In a career that spans almost a decade, Ranbir Kapoor has become a name that can bring masses to the theatre, only to enthrall them with his layered performances. He can play an honest salesman, an angst-ridden rock star, a carefree vagabond, and a mischievous deaf-mute, all with award-winning perfection.
Debuting as a chocolate-boy-in-love in Saawariya, Ranbir has thankfully not been typecast as just that early in his career. Despite forgettable films such as Besharam, Anjaana Anjaani and Ajab Prem Ki Gazab Kahani, he managed to carve a space for himself with roles that gave him the chance to show his true potential. His next anticipated film, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, is all set for release in October, while Jagga Jasoos will release next year.
As the actor celebrates his 34th birthday today, let's take a look at some of his best performances:
The eager Punjabi salesman (Rocket Singh, 2009)
Two years after his debut in 2007, Ranbir bagged a role of an eager salesman trying to make it big in his field. He played Rocket Singh, a man who swears by honesty and integrity in the unruly, deceitful world of corporate sales. Not only is playing a jovial character right up his alley, but he also managed to bring out Rocket Singh's earnestness without making it seem too forced. While the film on the whole was an underrated success, Rocket Singh was one of Ranbir's earliest successful roles.
The cunning politician (Raajneeti, 2010)
Ranbir's character, Samar is embroiled in the murky world of politics as a scheming trickster with a natural flair for manipulative thinking. Though, the Prakash Jha film didn't take off as expected among the public, but it bring Ranbir's versatility as an actor under the limelight. Critics praised his performance, highlighting the cold, impassioned vibe he gave off as Samar. He was nominated for best actor at that year's Filmfare, IIFA and Star Guild Awards.
An ashes-to-riches-and-back musician (Rockstar, 2011)
In his first Imtiaz Ali collaboration, Ranbir shone through his complete makeover as a rock star. The film chronicles the life of Janardhan, or Jordan. From a socially-anxious college boy, looking for creative inspiration, he turns into a love-lorn, obsessed and arrogant rock star on his way to self-destruction. The transformational journey portrayed to perfection by Ranbir won him several awards, making him an instant heartthrob among youth. With long Rastafarian locks of hair, guitar slung naturally across his body, angst and pain written on his face, he did complete justice to Mohit Chauhan's soulful vocals.
A deaf-and-dumb prankster (Barfi, 2012)
Ranbir's loveable and funny character in Barfi won him best actor awards at Filmfare and IIFA. Barfi, originally named Murphy by his parents, is a happy-go-lucky deaf-mute who takes life in his stride, with a little mischief on the side. His ultimate test of loyalty and trust is by making a friend stand with him as a light pole falls just inches away. Ranbir, who also sang for the song Fatafati in the film, played wordless emotions with flair. His style of acting in this film is said to be influenced by Mr Bean and Charlie Chaplin.
The carefree soul (Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani, 2013)
If there's one recurring character that Ranbir Kapoor fans love to see him in, it is as the young, unabashedly cool guy, high on life and its possibilities. It started with Wake Up Sid (2009) as Sid Malhotra, a charming but slacking youngster who finds it in him to become a talented photographer. He reprises an ambitious and matured version of this character in Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani as Kabir (or Bunny), a photographer who travels the world. In both the roles, Ranbir's natural charm (a hand-me-down from father Rishi Kapoor, perhaps) turns his characters into delightfully whimsical beings that many aspire to be.
As a gun running fighter (Bombay Velvet, 2015)
Ranbir starred in this Anurag Kashyap film as Johnny Balraj. Sporting a quirky hairstyle and sleek dressing, he fit right into the jazzy Bombay of the 1960s. Balraj is a street fighter who takes up the dirty work to manage a night club belonging to a wealthy but corrupt businessman (Karan Johar). He lives by his rules and yet is quite impressionable, especially when it comes to the love of his life, Rosie (Anushka Sharma). Ranbir plays the rugged but easily trusting character with finesse.
As a storyteller stuck in a rut (Tamasha, 2015)
Imtiaz Ali knows when to let go and let his actors do their job. After the success of Rockstar, the duo paired up again in 2015. Ranbir plays Ved, a cog in the corporate world with a penchant for storytelling and theatre. Admonished as a child by his father for dreaming of stories instead of studying, he borders on insanity as the monotony gets to him in his working life. Prodded on by Tara (Deepika Padukone) and his trip to Corsica, he tips the scale and dares to become what he dreams. The film, full of colours and theatrics, showcases Ranbir's ability to come completely undone as internal conflict takes over.