The first time I saw Ranbir Kapoor he was sitting in a corner of my hotel room at Taj Lands End. My dear friend Sanjay Leela Bhansali was shooting Saawariya. They packed up for the day and Sanjay announced he was going to meet me. Ranbir and Sonam Kapoor decided to accompany Sanjay.
That’s how I met Ranbir and Sonam for the first time. That evening (it was actually very late in the night) Ranbir sat very quietly in a corner as Sonam chirped on. Ranbir is an observer. He always has been. I thought he would go a lot further than he actually did. But wrong selection of roles, choices based on audacity rather than rationale (which superstar would voluntarily do Roy and Bombay Velvet?) has brought his career to a sort of crossroads.
The actor who benefited most from this was Ranveer Singh. While Ranbir snatched Bombay Velvet from Ranveer (Ranveer’s dates, costumes - everything was finalised) Ranbir refused to do Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram Leela which eventually went to Ranveer. Thus began the actor’s partnership with Bhansali which has lasted through three career-defining films.
Ranbir has no regrets about his career choices. He is not one to live in regrets. He doesn’t feel the need to wonder why some of his career choices did not work.
It would be interesting to see where Ranbir and Ranveer go from here. The next couple of years -- once the pandemic is over -- will prove crucial to their respective careers. I hear Karan Johar, who is fond of both Ranbir and Ranveer, is planning to cast them in a remake of Subhash Ghai’s Ram Lakhan.
While the last two generations of actors are well ensconced in their career, a new generation of superstars has already arrived. This new third generation in 15 years is aviated by Kartik Aaryan, the outsider who has claimed superstardom without any compromises. He has the guts to take on the most complex of roles at such an early phase of his career. Like Alia Bhatt, Kartik has a wishlist of directors he wants to work with. He knows what he wants from his career. And won’t stop at anything to get to his goals. But without any compromises.
Kids adore him. Grandmothers want to cuddle him. For my money and time, Kartik Aaryan is the face of Bollywood’s superstardom in the years to come.
Image source: SpotboyE archive