Raj Kumar Hirani’s Sanju is not only the biggest hit of 2018, it also proves that a brilliant actor like Ranbir Kapoor can never be written off. After the crippling failure of big ambitious films like Besharam and Bombay Velvet (the two films were directed by the brothers Abhinav and Anurag Kashyap), Roy and Jagga Jasoos (directed by Ranbir’s ‘friends’ Vikramjit Singh and Anurag Basu) Ranbir’s career was being written off, when Raj Kumar Hirani offered him Sanju. The rest as they say is history.
A close friend of the actor says the last one year has been agonizing for Ranbir. “And not just Ranbir. His parents had to helplessly watch as Ranbir agreed to do film after wrong film offered by directors who professed friendship with the actor and then betrayed his trust.”
Not many people know that Ranveer Singh had been finalized for Bombay Velvet. Then suddenly Ranbir got interested in the project and Ranveer was out. That’s how Ranbir got into the doomed project.
A close friend says Ranbir’s father Rishi Kapoor was against Ranbir doing both Bombay Velvet and Jagga Jasoos. “Chintuji (Rishi Kapoor) has a wonderful script sense, as we all know. He implored Ranbir to run his projects through him. But Ranbir wouldn’t listen. Only after Jagga Jasoos flopped miserably, did Ranbir relent and agree to consult his father about the scripts offered to him,” divulges a family friend of the Kapoors, adding that Ranbir now consults two people about which projects to accept: his father Rishi Kapoor and Karan Johar.
The brilliant actor learnt his lessons the hard way. The multiple flops proved a crippling blow. The big assignments that were earmarked for Ranbir began to go to younger actors like Ranveer Singh and Varun Dhawan. Shoojit Siracr’s beautiful October which Varun did was originally offered to Ranbir. As for Ranveer Singh, there were too many projects to be mentioned here, where the Kapoor lost out to the Singh.
Sanju came as a godsent. Although most media commentators agree Ranbir couldn’t be written off. Says senior media-person and author Bharati S Pradhan, “Every Friday counts. But definitely not for Ranbir Kapoor. His debut film Saawariya was a disaster. His biggest commercial hit Yeh Jawani Yeh Deewani couldn't cross Rs 200 crore. He's had more commercial failures like Roy, Bombay Velvet and Besharam than any other contemporary star. But never ever was Ranbir written off. It's simply because right from his first step, he's been a brilliant, all-round actor. Unlike most of his colleagues who aimed for and went after stardom, Ranbir stole your heart as an actor. I have never seen a single misstep in his performances whatever the quality or fate of his films. And even if I have issues with calling it an 'honest biography' which Sanju, the film, most certainly is not, I am thrilled that Ranbir's extraordinary performance has fetched him a thumping response from the box-office. It'll always be achche din for him; I don't see any actor match Ranbir's brilliance. Therefore, no, this actor is not as good as his last hit. He's way beyond the box-office as his record has proved again and again.”
Ranbir with Rajkumar Hirani
Ranbir with Rajkumar Hirani
Adds writer-filmmaker-editor Apoorva Asrani, “A star maybe as good as his last hit, but an actor is as good as his last performance. And a good performance lasts far beyond weekend box-office numbers. Ranbir has consistently been a good and sincere actor, and his work in Rocket Singh, Barfi and Rockstar will stand the test of time, irrespective of the film’s earnings. Even in Besharam, though the film may not have worked, Ranbir gave a despicable character his heart and soul & made him immensely watchable. I haven't seen Sanju, and I'm sure he has done a great job there too. I hope he continues to take up challenging roles and keeps the actor alive and evolving.”
Media baron Pritish Nandy agrees Ranbir talent was irrefutable. “Ranbir is one of our finest actors. Hits or misses never count. Not for a serious producer. Nor for a serious actor. He is very good in roles that he enjoys doing.”
Filmmaker Rahul Rawail who is a very close friend of Rishi Kapoor is happy about Ranbir’s return to form. “A good actor is always good! The commercial success is not directly proportionate to talent. The industry, unfortunately equates talent to success.”