15 years have passed since Ranbir Kapoor made his screen debut in 2007’s Sawaariya. Kapoor made sure that everyone turned to look closer as he danced to Jab Se Tere Naina, even though the Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie did not find many fans. His greatest assets were his easygoing on-screen persona and chocolate boy persona, on which Kapoor built a strong reputation as a leading hero in the mainstream Hindi film industry. After 15 years and 30 roles, Kapoor is now recognized as the best actor of his generation.
Ranbir Kapoor has consistently defied expectations when selecting film roles over the past 14 years or so. He has tried out different characters, refusing to be typecast, and nailed it each time. From the stereotypical lovelorn hero to a manchild with delayed emotional development, Kapoor has always acted with unmistakable sincerity.
As the actor completes 15 years in the business, we look back on some of his standout performances.
Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year
Shimit Amin’s film, which today’s corporate circles find objectionable because of employees who “moonlight” (hold down two jobs simultaneously), is still regarded as a cult classic despite its lacklustre performance at the box office in its heyday. While working for a major corporate computer assembly and service company called AYS, sales executive Harpreet Singh Bedi decides to launch his own company, Rocket Sales Corporation. Ranbir was convincing as this sales executive.
This romantic comedy-drama from 2012 was unique among films produced in Bollywood. It was soothing to the soul and a treat for the eyes. This Chaplin-inspired film, directed by Anurag Basu, was both a heartbreaking drama and a rib-tickling comedy. It caused a few chuckles while also causing heartstrings to be pulled. A distinguished cast, including Priyanka Chopra, Ileana D’Cruz, and Saurabh Shukla, supported the movie.
But Kapoor unquestionably served as the movie’s heart. Despite the fact that Kapoor’s character Murphy “Barfi” Johnson was deaf and mute, his sensitive and nuanced performance prevented it from being caricatured. He gave the part charm and pathos. Barfi, played by Kapoor, was a mischievous, restless, but ultimately likable boy-next-door type who also happened to be deaf and mute. Instead of pleading for a shred of sympathy from the audience, Barfi invited them to laugh and cry alongside him.
This movie took the audience on an emotional rollercoaster and featured one of Ranbir’s best performances to date. Imtiaz Ali’s romantic drama examined the ascent and fall of aspiring rockstar Janardhan Jakhar, also known as Jordan. He perfectly captured Jordan’s transformation from a bumbling, silly, and fun-loving kid to a melancholy and self-destructive rockstar. In “Rockstar,” he was equally electrifying and devastating.
This Sanjay Dutt biopic, directed by Rajkumar Hirani, achieved a number of firsts. It was not only the highest-earning movie of his career to date, but it also had the best box office performance of 2018 and was the second-highest-earning Hindi movie in India ever. The movie received harsh criticism from critics for trying to redeem Dutt’s reputation by showing the troubled star in a more sympathetic light. However, Ranbir received praise for his work.
He was able to mimic Sanju baba’s mannerisms without actually doing it. Kapoor’s precise expression and gestures perfectly captured each Dutt persona, including the poor-little-rich boy, the haughty and self-absorbed matinee idol, the suave yet sleazy playboy who claimed to have had illicit relationships with a number of women, the helpless man engaged in a one-man war against the media, and the washed-out star attempting to claw his way back to stardom.
When it was first released, this Imtiaz Ali movie did not blow up at the box office. Nevertheless, it continues to be a cult classic with a devoted following due to its rather realistic portrayal of millennial youth who constantly struggle between following their passion and toiling away in a 9–to–5 job. In the role of Ved, a corporate executive who toils away at the office while harboring aspirations of becoming a full-time actor, Kapoor was incredibly convincing.
Wake Up Sid
This movie assisted Kapoor in shattering his “chocolate boy-hero” stereotype. The film also helped Kapoor find his specialty: “coming-of-age” movies. It also signalled the beginning of his partnership with Ayan Mukerji (the two would later work together to create the incredibly entertaining films “Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani” and “Brahmastra,” Bollywood’s answer to the Marvel series). As Sid, a slacker and carefree young man who eventually learns to be responsible, Kapoor was endearing. Aisha, the movie’s relatable female protagonist, was superbly portrayed by Konkona Sen Sharma, and she had a satisfying character arc that emphasized her uniqueness.
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