From Barfi! to the super hit dance number Badtameez Dil and now Besharam, Ranbir Kapoor is flying high.
He has every right to be. Despite being Bollywood royalty – he is the grandson of Raj Kapoor, one of Bollywood’s original superstars, and the son of Rishi Kapoor, Bollywood’s heart-throb in the late 1970s and early 80s – this Kapoor has carved his own niche in the industry.
He started his career in 2005 as an assistant director to Sanjay Leela Bhansali on Black, where he claims to have been a drudge doing everything right down to scrubbing floors. Kapoor made his acting debut in Bhansali’s Saawariya (2007). Since then, he has won five Filmfare Awards with his latest film, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, becoming the fourth highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time. The Economic Times has called him “the most bankable actor of his generation”.
Kapoor was recently in Dubai to promote his latest film Besharam and instead of trumpeting his recent string of successes he was much more measured. That could be attributed to the presence of his co-stars: his parents.
“I can finally claim to have worked with the great Rishi Kapoor,” said Ranbir Kapoor, laughing.
The film will always be close to his heart, he explained, because it is the first time he has shared screen space with his parents, the elder Kapoor and Neetu Singh – yesteryear superstars.
“Of course, as much as it excited me, it also made me a little nervous,” he adds.
For Kapoor, some of the most memorable moments came during Chal Hand Uthake Nachche, which features father, son and mother performing alongside the female lead Pallavi Sharda. Sung by Daler Mehndi, Mika Singh and Sunidhi Chauhan, the sequence offers a delightful medley of outlandish costumes and hip-shaking dance moves.
And while his dad has been acting pretty much non-stop since his 1970 debut, mum Neetu Singh put her film career on the back burner when the couple married after 1983’s Ganga Meri Maa. She made a comeback in 2009 with Love Aaj Kal in a cameo appearance opposite her husband, which was so well-received by the audience that the couple made a second and third appearance in Do Dooni Chaar (2010) and Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012). Besharam is their fourth such stint: they play an inspector and head constable. This time around, Singh, known for mostly romantic roles in her heyday, is all about the action, even wielding a gun.
The film, directed by Abhinav Kashyap, is about a street-smart orphan-turned-mechanic named Babli (Ranbir Kapoor) who steals cars to support his orphanage, which puts the inspector constable hot on his trail.
The happy-go-lucky loudmouth Babli has romantic inclinations towards Tara (Pallavi Sharda) but needs a few hard knocks before he takes his own feelings seriously.
The oddball comedy’s light plot was a change of pace for Ranbir Kapoor, who divulged that he had to grow his chest hair out for the part. His last comedy was 2009’s Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani.
“I have done a lot of serious, coming-of-age roles,” he said. “For me, a comic role is a bigger challenge.”
• Besharam is out in theatres across the UAE on October 3.
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