Ranbir Kapoor (pronounced [rəˈɳbiːr kəˈpuːr]; born 28 September 1982) is an Indian film actor. Through his successful career in Bollywood films, he has become one of the highest-paid actors and one of the most popular celebrities in India. He is the recipient of several awards and nominations, including five Filmfare Awards.
Kapoor is the son of actors Rishi and Neetu, and the grandson of actor-director Raj. He pursued film-making and method acting at the School of Visual Arts and the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, respectively, following which he assisted Sanjay Leela Bhansali on the film Black (2005). Kapoor made his acting debut with Bhansali's tragic romance Saawariya (2007), a box office flop but notable for earning him his first Filmfare Award—Best Male Debut. 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 drama Rockstar (2011) and a deaf-mute man in the comedy-drama Barfi! (2012). A starring role in the romantic comedy Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013), one of the highest-grossing Bollywood films of all time, established him as a leading Bollywood actor.
In addition to acting in films, Kapoor supports numerous charities and causes, and is vocal about issues faced by women. He is the co-founder of the production company Picture Shuru Productions, and is a co-owner of the Mumbai-based football team of the Indian Super League. His off-screen life is the subject of fervent tabloid reporting in India.
Early life and background
Ranbir Kapoor was born on 28 September 1982 in Mumbai to Rishi and Neetu, both actors of the Hindi film industry. He is the great-grandson of Prithviraj and the grandson of actor-director Raj. His elder sister, Riddhima (born 1980), is an interior and fashion designer. The actresses Karisma and Kareena are his first cousins. Kapoor was educated at the Bombay Scottish School in Mahim. He has said that he was not inclined towards academics and would always rank among the bottom five students of his class.
Kapoor has admitted that constant arguments between his parents deeply affected him as a child: "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 has said that these early experiences led to a "reservoir of emotions building up inside [him]", which compelled him to look for an outlet in films. Kapoor has said that he was close to his mother, but struggled to establish a friendly relationship with his father. After completing his tenth standard examinations, he travelled to America to assist his father on his directorial venture Aa Ab Laut Chalen (1999), during which he developed a closer bond with him.
After completing his pre-university education from the H.R. College of Commerce and Economics, Kapoor relocated to New York City to learn film-making at the School of Visual Arts, and subsequently pursued method acting at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. He later remarked that living by himself in New York City inspired him to pursue a career in Bollywood. In film school, Kapoor directed and starred in two short films, entitled Passion to Love and India 1964. However, he found learning about cinema in school to be "useless", and preferred being on an actual set. He, thus, returned to Mumbai and 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." Kapoor later confessed that his main motive for working on Black 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 was written to pay a tribute to his late grandfather. Saawariya was the first Indian film to be produced by a Hollywood studio (Sony Pictures Entertainment), and was a highly anticipated release. However, film critics were disappointed with the picture with BBC's Jaspreet Pandohar calling it a "misfire on a massive scale". CNN-IBN's Rajeev Masand considered it "contrived and fake", but was impressed by Kapoor's "affable charm" and wrote 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 a Best Male Debut trophy.
Despite the commercial failure of Saawariya, Kapoor was contracted by Yash Raj Films 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. Rachel Saltz of The New York Times expressed mixed views on his performance, but predicted that his "puppy-dog sweetness" would "serve him well as a Bollywood leading man".
In 2009, Kapoor had three film releases. 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. The media expressed doubt on the film's financial prospect as it depicted a romantic relationship between a younger man and an older woman. It eventually emerged as a sleeper hit and garnered acclaim from the critics. Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama reviewed that Kapoor's performance in the film proved that he was "amongst the best in the business today".
Kapoor next starred opposite Katrina Kaif in Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, a slapstick comedy from director Rajkumar Santoshi, that emerged as the fourth highest-grossing Bollywood film of 2009. Film critic Gaurav Malani praised his flair for comedy, but criticised his "over-excited husky baritone". Kapoor's final release that year was the Shimit Amin-directed Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year, a drama about a sardar who aspires to be a salesman. Film critic Mayank Shekhar praised the film and found Kapoor's performance to be "astonishingly sincere", but the film earned little at the box office. Kapoor later professed to being highly disappointed by the film's commercial failure. At the 55th Filmfare Awards, Kapoor was awarded the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor for his performances in all three of his 2009 releases, and he also received two Best Actor nominations at the same ceremony for Wake Up Sid and Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani.
