Padmaavat may have released with lots of fuss about the allegedly offensive portrayal of Rani Padmavati, but it's Ranveer Singh's scene-stealing performance as Alauddin Khilji that everyone's talking about right now.
Despite concerns that his character wasn't true to historical record, and that Khilji was portrayed to be a one-tone villain, Singh says he's glad this role was a gamble that's paid off.
In an interview with Indian Express, he said, "(People) said it was too big a risk to play a villain, a negative shade at this point in my career. In our country, if they love the character, they love the actor and the opposite could happen. But I am very happy that I put my faith in the evolution of the audience that they will be able to recognise my performance and recognise that I am an actor, who chooses to do things a bit differently."
So how did he get under the skin of this out-and-out villain?
"I took 21 days and locked myself up in my Goregaon house... I kind of isolated myself, marinated into the character because I can’t relate to Alaudin Khilji, I can’t relate to that level of manipulativeness, greed and ambition. I had to tap into dark experiences but his world view is not something I can relate to also.
"I kept working on my physique, my voice and the gait. I built a sort of foundation that I took with myself to the set and once I was on set, I allowed Bhansali to free flow with my character. I just gave him the foundation."
Singh gives his director Sanjay Leela Bhansali full credit for bringing out his character's impact:
"He just knew what he wanted to do with Alaudin Khilji and was having so much fun doing it. I am really happy that our chemistry as actor-director has gotten better... Overtime a director finds his/her muse and they go on to create a vast legacy together. I believe that about Bhansali and myself."
Speaking about the physical challenges he faced in the film, Singh shared, "There was a time, like during those action sequences with Shahid and during “Khali Bali” dance scene, I would sometimes not be able to feel my legs. After the cut would be called, I would vomit. I remember shooting those running sequences in the jauhar scene. It was May. In Filmcity, it was 45-degree heat and I was wearing a 12-kilogram leather and prosthetic armour and there were burning tyres everywhere. So, after the cut was called, my whole vision would become hazy and I would collapse. Then I would have to be resuscitated and given some water to go into the next take. I used to vomit my guts out and go for the next take."
No surprises that the experience of shooting Padmaavat was as intense as watching it!