Ranveer Singh: A Star Like No One Else

04 Jan,2019

 

 

By Shailesh Kapoor

 

The last Bollywood release of 2018, Rohit Shetty’s Simmba, is buzzing at the box office. The film’s extraordinary run in its first week puts it in a firm position to be the third-biggest Hindi language grosser of the year after Sanju and Padmaavat. While the full-blown mainstream entertainment package delivered by the film works as its biggest plus, Simmba benefits in no small measure from an inspired no-holds-barred yet mature performance by its male lead Ranveer Singh.

If there is such a thing as taking a role by the scruff of its neck and owning it completely, Ranveer Singh has done that twice over last year. His January performance as Alauddin Khilji in Padmaavat had the audiences and the critics applauding him. Simmba is arguably a more towering performance, where Singh plays to the gallery for most part, delivering comic punches and clap-traps by the minute, till the film enters a certain emotional space, into which he transforms seamlessly, almost like he’s living the character’s journey – an incredible feat to achieve in a film that’s essentially designed to be larger-than-life and hence definitionally unreal.

But it’s not just these two performances that have set up Ranveer Singh as the potential No. 1 Bollywood star in the coming years. There’s an off-screen persona that’s so unique and effervescent that it makes him stand out in a crowd of vain stars living in their bubble of (often self-fulfilling) stardom.

Watch Ranveer Singh in this Actors Roundtable with Rajeev Masand. He’s clearly the biggest star on the table. But he’s also the most generous and fun-loving one of the lot. Early in the discussion, he praises Rajkummar Rao and Pankaj Tripathi for their film Newton. Towards the latter half of the show, he develops a rapport with the much-respected Tripathi. Watch them bond and you know Ranveer Singh doesn’t wear his stardom on his sleeve. Or anywhere for that matter. He goes on to compliment Tripathi on his film Gurgaon. The 2017 indie film got a limited release and hardly any takers at the box office, though it has since been discovered by many on Netflix. In an industry where people are too busy and self-occupied to watch other people’s work (some even say so proudly!), here’s a top star who’s had a busy year with two films, a high-profile marriage and several endorsements, but has somehow managed to watch a film many others may not even have heard of.

This accessibility and generosity are such uncommon celebrity traits that you actually wonder if this is all a charade the man could be putting up to project a certain image. But the more you see and learn about him, you know that’s him for real. He’s a genuine, one-in-a-million outlier. And one with immense talent.

In this episode of ETC Bollywood Business, watch (from 4:07) Simmba’s dialogue writer Farhad Samji respond to a question by anchor Komal Nahta on how Ranveer Singh responded to the script narration of the film. Or watch him on any reality show. Or watch him speak about Deepika Padukone. Or watch him dress bizarrely and then talk nonchalantly about his ‘fashion sense’. Watch him anywhere, doing anything. It’s a curious case of talent meets energy meets humility.

Only time will tell how big a star Ranveer Singh turns out to be. But one thing is already certain: He’s a star like no one else. And he shall shine bright for that reason alone.

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