In his new film Besharam, Ranbir Kapoor lampoons the superstar Shah Rukh Khan. Fans of the king of Bollywood are furious, but can they not see that Kapoor is next in line to the throne?
Ranbir Kapoor: Bollywood's next king
In the newly released trailer of the forthcoming Hindi film Besharam, there’s a scene in which Ranbir Kapoor relieves himself in a mustard field while singing Tujhe Dekha Toh Yeh Jaana Sanam.
Considered Bollywood’s most revered love song, it features in the 1995 cult classic Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge (DDLJ), the movie that cemented Shah Rukh Khan’s place as Bollywood’s top romantic hero, and has the superstar cavorting with the actress Kajol in the aforementioned field.
Apoplectic with rage at Kapoor’s audacity, fans have taken to Twitter and other social media to vent their anger. While their grammar may be suspect, their loyalty is not: “SRK is legend of Bollywood. Ranbir is crazy,” says one fan. “How can he making fun of DDLJ?” asks another. “SRK is rocking; Ranbir is nobody,” proclaims a third.
This is laughable. First of all, a little irreverence never did anyone any harm. Second of all, Ranbir Kapoor isn’t a nobody. Third, he’s a better actor than Khan.
In his two-decade career, the 47-year-old Khan has, in true masala fashion, sung, danced, fought and cried his way through dozens of blockbusters. He has won eight Filmfare Awards for Best Actor. He is worshipped, yet is also criticised for his over-the-top histrionics, a testament to the fact that he is not, after all, Bollywood’s best.
The flame of his popularity is fanned by the SRK brand, the larger-than-life characters he portrays, and the DDLJ syndrome – the dogged will with which he keeps playing the eternal romantic. Take Chennai Express, out today in the UAE, in which he is paired with Deepika Padukone, 27.
But the 30-year-old Kapoor, who only began his acting career in 2007, is closing in. His claim to fame is not the blue blood that runs in his veins – he is the scion of Bollywood’s first family, who have ruled Hindi cinema for more than 50 years. It’s not his rakish good looks or even the fact that he is a surprisingly agile dancer, a prerequisite of being a Hindi film hero (ask anybody).
It’s his effortless talent. Utterly believable, whether as a cold-blooded politician (Rajneeti, 2010) or a mute, loveable good-for-nothing (Barfi!, 2012), Kapoor has already got four Filmfare Awards for Best Actor (he pipped five others including Khan this year). His last film, 2013’s Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, is the third highest-grossing Hindi blockbuster of all time.
Fans of King Khan, you might want to take a long, hard look at this young man monkeying around in that mustard field. Because he’s going to grab the crown and take off with it before you can say DDLJ.
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