Actor Ranveer Singh completes 10 years in Bollywood on Thursday, and looking back at his period of struggle he says the phase was not easy at all.
“My period of struggle was not easy at all. There was a recession going on at that time, the movie business was not very prolific and people were making fewer films. Therefore, opportunities for actors were far less than for actors today. We didn’t have these web platforms, we didn’t have OTT platforms. So, good opportunities were hard to come by,” said Ranveer, who made his debut with the 2010 romantic drama “Band Baajaa Baaraat”.
The actor, who is today one of Bollywood’s highest-paid stars, added: “For around three and a half years, I was just groping in the dark, attempting various avenues, trying to get a break, trying to get a foot in the door, doing the rounds of various offices with my portfolio looking for work and not knowing whether it would ever happen. It was far-fetched for someone in my position to think that I’d get a premier opportunity as a performer to act as a lead in Hindi films. It was a million to one shot but I took it.”
Ranveer said that with the support and love of his parents, he mustered up the “fortitude to keep 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. Those tales are memoir-worthy. I almost debuted with a side role in ‘Patiala House’. I almost did some small budget films that Anurag was directly/indirectly affiliated with. Anurag (Kashyap) Sir and Nikhil (Advani) Sir are probably as astounded as I am about how things started and how they are going,” he recalled.
The date December 10 will always be special for Ranveer.
“The biggest milestone of all is when I got selected for my first film, (it is) a moment that is simply unforgettable. I get goosebumps 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. The stuff dreams are made of, really,” he said.
“After that one incredible twist of fate, it has been a journey of learning, growing and evolving as a creative person, a performer and a public figure. 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.”
Ranveer says with every film and through every character he hopes to explore his own being a little bit more.
“Hopefully somewhere along the way in the course of becoming other people, I’ll be able to understand myself better. Every experience and every film has left me enriched, so I’m extremely grateful for each and every opportunity,” he said.
In his decade long journey in Bollywood, Ranveer has given hits such as “Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela”, “Dil Dhadakne Do”, “Bajirao Mastani”, “Padmaavat”, “Gully Boy” and “Simmba”.
Did he think he would achieve this level of success within a decade? “Not at all. Right from the Friday of my debut, the kind of things that have happened to me, the beats of my career, and my journey has been such that it is beyond my wildest imagination. I could not even dream of the things that have happened to me, with me and around me,” Ranveer replied.
He added: “I can’t claim to have had the vision to dream up something like this. Maine socha ki kuch na kuch ho jayega, Lekin aisa hoga kabhi nahi socha tha (thought something would come my way, never imagined it would be so good). 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 I am today, it feels absolutely unreal to me.”
Is Ranveer someone who thinks too much about legacy? “Yes, 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. We all wish to be remembered in history. I think it’s natural for us societal humans. 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.”
Ranveer knows these are tall ambitions but he is putting in work every single day to hopefully have a fulfilling run at the movies.
“If I distill my ambitions further, I would say that I just want to entertain people, that’s all. I would like to alleviate the agony of existence by offering people some cathartic relief. My calling is to be an entertainer and I believe that God is guiding me as I fulfil my destiny and answer my calling.”