Bollywood heartthrob Ranbir Kapoor comes from one of India's most famous acting dynasties. He is the son of actors Rishi Kapoor and Reetu Singh and he's the grandson of legendary actor-director Raj Kapoor. In this interview, Ranbir talks about his new film – romantic action-comedy Besharam, out now in Cineworld. Click here to book your tickets.
What prompted you to sign up for this film?
It was several things that made me sign up for Besharam. I am a big fan of director Abhinav Kashyap’s work. Abhinav knows how to tell a simple yet very interesting story. This film has it all: it has romance, action and comedy. It tells a simple yet effective story. I was also drawn to my character. It is a very different type of character to play and it allowed me to express myself in a new and creative way.
Tell us about your character in Besharam
I play a character called ‘Babli’, who is an orphan and petty car thief. He is a guy with no inhibitions; he lives life by his own rules. Babli is a very flamboyant and loud character, but underneath it all he is a good hearted kid. His main priority is to get money to help the children in the orphanage. It was an amazing experience to play this type of role, as I could take the character to new depths and have fun with it too.
Did the film allow you to let loose and have some ‘Besharam’ moments?
Of course! There are certain things that I could get away with that I wouldn’t normally be able to. My character is really shameless and so he does some pretty weird and gross things. One example that comes to mind is that in the film my character is obsessed with playing with his chest hair all the time, this isn’t something that I’d normally do in real life!
What was it like working with your parents for the first time?
It was fantastic working with my parents. I am a great admirer of my father and I’m in awe of my mother. They are both such professionals and great actors. They never once dictated to me during the shooting of this film. In fact I gave them suggestions on how I thought their characters should be portrayed. We had a lot of fun working together and it helped me to overcome a lot of inhibitions.
Do you feel pressure to have the same success as your famous parents?
Overall, I don’t feel that it has been a hindrance to come from a famous family. I have been exposed to cinema from a very young age and I absolutely love watching my family’s films. I wouldn’t say I have pressure on me to succeed, but it has been a bit of a struggle at times because of who my parents are. There is a ‘celebrity kid’ label attached to me that I have had to overcome to prove myself as an actor and as an individual.
Bollywood recently celebrated its 100 year anniversary. How do you think the industry has developed?
I think it is a very proud moment for the Indian film industry to celebrate such a milestone. I feel honoured to be a part of the Indian film industry. My family has been in the industry for 80 out of the 100 years and this is a wonderful achievement. I think Bollywood is now attracting global audiences in a more engaging way. There is a healthy blend between the typical ‘Masala’ film and mainstream elements. An example I would give is the film Barfi, which was India’s official entry in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Oscars.
Is there a set format for a successful Bollywood film?
There is no set format. People just want good entertainment. A Bollywood film entertains you; it is three hours of music, drama, romance, action and comedy.
Who are your role models within the Indian Film Industry?
There are so many people I admire. I look up to Amitabh Bachchan. I also think Shah Rukh Khan is a good ambassador for the industry.
Do you see yourself making the transition to mainstream/Hollywood cinema?
At the moment I am very happy doing what I’m doing. I think the Indian film industry is booming and is a great thing to be a part of. I truly enjoy my work and the roles I’ve played so far. A good film is often one that takes elements from its own culture and tradition rather than trying to just incorporate a mainstream/Western format. For example in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Ang Lee took inspiration from his own culture and created a fantastic film.