Ranbir Kapoor became an overnight sensation right in front of my eyes. That was around the same time when I started writing on Bollywood from Mumbai.
As Mr Kapoor hailed from the first family of Bollywood, the media celebrated the moment he announced his debut film.
The star struck Bollywood media continued to celebrate his romantic escapades and relationships after he failed to clinch any amount of success with his debut film. His debut film clashed with Shah Rukh and Farah Khan’s Om Shanti Om and the Mumbai media was obsessed with the fight that ensured between Farah Khan and Sanjay Leela Bhansali rather than concentrate on the newcomers. Even though she ‘defeated’ him, Farah later admitted that it was a mistake to take Bhansali head-on and clash with this film at the box office.
With the responsibility Saawariya’s failure going squarely to Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Ranbir continued with his climb up the Bollywood ladder with his smart choice of films, until recently.
Today Ranbir Kapoor has hit rock bottom with four back-to-back failures at the box office, brands reportedly have started to desert him and event management companies are choosing Katrina Kaif over him for multi-city foreign tours.
Ranbir Kapoor has fallen off the peak for the first time. Times couldn’t have been more challenging for him.
A long, long time back, when I used to write regular articles about Bollywood, I remember wondering whether Ranbir Kapoor was a bigger brand or Imran Khan was.
Though the whole proposition might appear ludicrous now, but there was a time when both Ranbir and Imran were considered the hottest newcomers to have hit the marquee.
Thanks to their influential family members firmly backing them, both had a dream run of sorts.
Ranbir scored with his second film (Bachna Ae Haseeno) and Imran Khan debuted a year later and scored a hit which was backed by Aamir Khan’s legendary marketing skills.
In the same year (2008) Ranbir stormed the box office with Bachna Ae Haseeno. The two were the toast of the town in 2008 and both of them started grabbing one brand endorsement after another.
I remember the two also came on Karan Johar’s show and made it one of the most interesting episodes ever. They also went on to host award functions together and their ‘chemistry’ was the talk of the town too.
Then the two fell apart.
Ranbir hired a rival PR agency and started scoring an edge over Imran after his films started delivering at the box office post Saawariya.
Post Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na, Imran scored a superhit again three years later with Delhi Belly, the marketing of which was again supervised by Aamir Khan under his production house. Post Delhi Belly, Imran’s axis started dipping against Ranbir rapidly. By 2011 (when Delhi Belly released), Ranbir already had three hits and one average to his credit.
By the time, Ranbir delivered Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Imran was almost out of the race. A couple of projects that Imran was starring in, either got stalled or delayed.
Imran Khan is completely out of the race today. But Ranbir Kapoor’s position is no better. With four back-to-back disasters (Besharam, Roy, Bombay Velvet, Tamasha), Ranbir Kapoor’s career is at a precarious position.
The film that he is pinning his hopes is Jagga Jasoos, which has a huge question mark on whether it will be promoted properly as it stars his ex-girlfriend Katrina Kaif with whom he is reportedly not on good terms at the moment.
Ranbir Kapoor was the ‘star of the decade’ even one year back. But today, post Tamasha, nobody is in a hurry to announce projects with him.
The effect is showing on his brand endorsements too. Reportedly, he has been replaced by a younger Varun Dhawan to endorse a popular potato chips brand. The media has also reported about how he has lost a shampoo brand and a car company that he was already endorsing.
On top of that Ranbir opted out of the ‘Dream Team’ which will be touring America as it was reportedly a choice between Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif for the organisers, who decided not to drop Katrina leaving Ranbir with little choice.
Ranbir is, where Imran Khan was, a few years back.
God forbid, if the ambitious project with Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan Ae Dil Hai Mushkil fails to garner 100-crores at the box office then our Kapoor scion might be surely following the footsteps of his former friend Imran Khan.
This is Ranbir Kapoor’s litmus test.
Ask any star and they will say that these phases are legendary in Bollywood. It is the toughest time of your life when your films start flopping at the box office, you start losing the brands you endorse and some of the best projects that you are negotiating, suddenly fizzle out.
Every actor will tell you that going through these phases are the most difficult. The depression and anxiety this phase brings… will test any human being to the core. A lot of actors aren’t able to negotiate the sharp turns that this phase brings with it. Some of the best acting talents and stars in Bollywood haven’t been able to come out of this phase. Examples are aplenty.
But this is also the phase that tests whether you are made up of star material or not. All the superstars of today – including the three Khans – have gone through this phase. They have reached rock bottom before they soared higher again.
But then, you need to get over this bad patch and come back stronger.
Will Ranbir Kapoor get his mojo back? The industry needs stars like Ranbir Kapoor back in form to maintain an equilibrium in Bollywood.
Without Ranbir Kapoor hitting a century at the box office again, Bollywood will continue to be polarized by the Khan uncles.
It’s a shame that box-office performance has become the only indicator of success in Bollywood. Of course money is important because filmmaking is a hugely expensive endeavor. But in Bollywood (and often, Hollywood) actors/directors/producers who actually take artistic risks are usually punished if they don’t rake in “enough” money. Ranbir has made interesting choices throughout his career, instead of just coasting on the Kapoor name. He’s obviously interested in challenging himself and growing as an artiste. I hope he continues to find good work with directors who straddle the “art/commerce” divide.
Ranbir has a lot of scope.Even BigB was in this phase in mid/late 90’s. It’s a passing phase.He will soar very high if cast in Shammi Kapoor’s &Rishi’s image/remakes.Like Teesri Manzil,Khel Khel Mein type.Wishing him the best