Ae Dil Hai Mushkil's success is very crucial for Ranbir Kapoor, let's not forget
Amidst the entire Pakistani artistes’ controversy, and the subsequent Karan Johar-MMS fracas, the focus has shifted from Ranbir Kapoor and that Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (2016) is in fact, a very important film for the young actor.
Often assumed as the brightest star of his generation, Ranbir comes to Ae Dil Hai Mushkil close on the heels of one of the biggest flops of his career – Bombay Velvet (2015). Ranbir’s inability to sell Bombay Velvet, and before that Besharam (2013), coupled with the failure of Roy (2015) and the lackluster run of Tamasha (2015), have not only cast doubts about his stardom but made Ae Dil Hai Mushkil almost like a litmus test.
Lately, Ranbir Kapoor has been in the news for his alleged break-up with Katrina Kaif. The focus has been also on the incessant delays that have marred Jagga Jasoos, his follow-up with Anurag Basu after Barfi (2015), one of his last big hits.
The scale of Bombay Velvet — that was rumored to have a budget of almost Rs. 120 cr — was largely possible due to the Ranbir’s presence and therefore its failure, too, consequently impacted him the most. His decision to work in a film that could have been a meeting point of the popular cinema that he was the poster boy of and art-house sensibilities that were to be provided by director Anurag Kashyap, had all the right intentions but unfortunately the end result was something else.
In hindsight, Bombay Velvet appears to be a wrong choice on Ranbir’s part and the reactions echoed the sentiments that followed Besharam. If with Bombay Velvet Ranbir was attempting to be a focal point for typical ‘Bollywood’ and the new Hindi cinema, with Besharam his intentions were much simpler. The film was a ploy to try his hand at a typical masala Hindi film where he could be seen as the next star after the Khans, to get single screen audiences and even the frontbenchers.
Looking at Ranbir’s career, what is eminently clear is that he follows his gut instinct when it comes to making a choice. Although this works out on most occasions - Wake Up Sid (2009), Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani (2009), Rockstar (2011) and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013), it has a tendency to fail miserably as well - Anjaana Anjaani(2010) and Besharam.
But more than his instinct, Ranbir also seems to operate within a certain Chopra-Johar circle of comfort and this, too, at times comes up with interesting offers (read Rocket Singh- Salesman of the Year (2009) via Yash Raj Films) but limits the chances of experimenting. Among the films that Ranbir has reportedly rejected include Bang Bang and 2 States (2014). While the latter was standard Bollywood fare, the former could have been the action flick that he was seeking.
He has also supposedly refused Ranveer Singh’s role in Zoya Akhtar’s Dil Dhadkane Do for he felt playing an onscreen sibling to Kareena Kapoor, who was apparently offered the role Priyanka Chopra ultimately played, was a tad too gimmicky.
It is said that post-Besharam Ranbir’s father and an immensely successful star in his own right, Rishi Kapoor, chastised him for his choice. At that point in time Ranbir was in the midst of Bombay Velvet and if rumors were to be believed he momentarily lost faith in the project. He insisted on viewing all the footage that was canned up until then before he took a final call.
And, post-Bombay Velvet, Kapoor Sr. simply told junior to take stock, which in other words could be interpreted as ‘Speed dial Karan Johar pronto!’ In a career that is just over a decade, Ranbir Kapoor has not had a successful film in nearly four years and that is not what defines a Hindi film star.
Juxtapose, this with the fact that nearly all of Ranbir’s recent roles look the same when compared to a Ranveer Singh, whose Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela (2013), Lootera (2013), Bajirao Mastani (2015) and Dil Dhadkane Do (2015) all standout. Could this be the reason why Ranbir has decided to play it safe with Ae Dil Hai Muskhil, which seems to be a hands down box office winner?
Intriguingly enough while Ranveer Singh, and to an extent Varun Dhawan, are conspicuously trying to fill the Salman Khan-Akshay Kumar space, Ranbir Kapoor seems to have made up his mind to vie for the space Shah Rukh Khan occupies. He is not as keen on experimenting with either his looks or variation in roles that Ranveer Singh has managed.
Ranveer was last seen as a Peshwa (Bajirao Mastani), a spoilt brat (Dil Dhadkane Do) and will now become an urban Lothario in Aditya Chopra’s Befikre, followed by Alauddin Khilji in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s upcoming Padmavati. There are also talks of Ranveer reprising Abhishek Bachchan’s ACP Jai Dixit in the next installment of Dhoom.
There is no doubt about the potential that Ranbir Kapoor possesses. However, his resolution of doing a sure shot crowd-pleaser like Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is perhaps making a pit-stop before he gets back in. After all, like Bono said, ‘If you want to kiss the sky, better learn how to kneel.’