He conceded that he was there to help promote and market his much-anticipated Bollywood film Besharam, but Ranbir Kapoor, in New York for activities in support of the Oct. 2 international release, wasn’t entirely comfortable.
“I believe I’m an actor, and should not sell,” said Kapoor following a Besharam press conference Monday at the Indian Consulate. “But that’s the nature of the job now: Film is an expensive medium, and the studios want you to reach an audience. It’s important to market and promote so people are aware--so there’s added pressure to enjoy your job as an actor--and then sell the film.”
Some of Kapoor’s reluctance to “sell” his films may have to do with his shyness.
“I’ve always been a very shy person,” he said softly but intently, then carried this temperament into defining his new film’s title.
“Besharam means ‘shameless,’ he said, “but it’s usually used to mean a negative attribute. But we’re trying to show it as a positive. It’s not embarrassing people, but being shameless in your heart--not listening to society’s dos and don’ts, but following your heart and doing what you think is right. Being patient with your heart. That’s the attitude of my character.”
As for Kapoor’s attitude in real life, he shies away from the “superstar” attribute that has been quickly cast his way.
“I endorse what my father said at the press conference,” said Kapoor, who was joined at the Indian Consulate by his fellow Besharam stars—and parents—Rishi and Neetu Kapoor. “For me and a new generation of actors, being a good actor is the new superstar. We’re always on the news, promoting movies. But ‘superstar’ is a word that is highly overused these days. Speaking for myself, I don’t think I’ve achieved the superstar status yet: ‘Superstar’ generally means being there a long time, contributing to society and country. Yes, hopefully I’ll get there!”
He’s well on his way, of course, and already has two more films ready to go.
“Bombay Velvet is a ‘50s, ‘60s Mumbai crime drama along the lines of Scarface,” said Kapoor. “Jagga Jasoos, is a children’s detective film—and my first as producer, which is really exciting. But I’m sensitive now to what opportunities I get: In six years I have 10 movies [Besharam is his 11th], and I’m more interested in the field of acting and what it adds to my life. I have more passion and more enthusiasm to get to do what I love and not take it for granted, and I think I've just found a joy in acting and filmmaking. I also harbor the ambition for directing, but I’m not experienced enough yet.”
Kapoor attended the School of Visual Arts in New York for three years, and the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute here for another year.
“I absolutely enjoyed New York and my experience living in a city like New York,” he said. “Meeting people and getting exposure to different cultures shaped up my formative years. I come from a certain family and was always shielded and protected, so living here alone for four years liberated me and instilled a lot of confidence.”
Still, Kapoor noted that the early celebration of Diwali (the seasonal Hindu "festival of lights") with his family at Times Square Sunday night was “so surreal.”
“All my life I’ve come to New York and walked the streets of Times Square completely anonymously,” he said, “and now 30,000 people are screaming my name! It was a surreal moment.”
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