Why Ranbir Kapoor May Surprise You

By admin, August 30, 2016

Flashback 2013! At the height of his popularity, legitimised yet again by the success of Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, the Indian news magazine India Today decided to understand the wave of Ranbir Kapoor that had swept Bollywood. Between the powerful superstardom of the Khans and the flamboyance of contemporaries like Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor, Ranbir’s relationship with his success seemed too tempered to be true. So understated was it that mother Neetu Kapoor was quoted by the magazine as saying, “I don’t know what’s wrong with my son. This boy is as relaxed when his film doesn’t do well as he is when it’s a smash hit. I sometimes wonder if I gave birth to ayogi.”

Cut to 2016! Ranbir has had four releases since 2013 — Besharam, Roy, Bombay Velvet and Tamasha — none of which have set the box office on fire. Trade pundits are questioning his bankability and fans are disappointed by his failures. Add to that the humiliation of having to answer questions about his break-up with Katrina Kaif and you will realise why the ‘yogi’ in him has taken a backseat for now. One felt that more acutely in his recent interview with senior film journalist Rajeev Masand where the star meticulously laid bare his reservations about talking about his personal life and how his failures have perhaps given birth to a new person in him. Rather than sounding politically correct, the actor came across as self assured in his failures as he was when success was at his doorstep. What led him to confront his demons? We attempt to understand!

In Bollywood, nothing succeeds like success and nothing fails like failures. Ranbir should know. His first film Saawariya was pitted against Shah Rukh Khan’s Om Shanti Om. Even though Saawariya could not hold ground at the box office, it became a testament to Ranbir’s talent! The debacle of Saawariya was followed by the commercial and critical acclaim of Wake Up Sid, Rocket Singh, Bachna Ae Haseeno, Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahaani, Raajneeti, Rockstar, Barfi and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani.One got a sense that the red carpet to superstardom had already been rolled out for the Kapoor scion. In an ideal world, a confident actor like him should have followed these career highs with more challenging roles in more meaningful films. Instead Ranbir went ahead with half-baked roles in tried-and-tested formulaic films. For an actor who chose to do an unconventionalRocket Singh at the nascent stages of his career, these choices seemed to do a disservice to his talent. Was it hubris? A desire to play by the book? Or pure instinct? Though Ranbir openly accepts his failure, he remains silent on the larger ambition that informed his choices.

His last film Tamasha may have garnered critical acclaim for him, but he knows there is more damage control to be done. “I have to unlearn, I have to go back to being nobody. I have to free myself from the trappings — the star I was meant to be, but I never became,” he told Masand. Introspection is indeed the need of the hour as his next two releases will prove his mettle at the box office. Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil may have a blockbuster written all over it, but sharing the screen space with Ranbir are Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Anushka Sharma and Fawad Khan, stars who have tasted success in their last Bollywood outings. To hold his own and leave a mark will not be as easy for Ranbir as it may seem. On the other hand, Jagga Jaasoos, which has been in the making for two years now, pairs him with ‘ex’ Katrina Kaif. In the time following their break-up, there have been a number of rumours about how the two would make it a point to avoid each other at public gatherings. For Ranbir to forge a chemistry with Katrina as he sets out to promote Jagga Jaasoos will not be as easy. And we are not even going to imagine how it will translate on the big screen! However, with Masand’s interview, Ranbir has set one record straight — he wants the spotlight to be on his talent. “The more you know about my personal life, the less curious you will be about the characters I play on screen.” Even if one were to dismiss this as political correctness, you cannot deny that this distance between his onscreen and offscreen personas has helped the audiences relate to the angst of Jordan (Rockstar) and smirk at the naivete of Sid (Wake Up Sid)! Ranbir, it seems, is a man with a plan and he is not going to deviate from it.

Love in the time of 100 crore blockbusters is not easy. While Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone make the whole idea of being ‘friends’ with your exes seem ‘cool’, it is evident that Ranbir is made of a different emotional fabric. To understand this, let us rewind to one of the juiciest episodes of Koffee With Karan, in which Deepika Padukone had cleverly and humorously taken a dig at Katrina when she said she would like to see the actress’ passport. Rumours were then rife that Ranbir had cheated on Deepika with Kat and that her comment indirectly implied she wanted to know where the actress was on a specific date. Even though father Rishi had lashed out at the actress, Ranbir maintained a stoic silence. In contrast, his break-up with Katrina has been a major talking point because the couple had not only moved in together but Ranbir, it is believed, was increasingly ensuring that Katrina becomes part of the family (remember their pics together at the Kapoors’ Christmas bash?). Having made their relationship partly public, it is but obvious that the actor has been finding it difficult to answer the questions about his break-up. Time and again, he has been put in the confessional, but Ranbir is in no mood to relent. On the contrary, he has become more aggressive about guarding the sanctity of his personal life. This too is evident in the interview where Masand asks him if his silence on the break-up has vilified him. “That’s alright, no one needs to know what’s going on in my mind,” he says unapologetically. Clearly, the saccharin sweetness has been replaced by an understated aggression. This will come in handy when he sets out to promote Jagga Jaasoos with Katrina since it is highly unlikely that the media will spare the two from asking more intrusive questions about their break-up.

Instead of letting his personal life steal the thunder of his talent, Ranbir would rather have you focus on things that offer the glimpse of the man that he is underneath the star. Things like his passion for football or how he chased Natalie Portman as a starry-eyed fan and was asked to ‘Get Lost’. As headline-worthy as these moments seem, Ranbir knows that these are temporary distractions. Sooner or later, he will need that one hit that can turn the tables and bring him in the league he was destined to be part of.

It must mean something when critics, trade experts and masses are rooting for you despite back-to-back box office debacles. But that is the importance of being a powerhouse of talent that is Ranbir Kapoor!

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