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Ranbir Kapoor: Superman of Indian Cinema

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Posted: 22 June 2013 at 2:01am | IP Logged
Besides India Today, Ranbir was also the cover story of Times Crest.

Yes, he Khan

Avijit Ghosh | June 22, 2013


Midway into the movie, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (YJHD), there is a scene where Ranbir and Deepika set out to climb a haunted hill on a full moon night. There in the snowy quiet over a bottle of shared local brew, they strike a connection and he bares his heart: "Main udna chahta hoon. Main daudna chahta hoon. Girna bhi chahta hoon. Bus rukna nahi chahta (I want to fly. I want to run. I want to fall or fail too. What I don't want is to stop. )". 

Those who've closely followed the arc of Ranbir Kapoor's career say that pretty much describes the man. His box-office fortunes have been soaring too, shattering quite a few records. 

Bollywood trade website koimoi. com shows that YJHD (Rs 176 crore and counting) is already one of the top three grossing Hindi films across India, after 3 Idiots (Rs 202 crore) and Ek Tha Tiger (Rs 198 crore). 
YJHD took just seven days to reach the coveted Rs 100-cr mark, just a day more than Salman Khan's record-holding Ek Tha Tiger, says koimoi. com. 3 Idiots took nine days. 

The masala romcom has become the first non-Khan film to enter the list of Top 10 Bollywood hits abroad. 

What YJHD, the biggest hit of 2013 yet, has added to Ranbir's resume is: a solo blockbuster, both home and abroad. No surprise, Komal Nahta of Film Information, a trade magazine, feels YJHD was a big step in his career. "The film is a pan-India success both in multiplexes and single screens. The collection is remarkable because there was no national holiday or festival in between." 

Vishal Anand, operations head of the multiplex chain Fun Cinema says audiences, especially the ladies, love him. "You can actually call RK the new 'Superman' of Indian cinema. His young, energetic and flirtatiously cool looks make him popular across age brackets. " 

In YJHD, Ranbir brings an indefinable star quality to the part, something inescapably evident in his rakish tapori dance act with the ageing-and-willing Madhuri Dixit. No surprise, much like the Axe Body spray he endorses these days, for many young and old females, he is a hotline to heaven. 

For Rishi Kapoor's son (and Raj Kapoor's grandson), the khandaan casts a rather long shadow. But the 30-year-old star doesn't seem weighed down by lineage;he even referenced uncle Shammi's iconic song, 'Yeh Chand Sa Roshan Chehra' in Rockstar. In his TV interviews, Ranbir has often displayed un-starlike candour. For instance, the actor has admitted to experimenting with drugs during his New York days. "I have tried it. . . but I am not endorsing it. It is important for me to be honest, " he told a news channel sometime back. 

That's why Anurag Basu, who directed him in Barfi! and is now partnering with him in a film company, Picture Shuru productions, says, "He typifies the new cool among the young: effortless, carefree and intelligent. People find it easy to relate to him. " Adds social scientist Shiv Visvanathan, "He is a representative and keeper of the Kapoor legacy. So he is old reinvented as new and new reinventing itself further. Ranbir is the only young actor who has both intelligence and mystique." 

Much like Mount Everest these days, Bollywood's box-office summit is a crowded place. Apart from the three Khans, Salman, Aamir and Shah Rukh, Hrithik Roshan too is back in the reckoning after two consecutive winners, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Agneepath. And there is no evidence that any of the four is vacating space. But clearly in the past two years, Ranbir has wrenched out more space for himself in this league of extraordinary gentlemen. As for actors from his own generation, nobody even comes close to Ranbir. That he shares great onscreen chemistry with most female co-stars - Katrina Kaif (Ajab Prem. . . ), Priyanka Chopra (Anjaana Anjaani), Ileana D'Cruz (Barfi!) or Deepika Padukone (YJHD) - and has shown a knack for sensitive romantic scenes, has only helped his cause. 

The actor has done it on his own terms. YJHD director Ayan Mukerji says that Ranbir follows his instinct while choosing scripts. Mukerji remembers being very anxious when he went to Ranbir's house with the script of his debut film, Wake Up Sid (2009). The actor heard him narrate the story for two and half hours without uttering a word. "For that entire time, it was just my voice booming in the dining room. At the end of it, he just said, 'I love it and I will do it'. He's really unafraid to be who he wants to be, " he says. 

