Ranveer Singh or Ranbir Kapoor: Next decade in Bollywood may be theirs, but who will lead the charge?

Karishma Upadhyay

Feb 12, 2019 10:04:35 IST

Ranveer Singh’s Simmba has been rocking cinemas for the past five weeks and his Valentine’s day release, Gully Boy is one of the most-anticipated films of 2019. It’s no wonder, then, that Bollywood’s money men are buzzing about the actor’s newfound 'golden goose' status.

Times have changed since having one of the three Khans in a film was a near-guarantee of success. Given the duds they delivered last year, Bollywood is looking for their next crop of 'superstars', the kind of actors who draw crowds and keep the box office ringing. But is Ranveer then, the only candidate in the fray? The two films that did better than Simmba in 2018 were Padmaavat and Sanju. While Padmaavat leaned equally on the star power of Ranveer and Deepika, Sanju was a hit that was delivered on a performance by one man and one man alone—Ranbir Kapoor.

The Ranveer vs Ranbir comparisons have gathered steam over the past year, and most believe that the next decade in Bollywood will belong to these two actors. And apart from the subtle variation in their given names, there’s very little else that’s similar about the two.

Ranveer Singh; Ranbir Kapoor. Images via Twitter

Ranveer Singh; Ranbir Kapoor. Images via Twitter

Outsider vs Insider

Ranbir Kapoor’s was easily the most anticipated launch Bollywood has seen since the turn of the millennium. Born into Bollywood royalty, his future in films was never in doubt; it was more about how big the canvas would be. Having assisted Bhansali on Black, Ranbir found that canvas. When Saawariya went head to head with a Shah Rukh Khan-starrer on the Diwali weekend of 2007, few could have predicted the disastrous reception the film would get at the box office. Ranbir still walked away smelling like roses, with millions of teenage fangirls, and reportedly already in talks with Yashraj for their next.

Ranveer, on the other hand, was literally the guy who came from nowhere. Very little was known about this Sindhi boy from Mumbai, and most people believed he was some Yashraj discovery from Delhi. Armed with an American degree in creative writing and some acting classes, Ranveer did the rounds and auditioned for several roles before he got his first break at Yashraj. His debut film, Band Baaja Baaraat, opposite Anushka Sharma had a comparatively muted release but went on to do decent business at the box office and became one of the sleeper hits of 2010. Ranveer had to wait for another year before his next film would release, another Yashraj film, Ladies vs. Ricky Bahl. The film bombed at the box office and most people were left wondering if he was a one hit wonder.

Success And Failures

Despite the dud debut, Ranbir continued to get big-ticket films and by 2011, had successes like Bachna Ae Haseeno, Wake Up Sid and Rajneeti under his belt. He also experimented with a non-commercial film like Rocket Singh during this period and won the hearts of critics, who began to see shades of Aamir Khan in the young actor. While he fit the chocolate-boy stereotype for regular romantic fare, Ranbir continued demonstrating his skills as an actor to be reckoned with and in 2013, swept most of the awards with his performance in Barfi. He also had one of his biggest commercial hits in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani during the same year, and had truly arrived by now. If there was one thing that wasn’t going his way, it was his inability to deliver a successful out-and-out masala film—his sole attempt at doing a truly mass film, Besharam, flopped miserably at the box office.

Ranveer, in the meantime, had made a return of sorts in 2013, with two diametrically opposite films, and mixed results. His pairing up with Sanjay Leela Bhansali for the first of three films delivered his first big hit, Ram Leela. The actor also had Lootera in the same year, a film that fared badly but got him noticed for his acting abilities. Many still consider the Vikramaditya Motwane film to be Ranveer’s best ever role, and arguably the one that firmly planted him in the industry as a future superstar.

Flamboyant vs Reserved

The last five years then, have seen both actors slowly grow into fledgling superstars, each with their own die-hard fan following. Like their roots and rise in the industry, the two actors are as different as chalk and cheese off-screen as well. While Ranveer is seen by some as being loud and flamboyant, Ranbir is seen as shy and reserved; Ranveer’s style is outlandish while Ranbir’s is muted.

Their role choices, in a way, reflect their individual personalities, with Ranveer doing a wide range of larger-than-life characters. He’s been seen in periodicals playing Bajirao Mastani, and a villainous Khilji in Padmaavat. He’s played the hip millennial in Dil Dhadakne Do and the mass hero in Simmba. His role in Gully Boy, of a Mumbai street rapper couldn’t be a more unexpected choice but a little thing like rapping was never going to stop this man. If one had to dig deep and accuse him of being repetitive, it’s only because he’ll be seen in another periodical, Takht, a year and a half from now.

Ranbir, on the other hand, has had a more conservative filmography, with the coming-of-age character he plays in no less than four films—Wake Up Sid, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Tamasha and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. Barring a few roles like Barfi, Sanju, Rockstar and Jagga Jasoos, Ranbir has mostly played the young romantic hero.

The mark of a true superstar, one might argue, is the ability to appeal across audiences and play all kinds of roles. And, for that, this is what gives Ranveer an edge over Ranbir.

Updated Date: Feb 12, 2019 10:25:55 IST