Ranbir Kapoor (pronounced [rəˈɳbiːr kəˈpuːr]; born 28 September 1982) is an Indian film actor. Through his successful career in Hindi (Bollywood) films, he has become one of the highest-paid actors and one of the most high-profile celebrities in India. He is the recipient of several awards and nominations including five Filmfare Awards.
Kapoor is the son of actors Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh, and the grandson of actor-director Raj Kapoor. He completed his pre-university education in Mumbai, after which he moved to New York City to pursue film-making and method acting at the School of Visual Arts and the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, respectively. Kapoor began his career in Bollywood as an assistant director on Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 2005 film Black.
Kapoor's first acting role was as the protagonist of Bhansali's 2007 tragic romance Saawariya, a box office flop for which he received his first Filmfare Award—Best Male Debut. His first commercial success was the 2008 romantic comedy Bachna Ae Haseeno, and he was awarded the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor for his performances in three films of 2009—the coming-of-age film Wake Up Sid, the comedy Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, and the drama Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year. Kapoor won two consecutive Best Actor awards at Filmfare for portraying a troubled musician in the 2011 drama Rockstar and a deaf-mute man in the 2012 comedy-drama Barfi!. The 2013 romantic comedy Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani proved to be one of the highest-grossing Bollywood films of all time and established him as a leading actor of contemporary Hindi cinema.
In addition to acting in films, Kapoor supports numerous charities and causes, is vocal about issues faced by women and is the goodwill ambassador of Shabana Azmi's Mijwan Welfare Society. His off-screen life is the subject of fervent tabloid reporting in India.
Early life and background
Ranbir Kapoor was born in Mumbai on 28 September 1982 to Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh, both actors of the Hindi film industry. He is the great-grandson of Prithviraj Kapoor and the grandson of actor-director Raj Kapoor. His elder sister, Riddhima Kapoor (born 1980) is an interiors and fashion designer. Actress Karisma Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor are his first cousins and Sasha Agha is his second cousin.
Kapoor was schooled at the Bombay Scottish School in Mahim; in an interview with The Indian Express he said that he was a "naughty kid" who was "least interested in studies and would always get punished by my teachers". Reflecting on his school life, Kapoor added, "I was never a bright student, potentially never good at dramatics, I was sometimes given one-line roles that I was happy to do so that I could bunk classes. My mother used to cry three times a year and that is when my report card used to come. I always passed but was always in the bottom five and got marks in 50s." He was, however, interested in mathematics and literature, and was particularly fond of William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice.
The troubled marriage between his parents deeply affected him as a child. In an interview with Mumbai Mirror he recollected the fights between his parents: "Sometimes the fights would get really bad. I would be sitting on the steps, my head between my knees, till five or six in the morning, waiting for them to stop". He added that due to these experiences there was a "reservoir of emotions building up inside [him]", which compelled him to look for an outlet in films. Kapoor said that, while growing up, he was "petrified" of his father and "never had a friendly relationship [with him] because he used to stay very busy", but admitted to sharing a much closer relationship with his mother.
After completing his tenth standard examinations, Kapoor travelled to America to assist his father on his directorial debut Aa Ab Laut Chalen (1999). It was during the film's shooting schedule that he developed a closer bond with him. He subsequently enrolled at Mumbai's H.R. College of Commerce and Economics to complete his pre-university education. Upon graduating from high school, Kapoor moved to New York City to learn film-making at the School of Visual Arts and later pursued method acting at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. He said that living alone in New York on a "shoe-string budget" taught him "the value of family and money".
In New York City, Kapoor directed and starred in two short films (entitled Passion to Love and India 1964), and spent most of his time watching world cinema. He professed that the experience of learning about movies at a film school was "almost useless" and preferred being on an actual film set. He, thus, worked as an assistant director to Sanjay Leela Bhansali on the 2005 film Black. He described the experience: "I was getting beaten up, abused, doing everything from cleaning the floor to fixing the lights from 7 am to 4 am, but I was learning every day." In an interview with CNN-IBN, Kapoor confessed that his main motive for assisting on the film was to ensure that Bhansali liked him enough to cast him as an actor for his next project.