The method seems to have worked so far. Unlike Aamir Khan, there's no hideous Tum Mere Ho in Ranbir's filmography yet. Yet he has been far more experimental than any major star at such an early stage of his career. That includes stripping rather strategically in his debut film, Saawariya (2007), playing a sardar (Rocket Singh) or a deaf-mute (Barfi!). "With Barfi!, he had already shown that no role is too difficult for him and no project too risky, " says Nahta. As Visvanathan astutely observes, Ranbir opts for "the alternative within mainstream". 

Ranbir is not without flaws. Critics say there is a similarity in the way he plays most of his characters. There is no pronounced difference in the way he interprets the commitment-phobic philander in Bachna Ae Haseeno, the slacker in Wake Up Sid, the ethical salesman in Rocket Singh and the individualist in YJHD - all boys who end up as men by the last reel;the trajectory of their transformation being the film's narrative and emotional core. In Rockstar too, while he brings out the rage and angst of JJ, another boy-man, his Haryanvi accent keeps slipping like his towel. 

But as Mukerji says, Ranbir generally manages to be better than the movie he acts in. "Irrespective of the director, he brings something to the table which is his very own, " says Mukerji. Which is why even in a flop (Saawariya), zany commercial venture (Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani) or regular romcom (Anjaana Anjaani), he emerged unscathed. 

There is always something nuanced about his performance. For all his raffish charm and showboating dance moves in YJHD, the protagnoist Bunny (played by Ranbir) has several shades of grey. He hates his step-mother (and the Rooh Afza she makes), forgets about his best friends when he gets the job of his dreams, spurns true love and even misses his father's funeral. That by the end of the movie, he manages to make Bunny one of us, or at least something many of us imagine ourselves to be, is a compliment to Ranbir. 

Basu says Ranbir is more an instinctive actor than someone who prepares in detail for a role. "Anybody who saw Barfi! would think that he went to a workshop. But he didn't, " says Basu. Mukerji says his acting homework is a process. "He spends a lot of time with the director. He has a nice, relaxed style of getting an insight into the director and the project, " says Mukerji. 

Directors also see him as a team player, someone who understands and takes interest in the entire project. Basu narrates a story during the shooting of Barfi! to illustrate the point. "We were shooting in Pollachi taluk in Tamil Nadu. The nearest town with a five-star hotel was Coimbatore which was roughly 40 km away. We booked the entire unit into a small hotel in Pollachi. For Ranbir and Priyanka, we reserved rooms in Coimbatore. The day he landed, Ranbir asked and found out that the unit was staying near the location. He immediately shifted to Pollachi. " 


THE KAPOOR CLAN

Gene Cool

Lata Khubchandani | June 22, 2013


Given his family legacy, comparisons were bound to be made. Yet members of the illustrious Kapoor clan believe that Ranbir's success lies in the fact that he's such an original. "He's not 'like' anyone else in the family and that's his great asset," says uncle Rajeev 'Chimpu' Kapoor. "I'd say he is the finest actor in the Kapoor clan."

A fine actor in the finest phase of his career, with Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani catapulting him to the big boys club. However, Rajeev dismisses talk of his nephew joining the Rs 100-crore club and being on par with the Khans. "These are comparisons that one can do without. The Khans are senior to him and their success is their own. Ranbir has a long way to go," says Rajeev. With age on his side, Rajeev believes Ranbir is taking his career forward with care, choosing the right films and directors to work with. "Records are meant to be broken, and if he is breaking them, it is to his credit. But Ranbir is only at the threshold of his career," Rajeev says, conceding that genes do count. "Acting runs in his blood, it's not as if he is from outside. But he is level-headed and that again is credit worthy."

Being grounded is a quality that his parents give him full marks for. "He takes success in his stride," mother Neetu had said in an earlier interview. Calling him a "film encyclopaedia", she recalls being certain that Ranbir would embark on a career in the movies. "He has always been a film freak, whether it is Hollywood or Bollywood films," she said at the time of his debut. "I knew he'd do something in films but what that would be was not clear. Now I am happy for him." Today she's ecstatic about how well-received he is. "He has a quality that endears him to everyone," she said, adding, "As a mother, I can see that but I'm surprised when others come up and tell me they can feel it too." Ranbir's father, Rishi Kapoor marvels his son's choice of diverse roles, and his decision to go against the tide. In a magazine interview after the release of Rockstar (2011), Rishi said, "He has shocked everybody with his choices of roles and becoming successful in that. And I'm so proud of him." Rishi admits he was among those most surprised by his son's winning streak with films like Rocket Singh, Wake Up Sid (both 2009) and Rajneeti (2010). "I didn't think that the films would do so well. I also had people coming and telling me that he should do more young mushy romances," Rishi said.

