It’s six in the morning and we are due for a photo shoot for our special Republic Day edition with Ranveer Singh. He has not only reached on time but is also overwhelmed with the appreciation that he is garnering for Padmaavat. Despite being sleep-deprived, he is brimming with energy.

While we are busy with the set-up, our man of the moment asks his assistant to get his prized possession. And voila! The boombox arrives. Over the next few minutes, Ranveer poses for us enthusiastically, with Chak De India and Vande Mataram playing in the background. Later, the actor tells us about the changing definition of patriotism and why donning a uniform on screen has been his biggest dream.

Excerpts of an Interview with KhabarLive.

What’s your fondest memory of Republic Day? Was it a ritual to watch the flag-hoisting ceremony?
During my school days, I remember waking up early to attend the flag-hoisting ceremony. I would sing the national anthem while seeing the tricolour unfurling. I felt proud. I still get that feeling every time I render it.

Do you think young India understands the meaning of patriotism, republic and freedom? Given that they are future leaders in their respective fields, what is your advice to them?
We are an extremely patriotic country! As an actor, I have the privilege to meet so many youngsters and I see how much they want to do for our country. To me that’s patriotism. They want to serve the nation better and make India the best country in the world. We, young Indians, are as rooted and in awe of their country’s unique historical legacy as previous generations. I learn from my fellow brothers and sisters every single day. I love that we, as a nation, are so self-aware about our strengths, identity, and how hard we are working every single day to protect, treasure and grow our country’s legacy. My advice to them is — be proud, work hard, stay humble and do your bit to make the world a better place.

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What is it that makes you proud as an Indian and what, according to you, sets apart our country from others?
We are an emotional country and I feel that’s our biggest strength. Being emotional and expressive is much better than being cold, isolated and not caring enough. We are a warm country and I love that about us. Our unity in diversity is also our strength. Multiple cultures and religions co-exist together and make India a beautiful place.

Our technological advances have shown that the sky is not the limit for us. We are no longer dependent on anyone for anything. We are in a unique position as we are perhaps the youngest nation in the world. We have the maximum potential to affect global change in a positive way.

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Republic also means having a sense of equality. What’s your take on that?
Our Constitution gives us the fundamental rights which all of us should exercise on a daily basis. One of them is Right to Equality and I strongly believe that equality leads to mutual respect and that’s what makes all the difference within communities, race, gender, and religion.

Is there any cause that you are really attached to, which you would like to take up and work on in future for the country?
I find the right to education an inspiring and progressive thought. I would like to commit time and resources to this cause, and work with the right organisations to bring access to education to more children. Kids are our future and education for all will make the nation’s future brighter.

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There are a lot of soldiers at the border, guarding the country’s security. What will be your message to them?
I salute their bravery and immense sacrifice. What they do for us can’t be given enough recognition. Thank you for keeping us safe and making us feel so protected. Rather than giving them a message, I would like to give their valour and courage a personal salute. They are the real-life heroes everyone should take inspiration from.

We have never seen you in an army uniform on screen…
To be honest, it’s my dream role. I’m waiting for someone to offer me an inspiring story that makes me emotional. I will do that film right away. It will be my tribute to the men in uniform who stare down enemies and death every single day. It will be an honour for me. #KhabarLive

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A senior journalist having 25 years of experience in national and international publications and media houses across the globe in various positions. A multi-lingual personality with desk multi-tasking skills. He belongs to Hyderabad in India. Ahssanuddin's work is driven by his desire to create clarity, connection, and a shared sense of purpose through the power of the written word. His background as an writer informs his approach to writing. Years of analyzing text and building news means that adapting to a reporting voice, tone, and unique needs comes as second nature.