Ranbir Kapoor

Last Updated on August 29, 2020

Ranbir Kapoor  is an Indian film actor. He is one of the highest-paid actors of Hindi cinema and has featured in Forbes India‘s Celebrity 100 list since 2012. Kapoor is the recipient of several awards, including six Filmfare Awards.

Ranbir Kapoor - Biography India
Born28 September 1982 (age 37)
Bombay, Maharashtra, India
EducationSchool of Visual ArtsLee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute
OccupationFilm actor
Years active2007–present
WorksFull list
Parent(s)Rishi KapoorNeetu Singh
RelativesSee Kapoor family
AwardsFull list

The son of actors Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh, and the grandson of actor-director Raj Kapoor, Kapoor pursued filmmaking and method acting at the School of Visual Arts and the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, respectively. He subsequently assisted Sanjay Leela Bhansali on the film Black (2005) and made his acting debut with Bhansali’s tragic romance Saawariya (2007), a critical and commercial failure. Kapoor rose to prominence in 2009 with his performances in the coming-of-age film Wake Up Sid, the romantic comedy Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, and the drama Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year. His most widely seen film in this period came with the political drama Raajneeti (2010).

The romantic drama Rockstar (2011), in which he played a troubled musician, and the comedy-drama Barfi! (2012), in which he played a cheerful deaf-and-mute man, earned Kapoor two consecutive Best Actor awards at Filmfare. A starring role opposite Deepika Padukone in the romantic comedy Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013) established him as a leading Bollywood actor. He followed this with roles in a series of films that did not perform well commercially, with the exception of the romance Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (2016). This changed in 2018 when Kapoor portrayed Sanjay Dutt in Rajkumar Hirani’s biopic Sanju, one of the highest-grossing Indian films of all time, for which he won another Filmfare Award for Best Actor.

In addition to acting in films, Kapoor supports charities and causes. He is also a co-owner of the Indian Super League football team Mumbai City FC.

Early life and background

Kapoor was born on 28 September 1982 in Bombay (now Mumbai) to Rishi and Neetu, both actors of the Hindi film industry. He is the great-grandson of Prithviraj Kapoor and the grandson of actor-director Raj. His elder sister, Riddhima (born 1980), is an interior and fashion designer. The actresses Karisma and Kareena Kapoor are his first cousins. Kapoor was educated at the Bombay Scottish School in Mahim. As a student, he found little interest in academics and would rank low among his peers. However, he has stated that he performed better in sports, particularly football.Kapoor with his parents Rishi(right) and Neetu in 2013.

Ranbir Kapoor - Biography India
Kapoor with his parents Rishi (right) and Neetu in 2013

Kapoor has been vocal about how his parent’s troubled marriage affected him as a child: “Sometimes the fights would get really bad. I would be sitting on the steps, my head between my knees, till five or six in the morning, waiting for them to stop”.[9] These experiences led to a “reservoir of emotions building up inside [him]”, which he said compelled him to develop an interest in film. In his early years, Kapoor was close to his mother, but had a dysfunctional relationship with his father. After completing his tenth standard examinations, he worked as an assistant director to his father on the film Aa Ab Laut Chalen (1999), during which he developed a closer bond with him.

After completing his pre-university education from the H.R. College of Commerce and Economics, Kapoor relocated to New York City to learn film-making at the School of Visual Arts, and subsequently pursued method acting at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. In film school, Kapoor directed and starred in two short films, entitled Passion to Love and India 1964. The loneliness of living alone in New York City coupled with his experience in film school, which he described as “useless”, inspired him to pursue a career in Bollywood. Upon returning to Mumbai, Kapoor was hired as an assistant director to Sanjay Leela Bhansali on the 2005 film Black. He described the experience: “I was getting beaten up, abused, doing everything from cleaning the floor to fixing the lights from 7 am to 4 am, but I was learning every day.” He later remarked that his motive for working on Black was to get Bhansali to offer him an acting job.


Commercial struggles and resurgence (2014–present)

After a year-long absence from the screen, Kapoor featured as a mysterious thief in Roy (2015), a romantic thriller which critic Sarita Tanwar described as a “boring, exhausting and pretentious” film. The series of financial failures continued with his next release, the Anurag Kashyap-directed crime drama Bombay Velvet, based on the historian Gyan Prakash’s book Mumbai Fables, which also starred Anushka Sharma and Karan Johar. Kapoor portrayed an ambitious boxer in the 1960s who is drawn towards a life of crime; he based his tapori diction on Johnny Walker’s character in Mr. & Mrs. ’55 (1955). Made on a budget of ₹1.2 billion (US$17 million), the film opened to meager box-office collections and mixed reviews from critics. Ritika Bhatia of Business Standard found Kapoor’s part to be a departure from his previous roles, writing that he “does test the waters with methodical sincerity but his portrayal lacks depth on occasion”. Bombay Velvet was eventually screened at the Locarno and Bucheon film festivals.Kapoor at an event for Jagga Jasoos in 2017

Ranbir Kapoor - Biography India
Ranbir Kapoor – Biography IndiaRanbir Kapoor – Biography IndiaKapoor at an event for Jagga Jasoos in 2017