When it comes to his choice of roles, Ranbir says he has always gone with his heart. "I don't have any preconceived notions that I want to do this kind of film or that kind of film. So if I like a script and I like the character, and I like the director's vibe, I say yes," he said in an earlier interview. Acting is his "only calling" and his reason to get out of bed in the morning ' otherwise he'd be happy to sleep in till 6 pm. But he works hard for his success.

"I don't believe that if you are the child of actors you will automatically be a good actor," he has said. "You have to work hard." He believes working on your physique or learning to dance are just the superficial aspects of the craft. "Some things can be learnt but some can't," he said, adding, "That understanding, you have to find within yourself."

Family folklore indicates that Ranbir found that clarity very early on. Rajeev remembers that when they were shooting for Aa Ab Laut Chalen (1999) Ranbir, then just a boy on the sets, was turning all the knobs and handles he could find in the hotel, and accidentally set off the fire alarm. "When he realised what he had done, he pretended to rush out like everyone else and then hid so that no one would hold him responsible," Rajeev says, with a laugh. Grandfather Raj Kapoor doted on Ranbir, who he nicknamed 'Gonglu'. After Rishi and Neetu moved out of the family home in Chembur, Ranbir and sister Riddhima would visit their grandparents whenever they had a day off. At home, when Neetu would scold Ranbir, he would promptly ring his grandfather to complain, and he in turn would reprimand Neetu for scolding the boy.

His grandfather may not have been able to see Ranbir make his cinematic debut, but granduncle Shammi was amazed to see the powerhouse performer Ranbir had grown up to become. "As a kid, he'd come up to me and whisper something in my ear, if we were sitting in a group. I could never figure out what he was saying, but he evidently enjoyed the secret! I later realised he was singing my songs to me," the late Kapoor said in an earlier interview, where he was also all praise for Ranbir's dance moves. "People ask me whether he dances like me. I'd say he dances very well, if not precisely like me. He's very flexible," he said. After watching Rockstar, grandmother Krishna Raj Kapoor gave Ranbir an ancestral gold coin that father-in-law Prithviraj Kapoor had given her on her wedding day. Prithviraj Kapoor had won the coin at a drama competition in Peshawar in British India and Rishi recalls it being a family heirloom his mother had once intended to gift him. "She waited, and now Ranbir has got it. My mom's words while giving the coin were, 'This rightfully belongs to you. You have to take the family name forward. You have to be a good actor and keep working well'," Rishi has said in a magazine interview.

His family applauds his acting chops, but more importantly, congratulates him on being such a good person. "He was very sweet as a kid, a little introverted but with his head on his shoulders," says Rajeev. Though they don't meet as often today, owing to Ranbir's busy schedule, he makes his parents proud, Rajeev says. "He treats us with respect and that's a very nice feeling. He's a good boy and a very fine actor."



DARLING OF ADVERTISERS

Ranbir Kapoor, salesman of the year

Dipti Jain | June 22, 2013


By constantly reinventing himself in his films, Ranbir has stayed the darling of advertisers. Bollywood's 'Virat Kohli' is now way ahead of his contemporaries, and even his seniors.


At 26, despite the debut flop Saawariya, Ranbir Kapoor was already a darling of the corporate world. PepsiCo was the first to grab him, followed by Japanese major Panasonic. Soon, a battery of global brands queued up to sign him as brand ambassador. 
Five years and 10 major roles later, Ranbir continues to charm filmmakers and advertisers alike. Besides a series of films lined up for 2014 with popular banners, his unique youth appeal has also attracted a bunch of corporates, ensuring him an enviable ad space. 

As per data collected for TOI-Crest by TAM Media Research, Ranbir's advertisement volumes have shot up by over 64 per cent between January and March this year as compared to the same duration last year. Among the youngest actors around, his endorsements put him at number 2, trailing only Aamir Khan. According to industry experts, Ranbir's annual endorsement fee per brand stands anywhere between Rs 6 crore and Rs 8 crore. With two of his latest films, Barfi! and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani joining the Rs 100-crore club, advertisers call him 'the Virat Kohli of Bollywood'. 

