The Gunday actor talks about his condom ad, sex and more…
Ranveer Singh is currently on a cruise ship in Barcelona, shooting for Zoya Akhtar’s film. He reunites with Anushka Sharma, with whom he made his debut with, in this film. Before that he sat down for a tete-a-tete. We talked about everything from being an outsider to the two million-plus views for his condom ad, from sex, to being open to full frontal nudity. And it is all in the Singh ishtyle — ballsy and brawny. Excerpts from the conversation…
How different is the Ranveer of 2014 from the one who made his debut four years ago?
In my first year I had no idea how to be. I wasn’t raised around anyone who is famous, I didn’t know who to be or what to say. It wasn’t just the first year, it was well into the second year as well. It took me around two years to kind of get used to it. I am still very open and honest and frank, I don’t mince my words, but I do understand that there is a level to which you can speak your mind. Ninety per cent of the time I am pretty honest, its that 10 per cent you don’t want to ruffle any feathers as it will create nuisance, it is that 10 per cent that people use and twist and turn and they create misunderstanding. So there is a 10 per cent tact that has come into my way of being. I am very happy about it as god knows I needed it. With successful films a bit of self confidence has also come. I had to hit the ground so to speak when it came to coping with fame. I didn’t know how to be, but now I try and just be myself because it is the easiest thing to do. I can’t put up a public image or a front and be someone I am not. It takes a lot of effort and how long will you do it and after a while you will get crazy. I think am slowly getting used to becoming a public figure.
Do you still feel in like an outsider?
Yes, I am not from a film family, so I will always feel like an outsider. I am an outsider by my fundamental constitution. The industry has been very warm and accepting of me and that’s based on my ability. Yes, I have a lot of friends and wonderful personal equations with people in the industry, but I am still not a filmi kid. I don’t go back many years with anyone. Yes I am born and raised in Mumbai so I do know some people, but for the most part I am first generation. God willing if I have kids someday and they get into the industry someday then they will be filmi kids.
Your condom commercial is as big a hit as your last film.
I always thought that the Do the Rex video would become really big or we would get a big jhaap on our faces. I was totally invested in Do the Rex from start to finish because it was my idea. I was out daydreaming one day while promoting Ram Leela and thought, ‘Yaar apne desh main koi condom kyu nahi promote karta?‘. I was passing by a small town somewhere in the North and I was seeing all these hoardings and somebody was endorsing toothpaste and someone was selling fairness creams. I thought the one product that really needs to be promoted in our country is condom. We have so many problems of unwanted pregnancies, HIV, STDs, so many issues, and somebody needs to bring to light the importance of safe sex. So i thought why not I use my celebrity status to do it. So I told my people to check if Durex wants to tie up because I have been using that brand all my life. They came up with this idea and then my and my best friend Karan got together and made it. When it was ready I was shit scared and I didn’t know how people would take it. But the day it released my phone went crazy as if a hit film of mine had released on a Friday. Bosco, who choreographed it, said he hasn’t ever got such a reaction to even his songs and I felt the same way: that I haven’t got such massive reaction for any of my films even.
Why do you think it took so long for an actor to endorse safe sex?
It took me three-and-half-years, I was offered many endorsements before and I said no to staggering amount of money, I feel like whatever I do becomes part of my equity. So I am very hung up on creatives being a former copy writer myself. I am very involved in creatives. So for my first advertisement to be so big was awesome as I was involved in every part of the creative process from the writing to the rap. It’s put me over the moon when it did so well. It’s because traditionally we have unnecessarily ben making so much noise about the forbiddeness of sex, it’s taboo, that’s why rapes happen and it’s terrible.
You remember the first time you discussed sex?
I was an early bloomer in that sense. I got into pornography earlier than everybody, I lost my virginity at an early age, I was at that point considered to be a corrupt influence on other kids. I was always ahead of my times. I have also been raised with a very liberal outlook. I have lived in America so that has had a great influence on my mindset and am very comfortable with my sexuality and I guess it comes from a lack of insecurity. I am not afraid to talk about sex. People say such a bold move, it takes guts, but I have always been like this.
Your thoughts on frontal nudity? Would you do it if offered a part that required you to go bare?
I am not closed to doing anything. I am perfectly fine with it. I am comfortable in my own skin, and I work very hard to maintain my body. I have no qualms about doing a nude scene, if I believe in the director’s vision and if I am convinced that it is required in a scene, I’d even do full frontal nudity. I have said in my first year, I have no issues with showing my body whatsoever. For me being physically naked is not a big thing at all, because I as an actor let people into a much more personal space. I am baring my deepest emotions to an audience for me that’s the most naked I can possibly be. If I am crying or am emoting, am letting you into my insides and heart. If I can be that naked then this physical nudity is not a big deal at all.
Now that you are active on social media, how do you deal with negative comments?
If I read anything negative on my timeline, I just block them. Fortunately, 90 per cent of all the messages I get are all positive. But yes there is a section of people who say nasty things, and I don’t have any time in the day for them so I just instantly block them. I will block people with negative tweets because I have the option to do it.