RANJEET: “I’m still a shy man”
Arguable Bollywood’s biggest badmaash baddy, Ranjeet’s name figures among the most-notorious gunday (villains) of the Hindi film industry. His screen image is that of a ‘rapist’ and despite that says that he has “always been a shy person”.
Marking 50-years of being in the film-industry he says: “Despite the image of a villian, I have never been involved in any kind of controversy all these years. I can say that I have lived very gracefully.”
With his signature-style of unbuttoned shirts, hairy chest and huge medallions around his neck, he’s done no less than 500 various roles in films, including some 350 scenes of molestation.
“Work is work for me. I can do any work in the field of acting. Be it films, television or theatre, I am willing to do anything,” says Ranjeet.
He had been selected for the Indian Air Force, and thought his career would lie here, but never intended to go into acting.
He happened to be in Bombay (now Mumbai) once and was attending a party where a producer asked him if he would be interested in films. “I immediately said yes and my film career started,” Ranjeet said, adding that the first role he was offered never saw the light of the day as the film was never made.
Ranjeet, who studied in Delhi’s Hindu College for some time, got into the film industry in 1966-67, playing the role of Rekha’s brother in the movie ‘Saawan Bhado’.
He was given the screen name ‘Ranjeet’ by superstar Sunil Dutt with whom he did ‘Reshma aur Shera’ in 1968. He started doing villainous roles from his third film ‘Sharmelee’ with Shashi Kapoor and Rakhee.
Having successfully created a name for himself in negative (vile and repugnantly perverted, may we add) roles, Ranjeet says that he has learnt to live with his image of a villain and a rapist.
“My family, which was very orthodox, threw me out of the house when they learnt that I had raped the heroine in the film (Sharmelee).
“For some time, I had to stop signing films. I had to convince the family that I was only acting,” Ranjeet recalled.
“I am still a very shy person. I am a vegetarian and hardly drink,” he said.
After almost five decades in Bollywood, actor-villain Ranjeet says that he was always a self-made man. “I am completing 50 years in the film industry, I have lived life on my own terms, I never had a godfather,” says Ranjeet.
“The Indian film audience still waits for the thrill of the entry of the villain. However, now the lines have changed. A lot of heroes are also doing anti-hero and negative characters,” he said.
Ranjeet feels that the days of the iconic’ villains – the likes of K.N. Singh, Pran, Prem Chopra, Amjad Khan, Gulshan Grover, Amrish Puri and Shakti Kapoor are well and truly over.