Debut and success (2007–10)
Following the release of Black, Bhansali cast Kapoor as the protagonist of his 2007 tragic romance Saawariya alongside Sonam Kapoor and Rani Mukerji. The film tells the story of a tramp, Ranbir Raj, who falls obsessively in love with a woman awaiting the return of her lover. In an interview with the news and entertainment portal Rediff.com, Kapoor stated that his character in the film was written to pay a "conscious tribute" to his grandfather Raj Kapoor. Saawariya was the first Indian film to be produced by a Hollywood studio (Sony Pictures Entertainment), and was a highly anticipated release. Film critics were disappointed with the picture; BBC's Jaspreet Pandohar called the film a "misfire on a massive scale" and CNN-IBN's Rajeev Masand considered it "contrived and fake". Masand, however, was impressed by Kapoor's "affable charm" and added that "he’s got that star quality to him which is so rare to find." At the box office, Saawariya failed to earn profits. However, at the annual Filmfare Awards ceremony, Kapoor was awarded with a Best Male Debut trophy.
Despite the commercial failure of Saawariya, Kapoor was contracted by Yash Raj Films (a leading Bollywood studio) for a primary role in the Siddharth Anand-directed romantic comedy Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008). The film was his first commercial success, in which his role was that of Raj Sharma, a womaniser who is romantically involved with three women (played by Bipasha Basu, Minissha Lamba, and Deepika Padukone) at different stages of his life.
In 2009 Kapoor featured in three films—Wake Up Sid, Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, and Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year. He won the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor for his performances in these films, and received Best Actor nominations at the ceremony for the first two. In Dharma Productions's Wake Up Sid, a coming of age film from director Ayan Mukerji, Kapoor portrayed Siddharth "Sid" Malhotra, a rich, lazy teenager whose life undergoes a series of changes after interacting with an ambitious journalist (played by Konkana Sen Sharma). When Mukerji narrated the then-untitled script of the film to him, Kapoor came up with the title himself. Media reports described the film as an "unconventional romance" between a younger man and an older woman, and expressed doubt on its financial prospects. It eventually emerged as a sleeper hit and received acclaim from the critics. Both Kapoor and Sen Sharma's performances were praised; Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama labelled Kapoor's performance "award-worthy" and wrote that "in Wake Up Sid he proves that he's amongst the best in the business today."
Kapoor's next appearance was opposite Katrina Kaif in Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, a comedy from director Rajkumar Santoshi . The film was generally well received by the critics, and emerged as the fourth highest-grossing film of 2009. Kapoor described his next release, the Shimit Amin-directed drama Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year, to be an "underdog story" and added that his character (a sardar) was that of a "middle-class guy, who wants to be a salesman". For the role, he grew a beard to "get into the skin of the character". Film critic Mayank Shekhar found his performance in the film to be "astonishingly sincere" and The New York Times commended him for "turning in a skilfully understated performance". In an 2010 interview with Bollywood Hungama, Kapoor said that Rocket Singh was a movie that he "truly believed in", and professed to being highly disappointed by its commercial failure.
Prakash Jha's big-budget ensemble political thriller Raajneeti was Kapoor's first release of 2010. The film, which starred Nana Patekar, Ajay Devgn, Arjun Rampal, Manoj Bajpayee, Katrina Kaif and Sarah Thompson in prominent roles, was inspired by the Indian epic The Mahabharata and Mario Puzo's 1969 novel The Godfather. Kapoor's role was that of Samar Pratap (based on the characters of Arjuna and Michael Corleone), the youngest heir of an Indian political dynasty, who is reluctantly drawn to politics after the assassination of his father. He received a third Best Actor nomination at Filmfare. In an interview with the Press Trust of India, Kapoor described the character of Pratap to be a departure from the "lover boy roles" that he had established a reputation of portraying. Nikhat Kazmi of The Times of India reviewed, "The film finally belongs to Ranbir Kapoor who perfects the art of minimalism – and literally grows before your eyes – as the simmering volcano that cannot be held back, once it erupts." Robert Abele of the Los Angeles Times, however, was more critical of his performance which he considered "stony rather than calculating—especially jarring compared to the histrionic turns around him". Indian trade journalists were apprehensive of Rajneeti recovering its 600 million (US$10 million) investment. The film, however, surpassed trade expectations and proved a major commercial success with worldwide earnings of over 1.43 billion (US$24 million).
That same year, Kapoor collaborated with Priyanka Chopra on Anand's Anjaana Anjaani, a dramedy involving two strangers who vow to commit suicide on New Year's Eve. The film received little praise from the critics, and was a moderate financial success. Rajeev Masand noted that Kapoor "struggles with a badly-defined role" and NDTV's Anupama Chopra concluded, "Ranbir tries hard to salvage the film, dropping his shirt several times but even his lovingly shot chest can’t save the film."
