Ranveer Singh Padmaavat Interview: You Can’t Even Take My Name In The Same Breath As Shah Rukh Khan

Ranveer Singh has completely taken the internet by storm with his menacing character Alauddin Khilji in >Padmaavat. Ever since, his first look was released, it literally gave us chills down our spines! With Khilji, Ranveer has raised his own bar to do excel in his future projects. In the film, we could see how Ranveer had transformed himself as Khilji and had crossed the limits of evilness and wickedness. Not only he managed us to scare us but also he successfully made us go gaga over his humour in the film.

Recently,

KoiMoi.com met the super crazy Ranveer for a group interview where he spoke about almost everything. From enjoying playing Khilji, how he managed to get into the skin of the character, his evolving relationship with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, getting compared with Shah Rukh Khan to Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy & much more!

Excerpts from the interview:

Ranveer Singh Padmaavat Interview: You Can't Even Take My Name In The Same Breath As Shah Rukh Khan
Ranveer Singh Padmaavat Interview: You Can’t Even Take My Name In The Same Breath As Shah Rukh Khan

Q. Did you enjoy playing Alauddin Khilji in Padmaavat?

A. In one word ‘yes’. I thoroughly enjoyed playing this part. I like to do different stuff all the time. It’s very exciting for me. I always wanted to play a negative character. So, I was like, why not play it with Mr. Bhansali? I wanted to play an antagonist who is the most evil ever. I was initially very apprehensive to take up the role. But Mr Bhansali convinced me to explore this part and I can never say ‘No’ to him. I am glad I did this role. I enjoyed playing this part as it was very fulfilling. Not that it was easy but because it was interesting and very challenging. I went through a lot playing it. Because of the way it was shot, it took a toll on me in many ways. But at the end of the day, I have come out a little bit more evolved in my craft and a little bit more mature as a person. I am very happy and fulfilled with the process. It taught me a lot about myself. It taught me that I can dig very deep and deliver under pressure. Now that this kind of appreciation is pouring in for it and this has been the response of the viewing audience and people are saying a lot about the character, for me all this is ‘sone pe suhaaga’. For me, the process is the prize and I always maintain that and genuinely believe in that. There is no greater gift for me- a kid who always had stars in his eyes and just wanted to be a Hindi film hero. Here, I get to be a Hindi film hero as well as a villain.

Q. How did you add that touch of madness to your character? 

A. All the eccentricities and idiocracies in this character were not there on paper. I added a lot to it by myself. But even more than me, Mr Bhansali added to it. We added layers and nuances and a lot of things to the written material that actually makes this character unique, fresh and exciting to watch, unpredictable, eccentric. The film has been out for a few days now and a lot of people are actually pin-pointing memorable moments and everybody has a different one. For instance, the scene where Khilji throws a perfume on a girl and rubs himself against her stood out for many. That was Mr. Bhansali’s spontaneous idea. We were just freestyling with each other and enjoying exploring this character. The scene where Khilji throws away the lotus flower when Maharawal Ratan Rawal Singh arrives, that was my improvisation. (Laughs) I and Mr Bhansali kept feeding off each other and built scenes after scenes to create a very entertaining character with so many layers. At the end of the day when we added so much of juice, it became such a wholesome cinematic character. After wrapping up the shoot, many months later when I watched the film for the first time, I felt the emotion of the film. Of course, it helped that I had left it behind and started working on another film. I was moved to tears when I saw Padmaavat. I cried when the last act started. I was like, ‘SLB has done it’ and considered it as his victory after all that he has been through. He made an amazing film. I can’t say that about all my films but this time, I really loved Padmaavat.

Q. This is your third film with Mr. Bhansali and all three have been smashing hits. Now with the benchmark that you have set with him, do you think somewhere other directors apparently may find it difficult to live up to the characterizations and commercial success?

A. Currently, I am working with Zoya Akhtar, Rohit Shetty and Kabir Khan, all of who are accomplished filmmakers themselves. Even of them have a unique cinematic language and are specialists in telling a certain kind of story in the same way that Mr. Bhansali is. He has his own style and Zoya has her own. I have worked with Rohit Shetty before and know that he too has a unique style of approach. I am sure the same stands true for Kabir Khan. They all are very secured individuals. I think on the contrary, they will be excited at the thought of what they could achieve with me and be looking forward to collaborating. They have seen the potential that Mr. Bhansali has unlocked in me. At the same time, I genuinely believe that there is something very special between me and Bhansali Sir. I think we match on many levels. He and I, both are extremists and are attracted and allured to heighted emotion. I make high-risk choices as an actor. He makes very high-risk choices in the scene. That’s another place where we match. We have a great synergy. Adi Sir (Aditya Chopra) after watching Padmaavat told me that you and Bhansali are magic together. There’s something very special in that collaboration and we have seen that throughout history, a filmmaker finds a certain actor and then they go on to create a vast legacy of work together. I believe the same thing about Sir and me. I understand and value all for what he has done to my career. He has given me my biggest hits and more than that and above all, he has shaped me with the artist that I am today. The most amount that I have learnt about this craft is from him. He is absolutely precious and invaluable to me.

Q. In the film, Khilji is an absolutely evil and has no good bones in his body. When you act somebody like this, how do you build respect for that character so that it resonates?

A. It wasn’t difficult for me because I imagined there to be a great honesty in every decision that he took. If I have to speak in the third person and judge him as Ranveer’s moral compass, I think he’s quite a bad person. He’s detested and despicable. But when I play Alauddin and get into that mind space, I am 100% convinced that everything that he is doing is right. I am convinced that I rule over the world and everything that Almighty has created is belowest me. My character is a narcissist, megalomaniac and I convince myself of that reality. And then, every action and decision and everything that I do is with honesty. At the very least, you can accept his honesty to his beliefs. If he believes that he is honest in that belief which at some level is worthy of respect. Having said that, a lot of people are not looking at a certain aspect of Alauddin Khilji. Most of us are talking about the villainy of the character but he was also a great statesman, a great strategist, very astute and shrewd, has a sense of humour, a patron of arts and a very effective ruler. Of course, Padmaavat wasn’t his life story essentially. This was a small chapter in his life. He is extremely intelligent and a great fighter. There are so many obvious cues that a lot of people who are critiquing the character are missing out. So, it wasn’t very difficult to build respect for this character. Yes, if I had to pass a judgement I don’t think he’s a good guy and you don’t respect the shit that he did.

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