Nov. 11--Ranveer and Deepika let us in on their Romeo & Juliet-inspired film and their true-life romance (or lack thereof)
"WHEREFORE ART THOU another Romeo & Juliet rip-off?" came our cry, before the Ram-Leela acting duo Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone made their way to the Khaleej Times office.
Having witnessed the catastrophe that was Prateik Babbar's Issaq earlier this year, last week's promotional tour for this incarnation looked doomed to fail in its mission. That was until the pair entered the premises looking confident about the movie's prospects (you can always tell when they realise they have a damp squib on their hands) and were both open to a frank discussion about the gossip surrounding their alleged relationship.
Here's a blow-by-blow account of what happened.
You must be aware of Issaq's fate, what makes Ram-Leela different from every other Romeo & Juliet story out there?
DEEPIKA: Any love story will be at some level a take-off of Romeo & Juliet. It's so classic that it's always a reference point. It's different in that it's very rural, very earthy and the characters are different.
RANVEER: I agree, the broad arcs are from that story, but I feel both our characters are totally different to Shakespeare's work. Ram is an original take on Romeo. His energy and the vibe he carries is so different. Romeo is melancholic and angsty. Ram has a joie de vivre about him. He is larger than life.
Does his exuberance explain the red velvet suit you're wearing?
R: This is one of my sober suits! I have a stylist and she feels I can pull off these quirky ensembles. The director said I had to have the facial hair too, so I've got it for another month for promotions and Movember.
How has having that moustache for a number of months been?
R: This is the longest it has been. I never thought I'd have a full handlebar. A lot of food gets stuck in it, but I am so attached to it now. I'll feel naked when it has to go.
You've said the kissing in Ram-Leela is the best onscreen smooch to date. Didn't that 'tache ruin things?
D: It wasn't so twirly back then when we had to kiss. It was fine. I prefer guys to have stubble in the real world, but I don't know him without this.
R: It is the self-proclaimed best kiss. That is what everyone forgets to report. I think it is the best kiss ever in films. I have watched Bollywood films for 20 years. Back then there was no kissing. I have seen the evolution from nothing to lots and everything in between. In my own opinion, this is the best kiss yet.
The way any actor runs onscreen is different from real life, to look better on camera. Is that the same with kissing?
R: It depends from actor to actor. Some run to look stylish, it's the same is for kissing. You can use tricks to look good. I personally use my natural style.
Would you say Bollywood is like Romeo & Juliet in that there are two predominant camps and actors belong to one or the other with little crossover?
D: I don't think there are camps. And even if they did exist, we don't belong to that generation. It's just about comfort levels and working with people you know. The way it's reported comes across more negative. After a couple of years you just want to enjoy the experience of being on a film. It doesn't mean you belong to a camp. We're all hungry to do good work.
So you'd work with anyone?
D: Absolutely. I have done 15 films and repeated a few directors, but worked with different producers and directors. I just want to be a part of good films. I have worked with almost everyone except Hrithik, Aamir and Salman.
R: If you made your own camp, I would be in it.
So you'd be open to having a camp of your own. Just the two of you?
D: I can see where this is going. We read and hear about our 'relationship' a lot. This film is a love story and the chemistry between us is the talking point. We understand where it comes from.
Do you want to clarify anything?
D: We are always asked the question. Then we clarify it and someone writes their own opinion anyway, so there's no point. It never dies down.
Does that upset you?
R: In my first year I wasn't used to it. I used to get upset for days. It got better as time went on. Now they can write about whatever they want. I don't burn my blood over it.
Isn't all publicity good publicity?
D: I don't believe that. It helps the film, but we're not making it up. People choose to speculate and we deny it, but people choose to believe what they will.
Would you ever come out and just tell everyone exactly how the land lies?
D: There is a time and place for everything. I feel like it gets too intrusive. When I was open about it in the past, it wasn't nice. Sometimes you need to accept when two people are in a relationship and let that be. That's not the nature of the business, everyone always wants to know 'what next?' but I feel that is detrimental to relationships.
(c)2013 the Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Visit the Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates) at www.khaleejtimes.com
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