Since it’s release, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat may have received mixed reviews, but the one thing most viewers are united on is the sheer energy and madness that Ranveer Singh brings to the film. On the evening of the film’s release, Film Companion catches up with the actor who’s delighted to “finally be able to speak about two years of hard work”. Here are excerpts from the chat:
ON BECOMING ALAUDDIN KHILJI
I take some time to prep. It becomes very difficult in today’s day and age to carve out time for prep. My business managers don’t get it. They need to be explained that I need this. This time I got 3 weeks to workshop. I was alone, cut away from friends and family. I use that time alone to dwell on my character and sort of marinate on that head space. It’s a fascinating process that doesn’t have any rules. It’s a very fulfilling process. It’s actually my favourite time apart from actually being on set and shooting. Also, the Alauddin Khilji work out is eat a lot of red meat and lift really heavy weights. It’s very simple. I ate red meat for a year and half straight, everyday.
WHY PLAYING KHILJI MADE HIM A BETTER MAN
It felt like taking the kachra out of your being, burning it, and that combustion is the performance. I really had to confront my demons and revisit some not so fond memories of my life experience. So that was the scary part initially. But you come out feeling so light because you’ve addressed all of that. It’s like Diwali cleaning of your aura. I’ve come out feeling so much nicer, lighter and kinder to people. I’ve addressed all that garbage inside me.
THE TOUGHEST SCENE OF PADMAAVAT
The hard part was because of the shooting delays. As a result, a lot of my portions came on the back of each other. Typically a costume drama is so exhausting that you shoot eight days and then take a break because you have to shoot the next thing. But I didn’t have that option. I shot 40 plus days which is really unheard of in a costume drama. On day 37 my brain had become mush, my body had become pulp, I didn’t know if I was coming or going.
The final battle with Shahid (Kapoor) was very difficult. The Khali Bali scene was very difficult. I could barely stand and I had to do this dance. My body was giving up.
ON THE CONTROVERSIES AROUND PADMAAVAT
I was not positive. I’m very sensitive. I can’t tell you the kind of fury I felt when the first incident happened. I had to be calmed down by the people around me. That is my place of worship. You don’t come on film set and do that. I decided that instead of acting out and being destructive about it, I’ll be constructive and channel all that angst into my performance.
ON WHAT’S NEXT
My film choices are a function of what is being offered to me. Right now I’m in a very good phase – I’ve got Gully Boy, Simmba and then 1983. Sometimes months on end no exciting film comes your way but I’m really thankful that I had this period where such wonderful films were offered to me. So I’m really, really happy.