By now, we’re all aware of how passionate chef Ranveer Brar is about discovering and rediscovering recipes, experiences, and stories. From his days at the gurudwara cooking langar and frying succulent kebabs in the bylanes of Lucknow to being the youngest chef to helm a five-star hotel’s kitchen in India at the mere age of 25 and adding a bunch of interesting TV shows like Himalayas: The Offbeat Adventure—Ranveer has come a long way.
Beyond being people’s favourite chef, his relatable personality, and impeccable interaction skills is a Ranveer who never ceases to learn, a Ranveer who is curious and wants to keep pushing his limits and explore newer avenues.
The latest proof of this is his foray into the world of acting. He is starring alongside actor Pratik Gandhi in Hansal Mehta’s Baai. It is one of the stories in Amazon Prime Video’s newest anthology Modern Love: Mumbai—the Mumbai chapter of the popular US anthology series Modern Love. Baai revolves around the life of a same-sex couple that’s torn between love and fear. Ranveer is one half of the gay couple, the other half being, Pratik.
It came as a surprise for many, however, this time, we couldn’t say, “Ranveer, aapne bataya nahi” because recently, when he appeared as a guest on comedian Kapil Sharma’s comedy TV show, he revealed that he’s set to make his debut as an actor in an upcoming project. He had even mentioned that he will be playing the role of a chef—a role he is a pro at in real life.
Curious to know more deets—what motivated him to take up acting, his experience, and more—we caught up with the actor over a Zoom call.
Read the edited excerpts from the interview here:
1. Why foray into the world of acting, especially right now when you are at the peak of popularity being a celebrity chef?
I am a chef and even if I want, I can’t take that away from myself. What happens is if you want to do something for the rest of your life then that thing must give you the freedom to be whatever you want to be, whenever you want to be. And that’s what I have learned.
The bigger story in my life is with food. When I moved from hotels to restaurants, that relationship allowed me to shift. When I added on the facet of being on TV, judging reality shows, my relationship with food allowed me to do that. And it made me better. I think my relationship with food allows me to express myself in ways beyond food. I don’t think it’s a huge difference or it’s a new step in my life. I look at it as an extension of myself. I feel that your core should allow you to do that and my relationship with food is secure enough to allow me to do that.
2. What or who motivated you to take up acting?
The motivation is in the character itself and you know playing a chef is easy when you’ve been playing it for a while *laughs*. I think what worked in my favour was to have a director who understands food and chefs. With Hansal [Mehta] sir, you know that your profession is going to be represented the right way, considering his love and passion for food. I think that was the first motivation.
Also, because I think that jo 25 saal purani shaadi hai khaane se, uska roopantaran sahi hona chahiye. That was extremely important to me and with Hansal sir in the picture, I got more confident.
3. People often say that the key to a successful recipe/role is in the preparation. Tell us how you prepped for your role in Baai?
I have always believed (and I still do) that good food is intuitive and instinctive. Over preparation can actually ruin a recipe. Khaane mein aapka ehsaas jaana chahiye. If you’re not intuitive and in the moment while cooking, it won’t translate into your dish and then what’s the difference between you and a factory?
I don’t believe in prepping too much. As chefs, I believe, we must be in the moment and let the moment take over and reflect that in our craft. Fortunately, it’s the same thing when you’re playing a character. You need to be in the moment and be able to express it.
The only preparation I did was a 15-minute call with Hansal sir, where he spoke about a few recipes and what he likes to cook. He ended the call with: “maze karenge set pe”.
4. So, it’s all about being intuitive and living in the moment?
That’s how I have lived my life. My mom says: “when you wake up in the morning, you don’t even know what you are going to eat for breakfast, what you’re going to wear, where you have to head. You never know what you’re doing in life" and this is exactly how I want to be. And that’s how we should be as artists who are willing to be sort of channels of expression.
5. Baai is based on the story of a gay couple, and you play one half of that couple. At any point, did you feel like you were taking on a risk or taking on too much for a debut role?
I did. Initially, I sort of told myself, “Bhai, sab theek hai na?”. But the answer I gave myself was that I feel the right sort of curious and uncomfortable.
When I decided to be a chef in 1992 and I told my parents, that this is exactly how I had felt—trying to do something that wasn’t conventional. This feeling not only pushed me towards it and made me feel I was doing the right thing.
When I was offered this role, I felt the same rush all over again. When you’re used to getting comfortable in a role or space, for instance, being a chef for 25 years, and then you feel this rush and uncomfortableness again, then it’s a good sign. At least, that’s how I took it!