Singh at a promotional event for Gunday, 2014
|Born||Ranveer Singh Bhavnani
6 July 1985
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Ranveer Singh Bhavnani (born 6 July 1985) is an Indian actor working in Hindi films. After completing a bachelor's degree from Indiana University, Bloomington, Singh returned to India to pursue a career in film. In 2010, he successfully auditioned for a leading role in Yash Raj Films's romantic comedy Band Baaja Baaraat. The film emerged as a critical and commercial success, earning Singh a Filmfare Award in the Best Male Debut category.
Singh subsequently garnered praise for experimenting with diverse roles, including a disguised robber in the period film Lootera (2013), a Gujarati boy in the tragic romance Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela (2013) which became his biggest commercial success and earned him a Filmfare Award for Best Actor nomination, and a Bengali goon in the action-drama Gunday (2014).
Early life and background
Ranveer Singh Bhavnani was born on 6 July 1985 in Mumbai, India, to Jagjit Singh Bhavnani and Anju Bhavnani. He has an elder sister named Ritika Bhavnani. His cousins are actress Sonam Kapoor and producer Rhea Kapoor, daughters of actor Anil Kapoor and wife Sunita Kapoor; Singh is their cousin from Sunita Kapoor's side née Bhavnani. Singh explains that he dropped his original surname Bhavnani, since he felt that the name would have been "too long, too many syllables", thus downplaying his brand as a "saleable commodity".
Singh always aspired to be an actor, participating in several school plays and debates. Once when he had gone for a birthday party, his grandmother asked him to dance and entertain her. Singh remembers that he suddenly jumped in the lawn and started dancing to the song "Chumma Chumma" from the 1991 Bollywood action film, Hum. He felt the thrill of performing and was interested in acting and dancing. "I knew that I had to do something related to performing arts and I enjoyed acting the most as it incorporated so many different art forms. I must say, I was a very filmy kid. I used to watch a lot of TV and get very influenced by Bollywood", he recalls. However, after he joined junior college at H.R. College of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai, Singh realised that getting a break in the film industry was not at all easy, as it was mostly people with a filmy background who got the prime opportunities in Bollywood. Feeling that the idea of acting was "too far-fetched", Singh focused on creative writing. He went to the United States where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Indiana University, Bloomington.
At university, he decided to take acting classes. On the first day, the instructor asked him to do an impromptu act. Singh was again convinced that performing arts and acting was what he wanted to do, and took up theatre as his minor. After completing his studies and returning to Mumbai in 2007, Singh worked for a few years in advertising as a copywriter, with agencies like O&M and JWT. Then he started working as an Assistant Director, but left it to pursue acting seriously. He decided to send his portfolio to directors. "My ambition was always to bag a lead role in a film and hence I refrained from doing any ads, TV serials, music videos as I felt that a fresh face always works much better. It was a gamble and I took that gamble telling myself that I will give it my all to bag a lead role", he says. For the next three years, Singh went to producer's offices, showing his pictures and asking for work. He would go for all kinds of auditions, but did not get any good opportunities, while only getting calls for minor roles once in every four or five months. "Everything was so bleak. It was very frustrating. There were times I would think whether I was doing the right thing or not."
2008–10: Film debut
In January 2010, Singh was called for an audition for Yash Raj Films (YRF) by Shanoo Sharma, the head of the casting division for the entertainment company. They informed him that it was for a lead role in their film titled Band Baaja Baaraat, a romantic comedy set in the world of wedding planning. Singh went to Yash Raj for his audition, and was asked to perform two scenes. Singh added, "I was surprised because I knew Yash Raj does not launch new heroes. But I knew they were legitimate and I knew this would be the biggest and most important audition I would ever be giving." Aditya Chopra, the Vice President of YRF, later saw the audition tapes on video and was impressed by Singh's acting, and decided that he fit the part of Bittoo Sharma, the hero of the film. However, the director Maneesh Sharma needed some more convincing and he was called for a few more auditions over the next two weeks until they were completely convinced of his caliber. Sharma would meet him and try to analyze different facets of his personality by asking him to dance, act out emotional scenes, reading with co-actors, reading with the writer as well as camera tests. After the two weeks of testing, Singh was confirmed for the role of Bittoo, with Anushka Sharma playing the female lead.
Singh described the role of Bittoo Sharma as "your typical Delhi University ka launda [Delhi University boy]. He is a loafer who is not interested one bit in studies. All he does is fool around with his friends in and around college and do a lot of awaragardi [procrastination]. He is a very chilled out guy full of masti [fun] who has no worry whatsoever about his future or career." To prepare for the role, he spent time studying students at the Delhi University campus. Prior to the release of the film, trade analysts were skeptical of the film's commercial potential, citing the middling response to Yash Raj Films' last few productions, the lack of a male star and the fact that the female lead, Anushka Sharma, was by then an "almost-forgotten" actress.
However, Band Baaja Baaraat went on to become a sleeper hit. Singh's portrayal of Bittoo was praised, with Anupama Chopra of NDTV writing that "debutant actor Ranveer Singh is pitch perfect in the role of the uncouth but good-hearted small town slacker who is a bit of a duffer when it comes to matters of the heart. The film earned approximately 214 million (US$3.5 million) at the domestic box office. At the 56th Filmfare Awards, Singh won the award for Best Male Debut.
