When Ranveer Singh heard that his Dil Dhadakne Do director Zoya Akhtar was planning on casting Anushka Sharma to play his love interest in this family saga, the 29-year-old had mixed feelings. “I was very excited but I was also worried that Anushka won’t do the role,” Ranveer recalls with a grin. His fears were not unfounded. After all, Anushka and Ranveer, who worked together in Band Baaja Baaraat and Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl, were also in a relationship at one point. But Zoya managed to sign the actress of her choice, and as the cliché goes, the rest is cinematic history.
The film has Ranveer playing a quintessential urbane character, something he hasn’t had a chance to showcase on screen as yet. “In that way, Kabir Mehra is a little like who I am off-screen. My previous films, whether it was Band Baaja..., Lootera or Ram-Leela, my characters were from a time or place that was very different from who I am. I have grown up in Mumbai and studied in the US and Kabir is kind of similar at his core.”
Dil Dhadakne Do boasts of a stellar ensemble cast that includes Priyanka Chopra, Anil Kapoor and Farhan Akhtar but Ranveer is not one to get insecure about getting lost in the crowd. “I am a very secure actor. I know what my role is and how much I can do. I have always approached my work with honesty. In any film, I know that my co-actors and I have to feed off each other and make a scene come alive. I really believe that you have to be an un-selfish actor to be a good actor.”
Getting a chance to work alongside one of his childhood idols—Anil Kapoor has been a dream come true for Ranveer. “I was so excited to be working with him. I have always been such a huge fan! He is a really cool guy. He doesn’t have that whole ‘I am senior to you’ vibe. And, because we were shooting on a ship, we had a chance to hangout even when we were not shooting. We’d gym together or go out to the port-of-call. It was fun hanging with him.”
This film is also special because it’s one of those rare ones in Ranveer’s short career where the actor hasn’t injured himself. Point this out to him and Ranveer laughs out loud. In February this year, Ranveer tore a ligament in his shoulder on the sets of Bajirao Mastani. “See, this is what happens when you do your own stunts! I was sitting on a horse and I lost my balance. I had to have surgery.” After spending almost three months recuperating, Ranveer has returned to the sets of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s opus Bajirao Mastani and plunged straight into high-octane action sequences. “It’s been crazy which is why I had to make sure when I was recuperating that I was returning with 100 perfect fitness.”
Contrary to rumours, Ranveer insists his injury hasn’t delayed the film. “I fell while shooting for the last shot on the last day of that schedule. So, there was no big loss of time in February. Also, while I was away, Sanjay sir shot all the scenes that didn’t need me. So, the film is on track.”
Bajirao Mastani is the only film Ranveer has on hand right now and he feels lucky to play this once-in-a-lifetime character. “Bajirao has so many layers. He is a warrior, a leader, an obedient son, a caring husband and father and also a passionate lover. This film has a huge canvas and not just as a spectacle but also in its emotions and drama,” he says. “This has been a passion project for Sanjay sir for 10-15 years… so to get an opportunity to be a part of his dream is so special. I know this is going to be a landmark film in my career. I am giving it my all,” Ranveer adds.