The year was 2007, the silver screen was awaiting one of its biggest debuts. The curtains lifted, and in came the blue-eyed boy on celluloid, singing away as the smitten lover, sashaying the blue hues of the story ‘White Nights’ brought alive by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, in the form of ‘Saawariya’. Though the movie did not work at the box office, as Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘Om Shanti Om’ swept away the moolah, the new generation of a talented clan was born. Ranbir Kapoor was the name, and he bagged all the awards for the best debut that year.
Times came and went by, and every time he came on the screens, he had something fresh to offer. Be it his playboy act in ‘Bachna Ae Haseeno’, where he effortlessly gyrated to the tunes once made for his father, or ‘Wake Up Sid’, where he was a clueless and spoilt but adorable brat who eventually found his calling, not just in the everyday nine to five life, he was unstoppable. He made us laugh and cry in ‘Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani’, and gave us a fine piece of his acting panache with the unconventional role in ‘Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year’. He was comfortable stepping into the shoes of modern-day Arjun in Prakash Jha’s political re-telling of Mahabharata, ‘Rajneeti’, and shined in the otherwise average ‘Anjaana Anjaani’. (Also Read: ‘Jagga Jasoos’ movie review: Ranbir-Katrina’s musical voyage to happiness will win you over)
And then, came Imtiaz Ali’s ‘Rockstar’, and Ranbir’s transition from his happy roles was remarkable. He shocked us and shook us, with the intensity with which he portrayed a connection between a broken heart and creation of soulful music, a role of a broken lover, a bleeding rockstar. Ranbir’s portrayal of Janardan ‘Jordan’ Jakhar was so surreal, that it was hard to believe this was the same guy who portrayed such blithe characters, a while back. The movie brought him his first ever Filmfare for the best actor, and many other accolades. This was just a start.
What followed, was Anurag Basu’s ‘Barfi!’ where we saw him as the mute and adorable Barfi, who could spread a cheer anywhere with his smile. Again, the man took us by surprise by effortlessly coming out of the skin of brooding rockstar Jordan, and getting into the skin of the lovable oddball Barfi. This act of Ranbir earned him his consecutive award for Best actor and rightly so.
He went on to wow us as Kabir Thapar aka Bunny in ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’. Somewhere, we could all relate to that guy who wanted everything in life, who did not want to stop, but at the same time wanted a comfortable halt, a home in his heart, which he eventually finds. ‘Roy’ may not have worked, and even though it was just an extended cameo, not many would have dared to plunge into a writer’s fantasy, a character within the sub-plot. But Ranbir did it and again came out with flying colours. ‘Bombay Velvet’ fell flat, but his character of Johnny/Balraj, with the vibe of the bygone era, was much appreciated. (We would like to conveniently forget the cataclysm on the senses that ‘Besharam’ was.)
After his award-winning stint in ‘Rockstar’, Ranbir joined hands with Imtiaz Ali once again, in ‘Tamasha’. With a story of a storyteller trapped in the hustle of daily job and mundane life, Ved’s character was all of us. All of us, who struggle to be average in doing the usual, never thinking of taking the risk and being the best in what we love. Tara, played by Deepika depicted the light within us to guide towards what we do, the voice of our heart, the voice of Ved’s heart whom he finds in a distant land. But, amongst everything, Ranbir’s act as Ved stole the show, and though the movie being a niche one could not work wonders at the box office, Ranbir delivered yet another goal in terms of acting finesse.
After ‘Rockstar’ and ‘Tamasha’, the jovial traits of the characters Ranbir had played previously, were fading somehow, and for the first time, his character of Ayan from ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’, seemed a little repetitive. Instead of being someone whom we could root for, for being constantly thwarted on the love front by the one he had a hearty obsession towards, Ayan somehow irritated us. The fact that we were high on the movie ‘PINK’ which raised the important issue of ‘No means No’, Ayan really did not appeal. But then, Ranbir’s act and charm worked even here, and he managed to deliver yet another stellar performance, extracting extraordinary from the ordinary.
But the best was yet to come. Since ages, we had been listening about the ambitious project ‘Jagga Jasoos’, wherein Ranbir was playing the titular character of the teen detective. The movie was witnessing the team-up of Anurag Basu and Ranbir, once again after ‘Barfi!’, and yet again, we were going to witness Ranbir’s amiable side, in a musical. Too many experiments were at stake. And yes, he did blow us away. Though it is too early to deliver any verdict on the movie, Ranbir’s performance as Jagga extracted emotions and moved feels inside, like no one else. A stammering orphan who sings to express, a teenage detective who has a thing for solving unfinished stories and crimes, a boy craving for the love of a father lost, refusing to believe he is gone. Ranbir brings out the finest of his career with his beautiful rendition of Jagga’s various shades, and makes you reminisce the likes of legends like Feluda and Hardy Boys. We came out of the cinema hall smiling goofily and wished we could see more of Jagga’s antics.
For those who curse nepotism, if an enigma and virtuosity like Ranbir is the result of the same, we don’t mind it in a measured balance. This man works silently towards his sheer love of cinema, giving us one after the other, characters to remember, breathing life into the fictional beings like no one else.
Take a bow to the one who is out to be a stellar performer, and not a star.