate ways. She's very happy today, well-settled and is about to get married to a brilliant guy I could never be as wonderful .. as him. She and I are in touch on and off, we sms each other on our birthdays.
How did you deal with heartache?
I guess we just fell out of love with each other.. love can be so complicated. I didn't talk to dad or mum about this.. but mum could tell and she was very supportive.
<b3>Would you deny those stories linking you with Nandita Mahtani?
All I can say is that while I was growing up, I was infatuated with her. I found her beautiful, simple and warm.. so unlike the socialite she is made out to be.
We went out for dinners, it was nothing serious. Mom knew I had a crush on her.
Okay, so here's the Deepika Padukone question.
(Blushes) I met her through common friends at a restaurant.. a club actually. We liked each other's company.. but before we could even think about how we felt about each other, it was all over the newspapers... and so many unwanted, spicy things were written. So we mutually decided to concentrate on our careers.
Do you talk to her on the phone now?
Not too much.
So where's the career moving next? The RK banner, Yash Raj..
I can't think of anything but Saawariya now. But some day besides acting I do want to produce and direct films. There's no time frame for this.. when I have something to tell.. an idea.. I'll go for it.
Are you in touch with the entire Kapoor clan?
I'm in touch every day with dadiji (Krishna Raj Kapoor), Daboo and Chimpu uncle and Reema aunty. Chimpu uncle just gave me my first Rolex watch. I may not be close to Kareena and Karisma. But Kareena has been very supportive... she sms'es me if she likes a photograph of mine. The clan may be busy in their own work..but there is an emotional solidarity ..(laughs) I guess you could call us the Don Corleones of Indian cinema.