The Band Baaja Baaraat brat is now older by a decade. Ranveer Singh, arguably the most energetic actor in Bollywood today, says the Maneesh Sharma film was perhaps the biggest milestone in his career. “When I got selected for my first film, it was a moment that is simply unforgettable. I get goose bumps when I think about it even now. For somebody from my kind of background to get such a big break was beyond my wildest imagination. It’s been a journey of learning, growing and evolving as a creative person, a performer and a public figure,” he says.
“With every passing year and with every film I have learnt something more about the craft, more about myself and tried to keep bettering myself and improving my set of skills,” says the actor, who has completed 10 years in the industry, says. “With every film and through every character, I hope to explore my own being a little bit more. Hopefully somewhere along the way, in the course of becoming other people, I will be able to understand myself better,” he adds candidly.
Ranveer is a self-made superstar who faced many rejections before he landed his debut film opposite Anushka Sharma in 2010. “My period of struggle was not easy at all. There was a recession at that time, people were making fewer films. Therefore, opportunities for actors were far less than today. We didn’t have web platforms, OTT platforms etc. So opportunities were hard to come by,” he recalls. “I was just groping in the dark, attempting various avenues, trying to get a break, doing the rounds of various offices with my portfolio, looking for work and not knowing whether it would ever happen at all.”
Acknowledging that it was very farfetched for someone in his position to think that he would get an opportunity as a lead actor in a premier Hindi film, Ranveer said, “It was a million to one shot, but I took it. With the love, blessings, sacrifices and support of my amazing parents, I mustered up the fortitude to keep going.”
He reveals that he was ready to pick up side roles. “I almost debuted in a side role in Akshay Kumar’s film Patiala House. I almost did some small budget films that Anurag (Kashyap) sir was directly/indirectly affiliated with. Anurag sir and Nikhil (Advani) sir are probably as astounded as I am about how things started and how they are going. I was hungry and sometimes foolish but also very persistent. I was 21 when I started trying and at 24 it happened for me in a spectacular fashion,” he says.
His personal story almost mirrors the struggles his character went through in Gully Boy. Does it mean that, like his Gully Boy character, he had never thought he would make it big in Bollywood? “Maine socha ki kuch na kuch ho jayega, Lekin aisa hoga, yeh kabhi nahi socha tha. (I thought something would happen, but I didn’t think it would work out this way)” admits Ranveer. “I could not even dream of the things that have happened to me, with me and around me. I can’t claim to have had the vision to dream up something like this. They say you should dare to dream big, but I couldn’t have dreamt this big myself. So, if I stop to think and take stock of how things have transpired and where am I today, it feels absolutely unreal to me.”
Ranveer, who has completed three films with Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Deepika Padukone — Goliyon Ki Raasleela: Ram Leela, Bajirao Mastani and Padmaavat, — dreams of making a body of films that can make everyone proud. “Every day I am working towards leaving behind a legacy, a filmography that I can be proud of. I want to make a significant contribution to the arts and inspire other artistes, the same way my senior artistes have inspired me. I want to be remembered as a thorough entertainer, as a versatile actor, someone whose body of work constitutes some of the best cinema of our country,” he says. “My calling is to be an entertainer and I believe that God is guiding me as I fulfil my destiny and answer my calling,” he signs off philosophically.