Rockstar and beyond (2011–present)
Following an item number in the children's film Chillar Party (2011), Kapoor took the role of Janardhan "Jordan" Jakhar in Imtiaz Ali's Rockstar, a drama that follows the journey of an aspiring musician (belonging to Pitam Pura, a residential neighbourhood in New Delhi) to international stardom. In preparation for the role, Kapoor lived with a Jat family in Pitam Pura and "studied their mannerisms". He additionally learnt to play the guitar and practised extensively at A.R. Rahman's (the film's music composer) studio. As part of the film's promotional activity, Kapoor performed at a live concert at Bhavan's College in Mumbai. Film critics were polarised on their view of the film, but were unanimous in their praise for Kapoor; Aniruddha Guha of Daily News and Analysis was particularly impressed with the film and wrote, "Ranbir’s portrayal of Jordan may go down as one of Hindi cinema’s most accomplished performances by a lead actor." For the role, he won both the Best Actor and Best Actor (Critics) trophies at the 57th Filmfare Awards ceremony, along with Best Actor awards at Screen and IIFA. With a gross revenue of 1.07 billion (US$18 million), Rockstar was one of the top-grossing Indian films of the year.
The 2012 romantic comedy Barfi! was Kapoor's first release to earn over 1 billion (US$17 million) at the domestic box office (it had a worldwide revenue of 1.75 billion (US$29 million). Directed by Anurag Basu, the film (set in the 1970s) tells the story of its titular protagonist (a deaf and mute man, played by Kapoor) who falls in love with a woman who is already engaged (played by Ileana D'Cruz) and later, an autistic girl (played by Priyanka Chopra). For his portrayal, Kapoor was inspired by the work of actors Roberto Benigni, Charlie Chaplin, and his grandfather Raj Kapoor. Barfi! received praise from the critics, and the performances of the three lead actors were acclaimed. Variety noted that "Kapoor, like his famous actor/director grandfather Raj Kapoor before him, channels Chaplin in tone and affect" and Raja Sen of Rediff.com credited him as a "truly special leading man". The film was submitted as India’s official entry for the 85th Academy Awards, and was screened at the Marrakech and Busan International Film Festivals. Kapoor won second consecutive Best Actor awards at the Filmfare, Screen, and IIFA Award ceremonies.
Kapoor achieved further success when he reunited with director Ayan Mukerji for the 2013 romantic comedy Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. He played Kabir "Bunny" Thapar, a commitment-phobic photographer, alongside Deepika Padukone, Kalki Koechlin, and Aditya Roy Kapoor. In an interview with The Express Tribune, Kapoor described the character as an extension of himself. His pairing with Padukone, after their highly publicised break-up, led to hype surrounding the film's release. Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani eventually opened to record-breaking collections, and emerged as one of the highest-grossing Bollywood films of all time with earnings of 3.02 billion (US$50 million); it also proved to be Kapoor's third consecutive commercial success in three years and earned him another Best Actor nomination at Filmfare. Film critics found the film to be "riddled with clichés", but praised both Kapoor and Padukone, with Daily News and Analysis' Tushar Joshi labelling their on-screen chemistry as "unsurpassable". Kapoor's second release of the year was the action-comedy film Besharam in which he played Babli, a petty thief, alongside Pallavi Sharda and his parents, Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh. The film met with an overwhelming negative reaction from the critics and Sudhish Kamath of The Hindu described it as "Kapoor's hall of shame". Commercially, Besharam proved to be a flop.
As of February 2014, Kapoor has three other films in production. He is filming with Anushka Sharma, Raveena Tandon and Karan Johar for Anurag Kashyap's period film Bombay Velvet, and has been signed on to appear in a supporting role for Vicky Singh's romantic thriller Roy, alongside Arjun Rampal and Jacqueline Fernandez. He will also launch a production company named Picture Shuru Productions in a collaboration with director Anurag Basu; their first production—the comedy-mystery film Jagga Jasoos—will feature Kapoor (alongside Katrina Kaif) in the role of a 17 year old detective.
Kapoor had his first serious relationship while in the seventh grade. He said, "I was really naive then. I didn't understand love. When that relationship ended I went into depression. I thought I would never fall in love again. Now I think I've become more realistic about love. Love is a beautiful feeling. It almost equals cinema in my list of passions." Having learnt from his parents' troubled marriage, he says that he doesn't believe in a "rose-tinted illusion of love", and is aware of "how complicated a relationship between a man and woman could be."