Besides endorsements, Ranbir already commands over Rs 15 crore per film with an added percentage share of the profits made, as per industry estimates. Add another approximate Rs 1 crore for making appearances. 

Anirban Das Blah, managing partner at entertainment marketing and management company CAA Kwan, says Ranbir ensures a consumer reach as good as that offered by Shah Rukh or Salman Khan. "He is committed to his brands and figures among the top five actors today. He has completed a journey of 15 years in just five years, "adds Blah. 

The actor is currently the ambassador for eight leading global companies including Lenovo, Panasonic, Hero Moto Corp, Blackberry, PepsiCo among others. Another major food chain is set to join this league within the next few weeks. 

Compared to actors who stepped into the industry around the same time as him, Ranbir's endorsement charges are 50 per cent higher, experts say. "Others in the 29-32 age bracket like Shahid Kapoor or Imran Khan currently endorse only three or four brands," says Neerav Tomar, CEO of IOS Sports and Entertainment. But Ranbir has taken a lead over senior actors in the industry too According to market estimates, Kapoor's endorsement portfolio far exceeds those of experienced actors such as Ajay Devgn and Hrithik Roshan. 

With every new film - and Ranbir is constantly reinventing himself in his films - his brand image is growing. This is attracting diversified brands. "Initially, only brands catering to urban consumers or youth were interested in him. Now we notice that brands for all age groups and consumers want him, " Blah adds. 

Brand consultant Harish Bijoor agrees. "For an actor, the ultimate accolade comes from endorsements. The purpose is not money, but to remain ubiquitous. Since his first movie till date, Ranbir has been in a constant stage of reinvention, which helps keep brands involved, " he says.



ARE SOME ACTORS INSECURE

And the contenders are...

June 22, 2013


Ranbir Kapoor's recent unerring blockbuster instinct is most unsettling for the current generation of superstars (all of whom are 40+ ) ' the Khan trio, Akshay Kumar and Ajay Devgn. "I am not insecure", "There is enough room at the top for everyone" and "I am my own competition" are film industry homilies that they should now be practising in front of a mirror. But Ranbir Kapoor's real competition comes from a slew of actors closer to his age. Kalpana Nair takes a look at who amongst the new order comes closest to putting up a fight...

 

Ranveer Singh 

Onscreen | With his first film receding from public memory, and the second one (Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl) underperforming, Ranveer Singh has something to prove with Vikramaditya Motwane's period love story Lootera. That he is not a flash-in-the-pan. Playing a man of few words, against his natural personality type this could be the role that shows us a new side to the actor that is far removed from Bittoo and bread pakoras.

Next up is Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Ram Leela where he plays Romeo and which should take him to heartthrob territory and the Yash Raj Films bannered Gunday where he is one half of a duo of petty thieves. Ranveer possesses a natural conviction for playing rougher and earthier characters which Ranbir would find hard to pull off making him his closest rival.

 

Offscreen | Prone to being brash with an infectious enthusiasm as opposed to Ranbir who comes off as an ultra-meditative and chilled out young monk. But like Ranbir, Ranveer is a hit with the ladies and (reportedly) very good at charming their pants off and being in the news. Without industry connections, Ranveer also has the 'self-made outsider tag' working for him.

 

Imran Khan

Onscreen | He made his debut within months of Ranbir with JaaneTu'YaJaane Na. Saawariya was a disaster at the box-office and for a while their rivalry was neck-to-neck.  However with time, the impression has faded a little. With the exception of Delhi Belly and maybe Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, Imran's choice of films have been either safe (I Hate Luv Storys) or bad (recently with Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola). Is attempting to shake off his 'romantic hero' tag with Once Upon a Time in Mumbai 2 next.

 

Offscreen | Has considerable metrosexuality street cred and displays a sense of individuality in fashion that is absent in his acting. Is refreshingly articulate and forward thinking and has come out in support of a roster of youth issues. Also happily married with zero instances of tabloid dirt making any appearance on his resume.

 

Nawazuddin Siddiqui

Onscreen | Critics have run out adjectives to describe Siddiqui's flood of roles in the last year. There is no parallel acting talent in sight and Ranbir Kapoor's favourite performance last year was Siddiqui's Faisal Khan in Gangs of Wasseypur 1 & 2. But so far he's been sticking to alternative cinema or minor roles in mainstream films. His attempt at a more accessible Aatma, did not work. Siddiqui may not be a direct replacement for Ranbir's slot but his sheer force of onscreen magic makes him very hard to ignore.

