The man for all seasons: Ranveer Singh

 

The man for all seasons: Ranveer Singh

The recently-wedded actor continues to win over fans - and hearts - with his joie de vivre

by

Khalid Mohamed

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Published: Sun 13 Jan 2019, 11:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 13 Jan 2019, 1:00 PM

"It's been a phenomenal year for me," he has exulted, which may amount to stating the obvious. In 2018, after a near six-year courtship, he married his leading lady Deepika Padukone, with all the uber lavishness which has become a hallmark of Bollywood celebrity weddings. Moreover, he started the year with the release of the period pageant Padmaavat and ended it with the cops-versus-crooks actioner Simmba.

Now, that's Ranveer Singh Bhavnani for you. From the very outset, the Mumbai boy had dropped his family surname since he felt it was "too long and full of syllables". At the age of 33, he has toplined 12 films in the last eight years, kicking off with Yash Raj banner's sleeper hit Band Baaja Baaraat (2010). Instantaneously, he was slotted for roles which require an extroverted, street-savvy all-rounder who can carry off the requisite elements of Bollywood romance, dance, comedy and action with equal elan. Not exactly an Adonis in the looks department, he has struck up a high-spirited hey-guys-just-watch-me-now persona, which has connected especially well with the millennial audience.
On the downside, it would seem Ranveer isn't cut for parts that require at least a semblance of restraint and subtlety. This was borne out by his performances as a deceitful archaeologist in Vikramaditya Motwane's Lootera (2013) as well as the reluctant scion of a well-heeled business family in Zoya Akhtar's Dil Dhadakne Do (2015).

He appeared to be reined in, prompting you to wonder if he can ever assert his versatility as a character who, on occasion, uses his brain rather than his brawn. Let's hope that I'm proven wrong in the future. Presently, wearing the suit of the larger-than-life B-town hero is his calling card.

In the popularity stakes, he has outraced the more introspective and controlled actors like Hrithik Roshan, Varun Dhawan, not to forget Rajkummar Rao, who is at his most impressive when he has to essay realistic roles rather than incredible, invincible heroes. In addition, the Bollywood trade considers Ranveer more bankable than even a superstar like Shah Rukh Khan who's been facing a rough patch, exacerbated by the underwhelming collections of the brain-boggling Zero.

Indeed, Ranveer's flying sky high.
Mercifully, he isn't signing up projects indiscriminately to encash on his A-list status. In the works are Zoya Akhtar's Gully Boy, in which he portrays an underprivileged rap dance artist and there's Karan Johar's Mughal-era epic (Takht) of feuding brothers in which he is to portray Dara Shikoh to Vicky Kaushal's Aurangzeb. In sharp contrast, his wife Deepika has opted to act in and produce a slice-of-life film - a biopic on the acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal to be directed by Meghna Gulzar.

Come to think of it, Deepika and Ranveer seem to possess contrasting temperaments. She's gone on record to state that she had suffered severe bouts depression, while Ranveer has been constantly upbeat, laughing away his years of struggle at auditioning for roles in vain. She's impeccably dressed in bespoke ensembles while he tends to go over the top in wildly floral and jazzily-cut outfits at private soirees as well as on screen - which just goes to underscore the fact that opposites attract.

Yet, there isn't a shred of doubt that they are a made-for-each-other twosome, with a glowing Deepika hanging on to the uber-gregarious Ranveer, be it at red carpet events and promotional campaigns or on Instagram posts.
Credit for pairing the chalk-and-cheese couple goes entirely to Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who finessed Ranveer's rough edges while teaming him with Deepika in a triptych of the colourful extravaganzas: Goliyon Ki Raasleela: Ram Leela (2013), a take on the classic Romeo and Juliet love story, Bajirao Mastani (2015), on the tumultuous romance between the Maratha general and the princess of Bundelkhand, and rounded off by Padmaavat (2018), a tribute to a Rajput queen's valour on being coveted by the avaricious Sultan Alauddin Khilji.
The historical accuracy of Bajirao Mastani and Padmaavat was contested by fringe groups and academic purists. Yet, the Bhansali offerings slayed the box office, besides establishing Deepika and Ranveer as a charismatic star pair.
Although a mutually-respectful relationship between Deepika Padukone and the media is still awaited, Ranveer Singh actually goes out of his way to be cordial and even extra-effusive.

Not surprisingly then, at the press preview of Simmba, the actor made it a point to hug every reviewer and reporter who'd turned up in droves for the screening. Ranveer hopped from seat to seat, embracing every journo warmly, some of whom were quite taken aback by the public display of affection. Inevitably, the actor received more than rave reviews for Simmba. This is not to say Ranveer nursed an agenda. He's like that only: instinctively spontaneous.
And so something tells me Ranveer Singh has his head and heart in the right place. To survive in the direly competitive world of show business, a 'dil se' (straight from the heart) smile and a hug go a long way. This is so unlike the attitude of most top stars who forget that the media, in some way or the other, played a minor or major part in helping them climb up the star ladder.
wknd@khaleejtimes.com


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