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Bollywood’s yesteryear villain Ranjeet says he was always a ‘shy person’

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Chandigarh: His onscreen maybe that of a ‘rapist’, but yesteryear Bollywood actor Ranjeet, who is best known for being the bad guy of the Hindi film industry, says that he had “always been a shy person”.

After nearly 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 did not have a godfather. Despite the image (of a baddie), I have never been involved in any controversy all these years. I can say that I have lived very gracefully,” Ranjeet told reporters in an interview here.

Having done various roles in over 500 films, in practically every Indian language, Ranjeet says that work for him is paramount.

“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,” he said.

Born in Punjab’s Jandiala Guru town near Amritsar and named Gopal Bedi by his orthodox Sikh family, Ranjeet had never worked to get into films.

“When I was young, I used to play football for at least six hours daily. I used to be the goalkeeper and everyone used to call me ‘Goalie’. That name has remained with me since then. I was selected for the Indian Air Force but had to leave it during training.”

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.

“I have done over 500 films in all languages, except Malayalam and Assamese. But I have seen just about eight or 10 films in these five decades. I had never got any formal training in acting,” he said.

Having successfully created a name for himself in negative 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.

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 over.

“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.

On the lighter side, though, Ranjeet says that roles of regular villains have also shrunk with the size of the clothes of actresses. “It is no longer the same. Things have changed,” he says with a laugh.

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Bollywood’s Foreign Actresses Getting Acting Roles Now

They got typecast as "item girls", but now, they believe things are changing and Bollywood is noticing their acting skills

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Norah Fatehi, Evelyn Sharma and Elli AvrRam, Bollywood, actress
Norah Fatehi, Evelyn Sharma and Elli AvrRam. IANS

They crossed borders with mostly acting on their minds. Instead, they got typecast as “item girls”. Now, they believe things are changing. Bollywood is noticing their acting skills, insist Nora Fatehi, Elli AvRam and Evelyn Sharma.

If it’s about dance and happens to be a recreation, then “Dilbar” girl Nora is your go-to person in Bollywood right now. Nora, who had moved from Canada to India a few years ago to become an actress in Bollywood, has done some intense drama opposite Vicky Kaushal in the music video of singer Arijit Singh’s “Pachtaoge”, an interesting cameo turn in “Batla House”.

“This year the audience gets to slowly see my acting abilities with projects such as ‘Batla House’ and the forthcoming ‘Street Dancer 3D’. I’ve been waiting for such opportunities to come my way as I’ve always wanted to be an actress. With a project like ‘Pachtaoge’, I got to purely showcase my acting skills to another level,” Nora said.

She made her acting debut with “Roar: Tigers If The Sundarbans” in 2014, but the dud show of the film meant her scope as an actress did not get much of an impetus.

Norah Fatehi, Evelyn Sharma and Elli AvrRam, Bollywood, actress
Actor Vicky Kaushal, who appreas in the music video of Arijit Singh’s new non-film single, “Pachtaaogay”, says that, unlike in the video, he has never had any sort of drama in his real-life relationship where he had to suffer. IANS

“Then I started doing whatever came my way. I got the opportunity to feature in hit songs, and I tried to showcase my dancing skills through them. Despite not being a trained dancer, I became a dancing sensation, which I would not have expected 10 years back. I just went with the flow. It was not planned,” Nora had told IANS.

“I am now where I am just because of my dance performances. People paid attention to me because of my dances. I feel my dance performances are helping in growing my brand as an artiste, as a lot of projects – including acting roles – are coming my way. Doors have opened for me,” she added.

Swedish-Greek origin stunner Elli AvrRam, has a similar story. She has had a mix of dance and acting projects. She played the lead actress in “Mickey Virus” and also shared screen space with comedy King Kapil Sharma in “Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon”, but it was her dance numbers in movies like “Fraud Saiyaan” and “Poster Boys” that got her attention. Her “Chamma chamma” dance in “Fraud Saiyaan”, recreating an Urmila Matondkar original from the nineties, was a runaway hit. What’s more, she had a comic little cameo role in the film, too.

“I have to say I’m really grateful to be part of the remake of such a timeless iconic song with stunning and powerful Urmila Matondkar,” she had tweeted.

ALSO READ: “Modern” Families in India, Today Adopting So Called “Old-Style” Habit of Cooking with Desi Ghee

German-Indian actress Evelyn Sharma’s journey in Bollywood has been a bit different. She has also shown her dancing skills, but mostly in music videos of songs including “Anni pa de”. In films, irrespective of their scale, she has mostly done acting. “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani” and most recently the multi-lingual “Saaho”, starring Prabhas, are some of her films that she can boast about.

“‘Saaho’ is my debut film in Tollywood. Telugu was difficult to learn initially but I had so many people to guide me on the sets – like Prabhas and director Sujeeth, so I managed to learn my lines quickly. I have finally learned Hindi now and Telugu is a completely different language. But I’m always up for a good challenge! We had so much fun shooting together with the pan-Indian cast, in three different languages!” Evelyn had said.

In the movie, Evelyn’s character is called Jennifer. “It’s a small but significant role where I will be seen in an action avatar for the first time,” the actress had said, adding: “I couldn’t be happier that I am a part of the biggest action thriller of 2019.”

Other imports include Katrina Kaif and Jacqueline Fernandez, who are more than pretty faces or the “spicy” ingredients in Bollywood films. (IANS)