Tell us something about yourself and your background. How did you end up becoming an actor?
I`ve wanted to be an actor since I was a child. Throughout my school years I used to participate in debates, plays etc. I always knew I was inclined towards entertainment. My first memory was: I had gone for a big b`day party. Dadi asked me to dance and suddenly in the middle of the lawn I am dancing. I remember the song was "chumma chumma. I felt the thrill of performance at a very young age. And the bug bit me then. Grew up on TV in the 90s. When I was 14 or 15, I felt this was a very far-fetched idea for someone like me who does not have any family backing. Prime opportunities came with lineage. So I pursued my second passion which was creative writing. Then when I was in America, in college, I took an acting class. And on the first day, my instructor said: I don`t wanna know who you are, what you do, just go up and perform. And that very day I decided this is what I wanna do. I would be compromising. This is what I love and I`m best at. So I took theatre as a minor. When I came to Mumbai I became an Assistant Director. Network a little with people in the industry. Then I said to myself, let`s get more acting specific. I did theatre. I wanted to only act in mainstream Hindi movies. When I went to meet to directors, producers etc. they felt it was an advantage because I was a blank slate. I had never been seen on any screen before. One day I got a call, saying it`s a Yashraj role, lead role, so I came, gave it my best shot. Then finally I met Maneesh, the director of BAND BAAJA BAARAAT. He took me to meet Mr. Aditya Chopra. He greeted me with a smile. I was numb, feeling so many things. I was trying to be professional. He said: "Ranveer, we`re going with you." I was so excited I just stood up, gave Maneesh a big hug. All my professionalism was gone! Adi sir gave me good words of advice. I was dawned that my childhood dream had come true. I just sunk to the ground and started crying in the middle of the corridor. And Maneesh looked back and said: Yeh kya kar raha hai yaar. Adi also walked out, and saw me, and patted my back, and said "don`t worry bacche, tu kar lega". They handed me the script so I had a tangible symbol of my achievement.
You got the script. When you read it for the first time, what did you feel about BBB?
Maneesh had already narrated to me the 1st half. By the time he had reached the 5th page, I had already started imagining and planning how I would structure the character and how I would create this character. It was just a very easy read. I loved the first half so much that I was absolutely curious to know what the second half was gonna be! The thing that stood out to me was Bittoo! It was such a fun character; he was such an endearing character. Such a cool guy. And more than anything I saw so much scope of putting my own personality in the character. The very heavy emotion is in sparing doses. Mostly fun film, light film. I felt that this film will be a lot of fun when it`s made. And it is!
The good thing about being an actor is you get to play so many characters, you get to be so many
people. I am so happy I got to play this part. Bittoo is a young lad from Delhi university - awara, typical loafer, always doing masti with friends. He has no interest in studies all he wants to do is have fun.. That is when he meets Shruti. Bittoo thinks she is very sorted & ambitious girl and it would be advantageous to be with her... Somehow he convinces her that we should start a business together. You do all the thinking and I`ll do all the execution. And then the story goes forward: about their relationship.
The character that you play, Bittoo Sharma, is a realistic character. Not from fantasy land. How comfortable were you with the character and the life of Delhi?
I think Maneesh`s biggest concern was this. That he acts well, but he doesn`t know much about Delhi and its life. When they went to do the recce, he decided to take me along! His intention was to expose me to the world of the film. They have their own culture. Delhi University, the whole world is very distinct. And it`s very important because it makes the character very relatable. He took me to the university and left me. Said - Launda banke aa! I was running free in the university, meeting all students, hanging out with them; see how they speak, what their tastes are, where they come from. All my days in Delhi were spent with them, while I also lived with them. And I went incognito as Bittoo. I used to introduce myself as Bittoo Sharma. Every day I would meet new people. Attended classes, went to watch movies together, did loaferbaazi. Interestingly, I met this guy who was very close to Bittoo. He had the swagger, the way he dressed, spoke, I knew when I met him for the first time, I knew he was my guy. So I studied him for a few days, hung out with him and have made Bittoo like him. He had the attitude and energy of Bittoo. I knew this is as Bittoo as it gets! He was crucial in my preparation of Bittoo!
The preparation pre-shoot was a long process. Habib Faisal, the writer and Maneesh Sharma, the director are both from Delhi. What help did you get from them?
At first I was struggling with the reading. They were having a tougher time explaining to me the character. But once I came back from Delhi, I was flying. I wasn`t only doing exactly what they were looking for, but adding to it! So all thanks to Maneesh that he took me with him and exposed me to the setting of BBB. I had absorbed so much of the world of the film, that they were thrilled.
Habib was the main driving force behind the emotion of the film. Once I went to Delhi, I had mastered where the character was from, his background, his setting etc. After that, I needed to know what the emotions would be and when they would come. Habib sir knows exactly what he has written, so precise, what emotions etc. he is so meticulous. I couldn`t have got the emotion right without him!
You both play wedding planners in the film. How did you put this into your character? During the recce you learnt a lot, so by the time you reached shoot, had you understood what was needed?
I only learnt and studied up until you see him first in the film, when he is a university boy. Uske baad jo bhi dikhaya hai, woh uske liye bhi naya hai. He is also planning a wedding for the first time, and going to places in Delhi for the first time. So I let that be a new experience for me too. That was why I could be most natural; it would all be new for me, not rehearsed, so I could act it out well.