Singh at a promotional event for Gunday, 2014
|Born||Ranveer Singh Bhavnani
6 July 1985
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Ranveer Singh (born Ranveer Singh Bhavnani on 6 July 1985 in Mumbai) is an Indian actor working in Bollywood. Following his Bachelor of Arts degree from Indiana University, Bloomington, Singh returned to India to pursue his dream of being an actor. In 2010, Singh auditioned for the lead role in the Yash Raj Films venture called Band Baaja Baaraat, and got selected. The romantic comedy was set in the world of wedding planning and required Singh to portray a typical Delhi guy called Bittoo Sharma. After its release, Band Baaja Baaraat became a critical and commercial success, with Singh's portrayal of Bittoo being lauded by critics. He went on to win the Filmfare Award for Best Male Debut at the 56th Filmfare Awards.
Singh continued experimenting with different roles including a con artist in Ladies vs Ricky Bahl (2011), a disguised robber in the critically acclaimed Lootera (2013) and a Gujarati boy in Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela (2013), which emerged as Singh's biggest commercial success to date. He further received critical acclaim for his portrayal of a local goon in Gunday (2014).
Life and career
1985–2007: Early life and beginning
Ranveer Singh was born Ranveer Singh Bhavnani 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 had always wanted to be an actor, and after joining school he started participating in the 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.
While there, 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: Debut in films
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 calibre. 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.
Shooting for Band Baaja Baarat began February 2010, and was released 10 December 2010. 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." When Sharma was narrating the script to him, Singh had already decided how he wanted to play the part of Bittoo. But Sharma's biggest concern was that Singh acted well and looked like a boy from Delhi, but did not know much about the life in that city to convincingly portray Bittoo. Hence during the recce he sent him to stay at the campus of Delhi University. Singh made friends with the students there, and hung out with them thereby getting an idea of how the guys in Delhi behave and how they lead their life. He explained: "Interestingly, I met this guy who was very close to Bittoo. He had the swagger, the way he dressed, spoke, I knew when I met him for the first time, I knew he was my guy. So I studied him for a few days, hung out with him and have made Bittoo like him. He had the attitude and energy of Bittoo. I knew this is as Bittoo as it gets! He was crucial in my preparation of Bittoo!"
Filming ended in September 2010, with post-production continuing and promotions starting in October. Singh did a number of promotional campaigns, alongside his co-stars and the director, including going to the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi and taking part in their annual festival. Prior to Band Baaja Baaraat's release, some pundits had expressed doubts that the film would be successful, 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, after its release, Band Baaja Baaraat went on to become a critical and commercial success. Singh's portrayal of Bittoo was lauded. Taran Adarsh from Bollywood Hungama commented: "Debutant Ranveer is the lifeline of [the film]. In fact, the youngster adds a lot of spontaneity and sparkle to his character, which is unsophisticated, but charming. He actually catches you unaware in the emotional moments, which he enacts so well. Here's a talent you just can't disregard." Nikhat Kazmi from The Times of India gave the film three out of five stars, while noting that "As long as you view Band Baaja Baaraat as a loving, heartfelt take on what makes Delhi go dhak-dhak, the film holds your attention....Performance-wise, the duo do have a spontaneity that is disarming." Anupama Chopra from NDTV also gave the film the same ratings, while noting "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. Box Office India website reported that the film grossed approximately 214 million (US$3.4 million) after five weeks, making it a box office success. At the 56th Filmfare Awards, Singh won the award for Best Male Debut.
2011–present: Other film roles
Following Band Baaja Baarat, Singh signed his second film titled Ladies vs Ricky Bahl, produced by Chopra and directed by Maneesh Sharma. The film was described as a fun-filled 'rom-con' where a conman Ricky Bahl, played by Singh, cons girls for a living but finally meets his match. It also starred Anushka Sharma, Parineeti Chopra, Dipannita Sharma and Aditi Sharma, with filming in April 2011 in Delhi. 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. A crew member who read the script described it accurately when he said 'it's a kicky film," Singh further explained. Upon its release on 9 December 2011, both Taran Adarsh from Bollywood Hungama and Nikhat Kazmi from The Times of India gave the film a rating of three out of five stars. Adarsh said that "Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl is a decent fare, which appeals in parts... Ideally, the film merits a two-and-a-half star rating, but that extra half star is for Ranveer and Anushka, who steal your heart with truly striking performances. Kazmi felt that "there 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 had a mixed first day, with many places recording low first day collections but some multiplexes recording 50–60% occupancy. Overall, the film managed to have a decent opening of 47.5 million (US$760,000). It ultimately emerged a commercial success earning 370 million (US$5.9 million) domestically.
While post-production was going on for Ladies vs Ricky Bahl, Singh signed his third feature film titled Lootera. Written and directed by Vikramaditya Motwane, the film is a love story set in the 1950s, starring Sonakshi Sinha opposite to Singh. The story was inspired by writer O. Henry's short story, The Last Leaf, even though the producers claimed it was different. Shooting for Lootera completed in August 2012 with the film to be released on 5 July 2013. Lootera released to worldwide critical acclaim on 5 July 2013. For his performance in the film, Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama noted, "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 wrote in his review,"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.
He also featured 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. The film generated mostly positive reviews from critics, as did Singh's performance. Writing for India Today, Rohit Khilnani commented that "Ranveer Singh has everything going for him here. His Bollywood hero entry scene lying down on a bike in the song Taddat Taddat 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." Sneha May Francis of Emirates 24/7 mentioned that "He's pitch-perfect as the Ram, who is unabashed about his illegal pursuits as he is about being ridiculed a romantic" and added that "It's interesting to watch him switch from a charming bloke, who cashes in on people's hidden desires, to one who fiercely battles the world to own his ladylove." The film emerged as a box office phenomenon and Singh's most successful venture to date, earning 2.02 billion (US$32 million) worldwide. For his portrayal, he received Best Actor nominations all over including a Filmfare Award for Best Actor nomination.
Singh next featured in Gunday, directed by Ali Abbas Zafar under the YRF Banner 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 became Singh's biggest opener, grossing approx 150 million (US$2.4 million) domestically on the opening day and 439 million (US$7.0 million) by the first weekend.
The Times of India confirmed that Singh had signed the lead role in the remake of the 2009 Telugu film, Magadheera. Helmed by producer Vikas Bahl and director Abhinav Kashyap, it is a historic love story set against the backdrop of 17th century India; the film is said to have an estimated budget of 500 million (US$8.0 million). Director Shaad Ali signed Singh for the lead of his venture titled Kill Dil, a romantic film which Ali described as "a film about the tricks the heart plays on an unsuspecting victim of love." It is slated for release on 5 September 2014. In February 2014, Singh confirmed reports of him signing Zoya Akhtar's untitled next about brother-sister bonding opposite Priyanka Chopra, Anushka Sharma and Farhan Akhtar, to which pre-production has already begun and is slated for release on 5 June 2015.
|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 Fernandes||TBA||Cameo appearance, to be released on 4 July 2014|
|2014||Kill Dil||TBA||Filming, to be released on 5 September 2014.|
Awards and nominations
|2011||Apsara Film & Television Producers Guild Awards||Best Male Debut||Band Baaja Baaraat||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)|
|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||Pending|
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