"Thank God, no one says any more than my debut was financed by my father. That to me is my biggest victory," says Ranveer Singh.
Ranveer Singh is spoilt for choices. "I think after Band Baaja Baraat, I need to do completely contrasting character. Someone who is not loud, opinionated and unsophisticated."
The suffering of waiting is over for this debutant who came in from the outside. "Not since Akshay Kumar and John Abraham has there been a male lead from outside the industry getting such positive reactions. I just hope my example encourages talent from outside. Because right now the perception is outsiders don't stand a chance. I had no reference like mine to give me hope when I was going through my struggle period."
One call from Yash Raj changed Ranveer's life. "It was completely out of the blue from the casting director Shanu Sharma. I remember I was out on date when Shanu kept calling. I avoided her calls for as long as I could because I had other things on my mind at that moment. Imagine if I had not taken the call from Yash Raj for a fling that lasted exactly ten days! Anyway, the next day I was at Yash Raj doing two scenes. I got called back in three days. Later Adi Sir (Chopra) told he had made up his mind immediately..."
Ranveer is pleased he didn't get a conventional romantic debut. "The story in Band Baaja Baraat is terrific. And my character Bittu was so much fun for me to play because he's so far removed from my own world. It was more than I could ever ask for. I was more than happy to be a simple character in a simple story. Not too many newcomers can dream of a break like Band Baaja Baraat, certainly not someone unconnected with the film industry."
Catty elements within the industry had spread the rumour that his father, a prosperous business man, had financed the film.
Confesses the young polite actor, "Yes that hurt on several levels. Such ugly rumours took away from my pleasure at being the first solo-hero to be launched by Yash Raj. Ya…it was upsetting. My father and my family's pride that I had made it on my own got blunted when it was said that they financed my debut film. It was like taking away from my little achievement. I was upset more for my parents than myself. I was also upset for Yash Raj. Did they need my father's money to make a film? The entire film industry knows Yash Raj doesn't need to do all this. It's absurd. They don't need anyone's money to make films. Certainly not my father's."
Ranveer maintains he is "very good friends" with co-star Anushka Sharma, though they bickered non-stop like their characters in Band Baaja Baraat. "She and I are very good friends. How can I change that truth just because it sounds cliched? Neither of us is bothered with what people say."
Says Ranveer, "We came from two different schools of film making. I'm a trained actor. She never attended any acting school. As a model she had faced the camera before acting and had already done two films before Band Baaja Baraat. She is a one-take actor. I believe in lots of rehearsals. And that was very annoying for Anushka because her first take was the best. We had to reach a middle ground before we could get along. In hindsight I feel I was rehearsing more than necessary because it was my first film. I learnt from her to be spontaneous. But the fact that we had to be at loggerheads on screen was certainly helped by our constant friction in the sets about our approach to acting."
Ranveer hopes every newcomer gets a supportive co-star like Anushka or else he is "screwed". As for the rumours about Ranveer and Anushka, the promising newcomer says, "I was too much into my work to even think about those rumours. I just wanted to perform well. That was my only concern. I've never been in a serious relationship so far. And now my career has just started."
He sighs and says, "It feels cool. I had told my father a long time ago that I'd be an actor. My dream has come true. But my family is not used to the gossip and rumours." And to think Ranveer thought of changing his name because there was already a Ranbir around. "I am glad I didn't. This is my name. This is my destiny. I'm just so happy."
He's signed for three films with Yash Raj. "But it is non-exclusive. I was waiting for my first release and so was the industry. Now they know I wasn't signed because my father paid for my dream. Adi too has plans for me though I don't know what they are. He loves playing poker with people."