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. Kapoor described it as his first "mature role" and considered it a departure from the "lover boy roles" that he had previously played. 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 Raajneeti recovering its 600 million (US$10 million) investment. The film, however, surpassed trade expectations and proved to be a major commercial success with worldwide earnings of over 1.43 billion (US$24 million). Kapoor received a third Best Actor nomination at Filmfare for the film.
Later that same year, Kapoor collaborated with Priyanka Chopra on Anand's Anjaana Anjaani, a comedy-drama involving two strangers who vow to commit suicide on New Year's Eve. The film was a moderate financial success, but received little praise from the critics. 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 on the role of Janardhan "Jordan" Jakhar in Imtiaz Ali's Rockstar, a drama that follows the journey of an aspiring musician from a humble background to international stardom. In preparation for the role, Kapoor lived with a Jat family in Pitam Pura to study their mannerisms. He additionally learned to play the guitar and practised extensively at A.R. Rahman's (the film's music composer) music studio. As part of the film's promotional activity, Kapoor performed at a live concert 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 thought that Kapoor's portrayal was one of "Hindi cinema’s most accomplished performances by a lead actor". For the role, Kapoor 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 Hindi 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. 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). In preparation, Kapoor observed the work of actors Roberto Benigni, Charlie Chaplin, and his grandfather. Barfi! received praise from the critics, and the performances of the three lead actors were acclaimed. Ronnie Scheib of Variety praised Kapoor for successfully channeling Chaplin in "tone and affect", and Raja Sen of Rediff.com wrote that "he does very strongly indeed with this Chaplin-tribute role, bestowing his character with heart every step of the way". 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 in 2013 when he reunited with director Ayan Mukerji for the romantic comedy Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani co-starring Deepika Padukone, Kalki Koechlin, and Aditya Roy Kapoor. He was cast as Kabir "Bunny" Thapar, a commitment-phobic photographer, a character Kapoor found to be 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 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$51 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 a petty thief, alongside Pallavi Sharda and his parents. The film met with an overwhelming negative reception and emerged a failure; Sudhish Kamath of The Hindu described it as "Kapoor's hall of shame".
As of April 2014, Kapoor has several upcoming projects. He has completed work on Bombay Velvet, a period film from director Anurag Kashyap. Based on the historian Gyan Prakash's book Mumbai Fables, the film co-stars Anushka Sharma, Raveena Tandon and Karan Johar and is scheduled for release in November 2014. He has launched 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 teenage detective. Kapoor will also star in Vicky Singh's romantic thriller Roy, alongside Arjun Rampal and Jacqueline Fernandez, and has signed on to play opposite Deepika Padukone in Imtiaz Ali's romantic drama Tamasha.
Personal life and off-screen work
Kapoor has said that he does not believe in a "rose-tinted illusion of love" as the troubled marriage between his parents taught him how complex a man-woman relationship can be. He had his first serious relationship while in the seventh grade, and suffered from depression when it ended. While filming Bachna Ae Haseeno in 2008, Kapoor began a romantic relationship with co-star Deepika Padukone. The relationship attracted substantial media coverage in India and they speculated on an impending engagement. However, the couple broke up a year later. Kapoor maintained that the split was amicable, though the media widely reported that the split was due to infidelity on Kapoor's part. Kapoor initially denied the allegations, but according to The Times of India, he later admitted to it: "Yes, I have, out of immaturity, out of inexperience, out of taking advantage of certain temptations, out of callousness."
Tabloid reports have since romantically linked him with several women; Kapoor has strongly denied the rumours, and has refused to publicly discuss his personal life. Rumours of an affair with Katrina Kaif first emerged during the production of Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani in 2010. In August 2013, a set of paparazzi photographs were published by Stardust showing Kapoor and Kaif at a beach in Spain; the press interpreted this to be proof of a relationship between them. Kapoor declined to publicly speak of the relationship, but has said that he considers Kaif to be "a very special person" in his life.
In addition to acting, Kapoor is a football enthusiast and supports several charities and organisations. He 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. Along with the chartered accountant Bimal Parekh, Kapoor acquired ownership rights in 2014 for the Mumbai-based football team of the Indian Super League. 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. In 2013, Kapoor 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!"
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". Also in 2013, 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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