 

Offscreen | Is painfully shy and reticent which poses a bit of a hurdle in Bollywood where being media savvy can sometimes unfortunately be a substitute for talent. But he is the real underdog who worked his way up struggling painfully for years which lends his journey a unique poignancy and depth.

 

Emraan Hashmi

Onscreen | Positioned midway between the old gen and new gen is Emraan Hashmi who suddenly became an interesting actor making interesting choices last year with Shanghai. Balancing his mass appeal with run of the mill roles, (Jannat 2), Hashmi's recent box-office record has been patchy but he has been crossing genres expertly with horror (Ek Thi Daayan) and his next Ghanchakkar, a whacked out comedy. Coming up is an international project with Oscar winner Danis Tanovic and Rensil D'Silva's Ungli.

Offscreen | Is a producer's actor known for punctuality. Happily married and keeps his personal life away from the media glare.

 

 

Shahid Kapoor

Onscreen | Is going through a lengthy rough patch after spending two years making Mausam and attempting a mini comeback of sorts with Rajkumar Santoshi's Phata Poster Nikla Hero and Prabhu Deva's Rambo Rajkumar. But as Kaminey showed, when Shahid is good, he is very good so it's too soon to write him off as competition.

 

Offscreen | Has a long history of throwing tantrums and script interference which may have precipitated the rough patch.

 

Arjun Kapoor

Onscreen | Made a much-acclaimed debut in Habib Faisal's Ishaqzaade playing a hard to love Parma. His next Aurangzeb flopped and Arjun now has Gunday coming up with Ranveer Singh, Two States opposite Alia Bhatt and the Hindi remake of Okkadu. Kapoor has a wicked streak usually running in his characters and is an interesting actor to watch out for. He is working with newer, less-established directors and might also be a long race horse like chacha, Anil Kapoor.

 

Offscreen | Doesn't do a lot of press and is usually in the news for party brawls and link-ups. Like most second gen actors born into priviledge (Kareena Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Sonakshi Sinha, Alia Bhatt) Kapoor was an overweight child who hit the gym when he got serious about being a leading man. It's a narrative that makes him endearing and relatable but he will need to move on if he wants to transition into full blown Bollywood macho adulthood.

 

Sushant Singh Rajput

Onscreen | The role of Ishaan in Kai Po Che is as unconventional as that of Barfi!. Ishaan is not a solo lead, has no love interest and dies in the end. But Rajput, best known as Manav from the TV serial Pavitra Rishta, threw caution to the wind and played it with dedication and screen presence, working his cricket skills till he was totally believable as a burnt out cricketing prodigy. Rajput is the only actor from his peers working with Rajkumar Hirani in P.K. 

 

Offscreen | Comes across as earnest, focussed and in a steady relationship with Ankita Lokhande. Not part of the Ranveer-Ranbir-Arjun bratpack and is seldom seen at parties, which may not be a bad thing in the long run.



Edited by bonnefille - 22 June 2013 at 2:01am

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pari_roxxsweetmadhuriaakanshyaadyluvskatPiyatrixFatima_QTanyazChannaMereya-Swetha-AreYaar

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Posted: 22 June 2013 at 2:36am | IP Logged
^ Nice articles on Ranbir Kapoor Clap
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Posted: 22 June 2013 at 4:08am | IP Logged
Good to see Sushant being mentioned Tongue

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Posted: 22 June 2013 at 4:46am | IP Logged

Sushant Singh Rajput

Onscreen | The role of Ishaan in Kai Po Che is as unconventional as that of Barfi!. Ishaan is not a solo lead, has no love interest and dies in the end. But Rajput, best known as Manav from the TV serial Pavitra Rishta, threw caution to the wind and played it with dedication and screen presence, working his cricket skills till he was totally believable as a burnt out cricketing prodigy. Rajput is the only actor from his peers working with Rajkumar Hirani in P.K. 



@bold what a joke Hahaha his role can never be campared with Ranbir"S Role Barfi Heart Heart 

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Posted: 22 June 2013 at 4:46am | IP Logged
Hmm... Red chaddi bahar.
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Posted: 22 June 2013 at 5:07am | IP Logged
the new superstar in btown - rk
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Posted: 22 June 2013 at 6:10am | IP Logged
He used to whisper shammi kapoors song in his ears haha thats so cute ... And indeed he is the best in the current lot
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i guess Batman...Robin...Spiderman will all follow...ROFL
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