Birthday Love: Ranbir Kapoor’s five most thought-provoking roles

Shyama Sudra



Despite coming from Bollywood’s biggest film family, Ranbir Kapoor has always been rather particular in the projects he takes on. Though, if his filmography is anything to go by, it’s definitely all for good reason. Rarely playing the same sort of role twice, Kapoor has thrilled his audiences with a wide range of roles that really get their brains ticking.

As the actor turns 39 on 28th September, take a look through some of his most thought-provoking roles.

Harpreet Singh Bedi – ‘Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year’ (2009)
Only four films old by the time this gem came his way, Kapoor’s role as the enthusiastic Harpreet we one many young people going into their first jobs could relate to. Determined and confident about being a successful salesman and professional through his own means, showcased a sense of what it really means to overcome obstacles in reaching your dream. The vulnerability that Kapoor was able to bring to this character proved that there was more to him than just his lineage, making audiences and critics alike pay more attention to his future projects.

Samar Pratap – ‘Raajneeti’ (2010)
Being signed by Prakash Jha with an ensemble caste made of some of the industry’s most critically acclaimed actors must have come with a lot of pressure. However, throughout the multi-talented film, Kapoor was able to effortlessly stand out on his own with his role as Samar – the youngest member of a political family, embroiled into scandal, heartache and power. With the storyline of the whole film already a hit with the audiences, it’s Kapoor’s character development through the film that everyone has their eye on. Seeing how his character changes, where he becomes more involved into the happenings of politics, it’s almost as though the viewers are witnessing his own development as an actor. Through this film, Kapoor proves to be a pleasant surprise as a formidable actor in his own right amongst the renowned names he shared he screen with.

Janardhan Jakkad/Jordan – ‘Rockstar’ (2011)
Yet another film helmed by a brilliant director, Imtiaz Ali’s ‘Rockstar’ was a turning point for Kapoor. Though this was another role as a dream-maker, Kapoor presented a less innocent character, and someone who many were arguably uncomfortable with. The drastic change from being an innocent student with the dream of becoming a singer, who innocently falls in love with a girl, to a dysfunctional rockstar who despite having an immense fandom becomes obscenely obsessed with the girl he can’t have. Experiencing a protagonist spiral in this way was still rather new for Indian audiences. Unlike the films that have happy endings, Kapoor really got into the rawness of his character where he became unlikable. However, it was very evident that though audiences disliked his character, they couldn’t deny their growing impression of Kapoor as an actor. Even when sharing the screen with his own uncle Shammi Kapoor, it was he who had everyone wide eyed and at the edge of their seats.

Barfi – ‘Barfi’ (2012)
A film without much dialogue is still unheard of in many film industries. Having hardly any dialogue at all Kapoor was put in the position of holding the lead as a deaf and mute Barfi/Murphy. Here was a film that really showcased his craft, where audiences couldn’t take their eyes of him. Portraying a character who was filled with love, comedy and tragedy all in one go was made to look easy just through is simple gestures and facial expressions. A role like this definitely puts any actor through a gruelling test, and Kapoor’s unforgettable performance proved his excellence – even to his critics who couldn’t deny his talent. ‘Barfi’ proved to be a major turning point for Kapoor where he had every film-maker wanting him to be a part of their project, and the rest of the world wanting more and more of him.

Ved Vardhan Sahni – ‘Tamasha’ (2015)
As with every actor, Kapoor had been in the industry, long enough to have a few flops by the time ‘Tamasha’ arrived. When the film came along, there was speculation that this would also be a film that may not do as well, much like some of his earlier work. However, Kapoor has a way of always gaining his followers back, and his role as Ved was one of high interest. It’s fair to say Kapoor played two characters here, and ensured he didn’t give much away to his audiences as to why his character was so different in the second half of the film from the way he was like at the beginning. Already making a brilliant on-screen pair with Deepika Padukone, ‘Tamasha’ is where Kapoor’s acting style had developed. Rather than giving everything about his character away, Ali left it up to his viewers to piece together how the trauma of Ved’s childhood made him hide away from his truth. Though a love story, Kapoor perfectly represented a reality of the way young people are pressured into living up to the expectations of strict rules and safe options. The juxtaposition of his character is so well performed that Kapoor leaves his audiences thinking about him even after the credits have rolled.

Kapoor definitely has a way of making his fans want more and more of him. Proving he is much more than just his linage, he will always be one that everyone loves to experience on screen. Learning from his mistakes, constantly developing and perfecting his art, Kapoor will be one name that will be a favourite for many years to come. Here is wishing him a very Happy Birthday from Team BizAsia.