42 Questions with Ranvir Shorey

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42 QUESTIONS WITH RANVIR SHOREY

In this series, we ask people the hard questions about things that matter – how to make good coffee, the best websites for hypochondriacs, and the saddest song ever.

This week we talk to film and theatre actor and ‘ninja-worrier’ Ranvir Shorey, one of the industry’s finest (and most underrated actors). With a prolific career that includes a range of characters from pompous ’70s alpha-male to volatile car-jacker to a tender portrayal of a man stuck in time, he also reveals that he dabbles in the art of the risqué ditty.

WORDS BY THE CITY STORY TEAM

1. How are you? 

Sorry I’m a bit late.

2. What was one thing you learned from selling typewriter daisy wheels on your first job? 

You can, if you try.

3. What’s the oddest job you’ve ever had? 

My current one. It's a life full of unpredictable turns, ups and downs, and a helluva lot of waiting.

4. How many musical instruments can you play? 

About three and a half.

5. Which musical instrument do you want to master next?

I gave up the will to master anything a while ago. I just like to play now.

6. Have you uploaded any of those rude/funny songs you improvise online?

Yes, our masterpiece 'Nangi Manju' is on my YouTube for all to enjoy.

7. Where do you go to just hang out with your friends? 

Their place or mine. Or any place with good food and cheap booze is fine.

8. Whose face is on your punching bag right now? 

Most people who aren’t civil while driving in traffucked Mumbai.

9. What do you do to keep fit?

Swim & yoga is my staple. I throw in a bit of strength training when I can.

10. Free will or destiny?

Free will is overrated.

11. What’s the most cliché Punjabi thing about you? 

Cussing.

12. What physical aspect of you has your son inherited?

Long limbs.

13. Can he speak any Punjabi? 

No, but he speaks some Bengali. It’s his "mother tongue", so it’s as it should be.

14. What’s the last thing that made you cry?

Some silly baby animal video on the internet.

15. What’s the last thing that made you cry with laughter? 

Something Colbert recently did on the Late Show.

16. What’s the best online medical resource for a garden-variety hypochondriac?

WebMD

17. Which is your favourite cuisine?

Asian. Anything East of Mumbai, I love.

18. Which is the best place in Mumbai to eat your favourite food?

There are a few. All I’ll say is that they’re all Asian.

19. What’s been your greatest adventure in the kitchen?

Learning to double cook. It’s amazing what nuanced results one can get by mixing two processes of cooking.

20. What are you learning to cook right now? 

Trying to get double cooked pork right.

21. How do you like your coffee made? Moka-pot, French-press, or Starbucks?

Moka-pot is good. French press would do too.

22. Politics at the dining table – yes or no?

No! Please, no! That would remind me of my family at the dinner table.

23. What’s the weirdest request you’ve ever received from a fan? 

One guy made me talk to his wife and family on the phone. Awkward!

24. What’s the saddest song you’ve ever heard?

Jolene.

25. What’s the best sort of music to get a party going?

Funk, baby! Soul & Funk fur sure.

26. Where do you like to go out to party? 

I’ll go anywhere with good loud music once I git my boogie on.

27. What do you do to detox?

Apart from obviously laying off the toxins, a swim, yoga, and massage do it for me.

28. Which film set/location has been the biggest eye-opener for you? 

Every set/location is a learning experience.

29. Which is most fulfilling – theatre or film or web series? 

Film, done right.

30. Which is your favourite performance space in Mumbai? 

Prithvi Theatre.

31. Tell us a secret but don’t tell us whose it is… 

Welcome to a generation of Bollywood stars that start their careers with hair weaves.

32. If you were a superhero – which one would you be and why? 

The Shadow, because he battles the evil in his own heart.

33. If you were PM tomorrow, three decisions you’d take immediately.

  1. Stricter punitive measures for civil offences like littering, not following traffic rules etc.
  2. Make all industry take an immediate turn to green tech.
  3. Reclaim the Indian State from the wretched grasp of religions.

34. Are you single? 

It’s complicated.

35. What’s a great place for a lo-fi first date now that you’re a grown up?

The beach is always nice. Also, it’s sad there aren’t any drive-in cinemas left.

36. What has been the best present you ever gave anyone? 

Recommended a good yoga teacher to a friend. They still thank me for it.

37. Is there a restaurant you’ve been going to for more than 20 years? 

Janta, in Bandra, is one.

38. Favourite Hollywood director?

Clint Eastwood is one.

39. Favourite Bollywood director? 

Rajkumar Hirani is one.

40. How can people show Ranvir Shorey some love? 

By watching the films in large numbers, preferably in theatres.

41. What is one thing all men should know how to do?

Cook and clean.

42. What is one thing all women should know? 

All men are not assholes. All assholes are not men.

Photograph by Amit Asher (courtesy Ranvir Shorey)