Ranveer Singh is on a high. His ad film Ranveer Ching Returns directed by Rohit Shetty has garnered millions of views on various social media platforms. Together it has reached an audience of over 100-crore. His popularity on social media matches that of King Khan, so he is worthy of the Singh is King title. Box office, wise when SRK and Singh clashed last year, Bajirao Mastani came out on top of Dilwale. And what could be a bigger high for Singh than in his next outing, he had the Dilwale director at the helm.
Sitting behind his large desk at his Andheri office, Rohit talks about his actor and the possibility of a sequel of Ching Returns.
Do you know what numbers the ad has crossed on social media?
I never thought that the ad would become so big! So, it's crossed 100-crore here also (laughs)? I think it was because a new format - a five-minute ad - that it became so popular. It happens a lot abroad... Actually they do it more with car products. Big directors come in, so this five-minute concept or film is always there. Ching wanted to create the same and they wanted something larger-than-life...
Everything that you do these days, is larger-than-life
(Laughs) It was just an experiment as they wanted something like a Mad Max or Maze Runner so we were like fine, let's try it on CG and work on it. We worked on it for two-and-a-half-months and it came out well. We now know that in India you can pull it off.
Will you do more ads?
Yes, this was my first ad. I have done the Bigg Boss series with Salman Khan as well, though. If the concept excites me and I can add to it, then I will direct an ad again, why not?
Ranveer is quirky, madcap, eccentric. You are not. How did you two gel?
YRF's Ashish Patil came to me to direct this ad and they asked me to handle the production side. The script came to me after that and we made some changes.
Ranveer and I met to discuss the concept. We had met earlier a number of times. He was very excited about doing this ad. The most important thing is that Ranveer is a very sweet, down-to-earth and nice guy. Everybody knows by now, that whatever he is doing is not to create a perception. He is not artificial. That's the way he is - a harmless guy who speaks from his heart so immediately we gelled.
Off screen, you both share a certain camaraderie, too...
All the young boys of today have that trait. I don't know, maybe I am becoming old (laughs). Today, Ranveer's a star, but he doesn't carry that aura or attitude on the sets with him. I believe that he doesn't know how big he is. The first time he had come to my office was when I was making Singham. That Ranveer Singh and today's Ranveer Singh has not changed a bit. He is the way he was. The boys of today now work round the clock, like how the way the big stars like Ajay (Devgn), Salman (Khan), Akshay (Kumar), Shah Rukh (Khan) used to work. You can see a younger version of them, hard- working and dedicated to their craft and that is why you will see them reach where the superstars of today are - with that attitude.
Any plans to direct Ranveer for a film?
I would love to direct him in a film. We are working on a few things, but haven't finalised anything as yet. I want to do an out-and-out action film with Ranveer because I think, out of the younger lot, he's one actor who can play a cop or an underworld guy or like in Bajirao Mastani, the father of an eight-year-old son. Out of the whole young lot, he's the only guy who can pull off all these characters, which few people can understand. He has that versatility, body and structure. He is that one boy out of the younger lot who can pull off any role. Ranveer has that kind of talent to do it all.
That's a huge compliment!
You can't pin any tag on Ranveer. He can do action as well as comedy or play a loverboy or do a Dil Dhadakne Do or an OTT commercial, masala Rohit Shetty film or a Sanjay Leela Bhansali film. Ranveer fits any character.
Ranveer is the superstar of the next generation and the biggest reason is his connection with the audience. He has a connect with the masses - the way he behaves, puts himself out, the way he interacts with people, comes and dances - that makes the masses think that he's one of us. A guy from the chawl can think Ranveer is his hero and a girl from Peddar Road can also think he's her hero. That makes a superstar. Shah Rukh and Salman have that quality. And Ranveer has that. When we had the ad shown at Chandan there were over 500 people and he met each one of them. They would have carried him home and told another 10 people about it so 5 lakh people would know that Ranveer sab ke saath aisa dance kiya. And he's genuine.
When's the second ad coming?
If the second ad happens, it will only happen after a year or so. We made 30-second ads for TV, which aren't out yet. This was a new concept and it clicked in a very big way. We shot the ad in just three days; and one day, we shot round the clock. We did the action in the morning and shot the song from evening to morning and then after two hours, we again started working. And let me tell you, at no point, was Ranveer's energy level going down. On the contrary it was increasing (laughs), especially at night. My team and I are very energetic too, so he was fitting in well. We had a few references but exactly how it would shape up nobody knew.