2011–present: Continued work in films
Following Band Baaja Baarat, Singh signed on for Ladies vs Ricky Bahl, a romantic comedy produced by Chopra and directed by Maneesh Sharma. He played a conman Ricky Bahl who cons girls for a living but finally meets his match. The film co-starred Anushka Sharma, Parineeti Chopra, Dipannita Sharma and Aditi Sharma. According to Singh, the title character had various avatars in the film, including a chirpy, entertaining side and a sinister side: "There's a lot of meat in the character and I'm on my toes prepping for it". Nikhat Kazmi of The Times of India wrote of the film, "[T]here is no humor, no earthy flavor, no tingling chemistry between the lead pair. What does work in favor of the film are its performances and its non-hysterical tenor. The girls are a spirited lot and Ranveer is, well Ranveer: your average Joe kind of hero who looks convincing enough as Sunny, Deven, Iqbal, Ricky, his sundry avatars." Commercially, Ladies vs Ricky Bahl earned 370 million (US$6.0 million) domestically.
Singh's next release was Lootera (2013), a period romance, written and directed by Vikramaditya Motwane, and co-starring Sonakshi Sinha. The media drew similarities between the film and O. Henry's short story, The Last Leaf, even though the producers claimed otherwise. Lootera received praise; Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama wrote, "Ranveer has been entrusted with a complicated character so early in his career. Besides playing an intense lover, he plays a reticent and brooding character, something he hasn't explored in his earlier films. And Ranveer makes the most of it by making the character come alive. The character has disconcerting shades and it is imperative that he uses his eyes to leave a mark, which he does so at a variety of stages. He's simply fantastic!" Komal Nahta added, "Ranveer Singh, in a get-up reminiscent of the 1950s, looks wonderfully different and acts with remarkable ease. He is superb." Lootera performed moderately well at the box office.
Singh next starred alongside Deepika Padukone in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, entitled Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela, in which he played Ram, a Gujarati boy based on the character of Romeo. Bhansali was impressed by Singh's performance in Band Baaja Baaraat and decided to sign him for the film. Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela generated some positive reviews from critics, as did Singh's performance. Writing for India Today, Rohit Khilnani commented that "Singh has everything going for him here. His Bollywood hero entry scene lying down on a bike in the song 'Tattad Tattad' is outstanding. He learnt a new language to better his performance for the character Ram and it paid off. In his fourth film he has the presence of a star." The film became Singh's biggest commercial success to date, with worldwide revenues of 2.02 billion (US$33 million). For his portrayal, he received several recognitions, including a Best Actor nomination at the 59th Filmfare Awards.
In 2014, Singh starred in Ali Abbas Zafar's Gunday, alongside Arjun Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Irrfan Khan. Mohar Basu of Koimoi stated in his review, "Ranveer Singh is effortlessly terrific as Bikram. The actor's impulsive vein comes handy in this role especially because he is so sexy with such ease, that it will be hard to take your eyes off him. The movie proved to be Singh's biggest opener, grossing approx 150 million (US$2.4 million) domestically on the opening day and 439 million (US$7.1 million) by the first weekend. It emerged a box-office success with revenue of 1 billion (US$16 million) worldwide.
As of September 2014, Singh will feature in Kill Dil, a romantic drama opposite Parineeti Chopra and Ali Zafar which director Shaad Ali described as "a film about the tricks the heart plays on an unsuspecting victim of love and Finding Fanny in a special appearance opposite Deepika Padukone." Both films are scheduled for release towards the end of the year. He has completed work for Zoya Akhtar's Dil Dhadakne Do, a family drama alongside Priyanka Chopra, Anushka Sharma and Farhan Akhtar. He has also signed on to appear in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's epic romance Bajirao Mastani opposite Deepika Padukone.
|Denotes films that have not yet been released|
|2010||Band Baaja Baaraat||Bittoo Sharma|
|2011||Ladies vs Ricky Bahl||Ricky Bahl|
|2013||Bombay Talkies||Himself||Special appearance in song "Apna Bombay Talkies"|
|2013||Lootera||Varun Shrivastav/Atmanand "Nandu" Tripathi|
|2013||Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela||Ram Rajari|
|2014||Finding Fanny||Gabo||Special appearance|
|2015||Dil Dhadakne Do||Kabir||Post-production|
|2015||Bajirao Mastani||Baji Rao I||Filming|
Awards and nominations
|2011||Annual Central European Bollywood Awards||Best Newcomer – Male ||Band Baaja Baaraat||Won|
|Apsara Film & Television Producers Guild Awards||Best Male Debut||Won|
|BIG Star Entertainment Awards||Most Entertaining Film Actor – Male||Nominated|
|Filmfare Awards||Best Male Debut||Won|
|International Indian Film Academy Awards||Star Debut of the Year – Male|
|Hottest Pair (along with Anushka Sharma)|
|Lions Gold Awards||Favourite Debutant Actor – Male|
|Favourite Jodi (along with Anushka Sharma)|
|Dadasaheb Phalke Academy Awards||Best Debut Male Award |
|The Global Indian Film and TV Honours||Fresh New Face of The Year(Male) |
|FICCI Frames Excellence Honours||Best Debut Actor |
|Star Screen Awards||Most Promising Newcomer – Male|
|Stardust Awards||Superstar of Tomorrow – Male|
|Best Actor – Comedy/Romance||Nominated|
|Zee Cine Awards||Best Male Debut||Won|
|2012||PowerBrands Hall of Fame||Youth Icon||—||Won|
|2013||Vogue Beauty Awards||Most Beautiful Man||—||Won|
|Hello! Hall of Fame Awards 2013.||Outstanding Talent of the Year||—||Won|
|BIG Star Entertainment Awards||Most Entertaining Actor in a Romantic Film – Male||Lootera
|Most Entertaining Film Actor||Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela|
|2014||Filmfare Awards||Filmfare Award for Best Actor||Nominated|
|Lions Gold Awards||Best Male Actor||Won|
|Zee Cine Awards||Best Actor – Male||Nominated|
|International Indian Film Academy Awards||Best Actor||Nominated|
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- "Lootera: a slow pace romantic saga worth watching, say critics". Hindustan Times. 5 July 2013. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
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