Dubai: He’s cute, awkward, gangly and not all that socially skilled. Yet there’s an undeniable charm about Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor, as was plainly evident at a media conference on Wednesday afternoon.
Kapoor, who was in town with co-star Priyanka Chopra to promote their new movie Barfi, revealed with a shy smile that his on-screen character Barfi is now available as a YouTube application called Barfi-PataoShala.
“It’s a brilliant new way to connect with people online,” he says. “By typing different words, one can make Barfi do various different things. Even vulgar ones!”
And right there, in the midst of a moment that could have been all his, he holds his hand up to his mouth, making childish jokes about talking with sweets in his mouth and mumbling an apology. And in a move that sets the tone for the rest of the conference, Chopra pips in with a joke to gain control of the proceedings.
The actress is clearly in charge. There’s no mistaking who calls the shots. Dressed provocatively in a black and white thigh-high dress and sky-high red heels, Chopra slithers around the room like a kitten in stripes. Friendly, but far away. A watch-but-don’t-touch look written across her face. Watching her co-star with empathy, their relationship is clear. Any chemistry one may have romanticised about is non-existent. She is clearly the teacher, while Kapoor is so obviously a newcomer. While he spends the afternoon fidgeting with everything from his T-shirt to water bottles and glasses, Chopra makes unblinking eye contact every time she’s asked a question. Her voice turns husky and she purrs out deep, morally-upright answers to even generic questions. Her answers are calculated, politically correct and thoroughly executed.
Kapoor meanwhile, giggles like a schoolboy, talking about how Barfi “is a happy film. Please come and watch it”. He does his best to lighten the mood in the room, joking with Chopra about being named Sexiest Man Alive, that Kapoor is still un-jaded is what adds to his boyish charisma. He’s charming no doubt, but not quite polished enough to pull it off.
Maybe Barfi will be a hit. Or maybe not. But what it surely will do is attract a whole new audience. For not only is Kapoor a bonafide actor in his own right, he’s also Bollywood’s first virtual star.
Barfi releases in the UAE on September 13.