One of the most happening Bollywood stars, Ranbir Kapoor.
Everyone has an opinion on Ranbir Kapoor. But one opinion is unanimous—that he is the hottest star today. Be it the B-town participants on the Koffee With Karan show, who promptly name him as the most promising actor of the future, or trade pundits who label him as the most saleable actor, or filmmakers who regard him as the most desirable for female fans. A phenomenon called Ranbir Kapoor has certainly swept the industry and the film audience off their feet. So what is it about the young Kapoor which has put him on the top of the popularity charts, and on the wish-list of every filmmaker?
“He was born to act,” is how Siddharth Anand, who has directed him in Bachna Ae Haseeno and Anjaana Anjaani, describes him. “He has a quality that awes the audience. He is one of the few actors who understands the medium and along with Aamir Khan and Saif Ali Khan understands the nuances a performance requires,” reflects Anand.
Trade analyst Amod Mehra scores him above all the newcomers because of his pluck. “There’s no one to match his spontaneity. He’s an extremely lively actor who can get under the skin of any character. Who can forget the scruffy lover of Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani? Wonderfully refreshing!” says Mehra.
On his part, Kapoor, who has inherited a rich legacy, thanks to his parents has always credited his performances to his love for the craft. “I have grown up on films, they are something I eat, sleep and breathe. I love the process of acting,” he had mentioned in an earlier interview.
Kapoor’s draw, it seems, is not just his ability to flesh out his characters with elan and make them real, bringing a lump to the throat as the jilted lover in Saawariya, making every girl’s spirit soar in Ajab.., and livening up a Raajneeti as one of the smashing protagonists. He is also being touted as the next superstar. If Anand says that he awes the audience with his sheer presence, Ramesh Taurani, producer of Ajab… chips in with, “He’s young, he’s enthusiastic and has that X-factor essential for a star. He is well on his way to becoming a superstar.”
However, in this regard, the actor tends to overlook the tag. “It feels good if people think so, but I don’t believe in this superstar stuff. I always think of myself as an actor. If I were to start believing that I am going to be the next superstar and try to behave in that way, it will affect my work,” is Kapoor’s thinking.
But even such astounding success in a span of three years, what is unsettling the actor are the controversies of his affairs with Katrina Kaif, his Rockstar co-star Nargis Fakhri and Anushka Sharma, marring his image, and making him out to be a Casanova. This was evident at an event when the actor requested the media to stop tarnishing his image. “Every day when I open the papers I am linked with one girl or the other. Not only are my parents affected but I also feel terrible about all this. Now I am so scared that I feel that even if I go out with a guy I will be linked with him. If I have someone or I want to marry I will tell the whole world about it. The media must understand that my family and I get affected by these rumours, and this tirade against me should stop,” said Kapoor.
However, filmmakers and trade pundits brush off thoughts that the image will make a dent in his star-status, or affect his work. “On the contrary, Ranbir’s romantic liaisons have made him more desirable among his female fans, and have enhanced his star status,” says Mehra.
The statement is concurred by another trade analyst, Komal Nahata, “If anything, reports about his dating several girls have only added to the charm,” he says. “Actors are beyond all this. Take Salman Khan or even an international actor like Johnny Depp. They have a distinct image and nothing can affect that, even multiple flings,” is Anand’s opinion.
The BRAND Ambassador
Ranbir Kapoor is currently the face of Pepsico, Panasonic India, John Players and Nissan Motors. International brands are known to tinker a lot before deciding who will represent their company. But the actor seems to meet global standards – as a representative from Panasonic India said, “We conducted research and wanted our brand ambassador to meet five dimensions-an established personality, able to create excitement, have a competent personality, be a premium brand himself and should be seasoned. For us, Ranbir Kapoor’s cool and trendy image was a perfect match.”
Kiminobu Tokuyama, Managing Director and CEO, Nissan Motors, concurred, and added, “Ranbir Kapoor acts as a perfect catalyst to communicate brand attributes. He enthralls the Indian customer, bringing them alive through his persona and charm.”
For the current IPL season, Tata Docomo has signed the rising star of Bollywood as its brand ambassador. “We think Tata Docomo is an inspirational brand and so is the charm and personality of Ranbir Kapoor. It’s a great match,” Gurinder Singh Sandhu, Head Corporate Marketing – Tata Teleservices, said.
Brand campaigners are not surprised at the turn of events. “Ranbir has an instant connect with the youth. He is a combination of pedigree, personality and success that attracts brands to him,” social commentator and advertising professional Santosh Desai added.
Ironically, Ranbir’s appeal lies in his uniqueness rather than any macho quality that brands would want to exploit through him. “He is charming and endearing. He is playful and doesn’t take himself too seriously. He’s not very good- looking, neither does he have a killer physique. That’s exactly why the youth identify themselves in him,” Desai added.
Ad guru Prahlad Kakkar also concurs that his non-muscular body and unconventional looks work in his favour. “Ranbir is young and versatile. He’s got a great sense of humour and can laugh at himself. Brands are attracted to him for the pull he has,” he said.
The only aspect now remaining for Ranbir is to become bankable and iconic for brands. As Desai said, “Ranbir is still off-centre. Shah Rukh Khan and Sachin Tendulkar were vital to Pepsico for many years. Ranbir has still to achieve that bankability factor. But that day is not too far off.”