While filming for Bachna Ae Haseeno in 2008, Kapoor began a romantic relationship with co-star Deepika Padukone. The relationship, which attracted substantial media coverage in India, ended the following year. Kapoor has maintained that his split with Padukone was amicable, and has since refrained from divulging details of his personal life. Tabloid reports have since romantically linked him with several women; Kapoor has categorically denied to speak about these reports (he has termed his "playboy image" as a "gross misrepresentation") but said, "I am not saying that everything is untrue but what is written is exaggerated and glamorized." In August 2013, a set of paparazzi photographs were published by Stardust showing Kapoor and Katrina Kaif at a beach in Spain; the press interpreted this to be proof of a relationship between Kapoor and Kaif.
Kapoor is vocal about issues faced by women, and supports the empowerment of the girl child; he is the goodwill ambassador of Shabana Azmi's Mijwan Welfare Society, an NGO which helps empower women. He supports environmental charities, and in 2011 donated money to the Community Water Initiative, a charitable organisation owned by PepsiCo. In 2012 he appeared (alongside Arjun Rampal and Farhan Akhtar) in a short film by Zoya Akhtar to generate awareness on breast cancer. He is the campaign ambassador for NDTV's Marks for Sports, a nationwide initiative to promote fitness and health in India.
Kapoor is a football enthusiast, and is the vice-captain of the All Stars Football Club, a celebrity football club that raises money for charity. In March 2013 he played the game to raise funds for the Magic Funds Organisation, an NGO for underprivileged children. That year he participated in an auction on eBay, where the highest bidder gets an opportunity to interact with him; the proceeds were donated to Save the Children, a non-profit organisation that raised funds for flood affected households in Uttarakhand.
In the media
Born into a family of popular actors, Kapoor faced the media spotlight from a young age; Hindustan Times published that "he was always a star kid from whom everyone had great expectations". Despite the failure of his first film (Saawariya), IANS reported that he "rose like [a] meteor on film firmament by giving compelling performances in films like Raajneeti, Rockstar and [..] Barfi!" Discussing the commercial viability of Kapoor, Apoorva Mehta (the COO of Dharma Productions) noted, "In a short career span of 10 films, Ranbir Kapoor has achieved a tremendous jump in the business done by his films. His last releases have shown a successive growth of 40% over each preceding film, clearly showing the audiences appreciation for the power house of talent." Following the major commercial success of Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, The Economic Times credited him as "the most bankable actor of his generation", and producer Siddharth Roy Kapur said that "he is no longer on the cusp of super-stardom....he's there!"
Presently, Kapoor is one of the most popular and high-profile celebrities in India. In 2012 Forbes featured him on the eleventh spot in India's Celebrity 100 list with an estimated annual earning of 711 million (US$12 million), making him one of the highest paid actors in the country. The following year he ranked eighth. Kapoor has frequently featured in Rediff.com's anuual listing of "Bollywood's Best Actors"; he was ranked second in 2009, first in 2011, and held the third position in 2012. In 2009 People magazine listed him as the "Sexiest Man Alive" in India, and in 2013 he topped Filmfare's poll of the "Most Stylish Young Actor". That year, he was one of the recipients of the "People of the Year" award by the Limca Book of Records. Kapoor is the celebrity endorser for various brands and services, including Pepsi, Panasonic, Tata DoCoMo, and the Spanish football club FC Barcelona.
|Denotes films that have not yet been released|
|Saawariya||2007||Ranbir Raj||Filmfare Award for Best Male Debut|
|Bachna Ae Haseeno||2008||Raj Sharma|
|Luck by Chance||2009||Himself||Special appearance|
|Wake Up Sid||2009||Siddharth "Sid" Mehra||Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor
(also for Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani & Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year)
Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actor
|Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani||2009||Prem Shankar Sharma||Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actor|
|Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year||2009||Harpreet Singh Bedi|
|Raajneeti||2010||Samar Pratap||Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actor|
|Chillar Party||2011||Himself||Special appearance in song "Tai Tai Phish"|
|Rockstar||2011||Janardan "Jordan" Jhakhar (JJ)||Filmfare Award for Best Actor
Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor
|Barfi!||2012||Murphy "Barfi" Johnson||Filmfare Award for Best Actor|
|Bombay Talkies||2013||Himself||Special appearance in song "Apna Bombay Talkies"|
|Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani||2013||Kabir "Bunny" Thapar||Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actor|
|Besharam||2013||Babli||Also playback singer for song "Love Ki Ghanti"|
|Bhoothnath Returns||2014||Himself||Cameo appearance|
|Bombay Velvet||2014||Johnny Balraj||Post-production|
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