Kapoor next reunited with Deepika Padukone in Tamasha (2015), a romantic drama from Imtiaz Ali. He played the role of Ved Sahni, a man who desires a career in the arts but settles for a life of monotony as an engineer. Once again, the film failed commercially and received mixed reviews from critics. Kapoor’s performance was praised; Lisa Tsering of The Hollywood Reporter wrote, “Kapoor is beautifully cast, his trademark mix of assertive theatricality and subtle emotion well suited to the role of a man who seemingly has it all under control, until he doesn’t.” Kapoor’s career prospect briefly improved in 2016 when he took on the lead role of an aspiring musician in Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (2016). The romantic drama, co-starring Anushka Sharma and Aishwarya Rai, tells the story of unrequited love, and proved to be one of the highest-grossing Bollywood films of the year. Critical reception was mixed; Joe Leydon of Variety thought that “Kapoor [is] often erring on the side of annoying while trying to balance vulnerability and self-centeredness”. Both Tamasha and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil earned Kapoor Best Actor nominations at Filmfare.

In a collaboration with director Anurag Basu, Kapoor formed a production company named Picture Shuru Productions, whose first release was the musical comedy-mystery film Jagga Jasoos (2017), which tells the story of a gifted teenager’s search for his missing stepfather. Production on the project was plagued with difficulties—principal photography began in 2014, but the release date was pushed back several times owing to changes in the script, multiple reshoots, and rumours of animosity between Kapoor and co-star Katrina Kaif (the couple had broken-up before they finished filming). Anna M. M. Vetticad of Firstpost considered the film to be “a laudable experiment that zigzags off course”, and while praising Kapoor’s dedication to his part, criticised the decision to cast him as a teenage schoolboy. It did not perform well commercially which led Kapoor to regret his venture into production.

In 2018, Kapoor portrayed the actor Sanjay Dutt in Rajkumar Hirani’s biopic Sanju. It deals with Dutt’s troubled relationship with his father, his drug addiction, and arrest for illegal possession of firearms. Kapoor was keen to avoid a hagiographic narrative and did not want to mimic Dutt’s mannerisms. He interacted extensively with Dutt and took a month’s time to transform himself physically before filming each phase of the actor’s life. Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV thought that despite dramatic liberties, the film had successfully portrayed Dutt’s complexity, and wrote that Kapoor “pulls out the stops in astonishingly effective ways, subsuming his personality into that of the protagonist”. Uday Bhatia of Mint was more critical for making Dutt too sympathetic despite his misdeeds, and wrote that Kapoor’s “imitation (astonishing at times) takes over the performance”. Sanju‘s strong financial performance re-established Kapoor’s stardom. With earnings of over ₹5.79 billion (US$81 million), it emerged as one of Indian cinema’s biggest earners and Kapoor’s highest-grossing release. He won another Best Actor award at Filmfare.

Upcoming projects

As of March 2019, Kapoor has three upcoming projects. He will feature opposite Alia Bhatt in Ayan Mukerji’s fantasy film trilogy, the first of which is named Brahmastra. He has committed to play a dacoit in Karan Malhotra’s period adventure film Shamshera, alongside Vaani Kapoor and Sanjay Dutt, and will star with Ajay Devgn in Luv Ranjan’s as-yet untitled action thriller.

Personal life

Kapoor and Katrina Kaif in 2015

Ranbir Kapoor - Biography India
Kapoor and Katrina Kaif in 2015

Kapoor has been vocal about his personal life, and has stated that his parents’ marriage taught him how complex a relationship can be. He had his first serious relationship while in the seventh grade, and suffered from depression when it ended. While filming Bachna Ae Haseeno in 2008, Kapoor began dating his co-star Deepika Padukone . The relationship attracted substantial media coverage in India and they speculated on an impending engagement. However, the couple broke up a year later.Kapoor maintained that the split was amicable, though the media widely reported that the split was due to infidelity on Kapoor’s part. Kapoor later confessed: “Yes, I have, out of immaturity, out of inexperience, out of taking advantage of certain temptations, out of callousness. Later in 2015, Kapoor stated that they both had resolved the conflict and had moved on with their lives. Since the split, he has been reticent to publicly discuss his personal life.

Rumours of an affair with Katrina Kaif first emerged during the production of Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani in 2009. In August 2013, a set of paparazzi photographs of Kapoor and Kaif at a beach in Spain were published by Stardust. Although Kapoor initially declined to speak of the relationship, he admitted to it in 2015: “Both of us are sure about our relationship and if we don’t open about it now, it would be showing disrespect to the relationship. As of February 2016, the media reported that they had broken up. In 2018, he began dating Alia Bhatt, his co-star in Brahmastra (2019). He also admitted to being addicted to smoking and drinking.

Off-screen work

Kapoor at the NDTV Marks for Sports event in 2012

Ranbir Kapoor - Biography India
Kapoor at the NDTV Marks for Sports event in 2012

In addition to acting, Kapoor is a football enthusiast and supports charities and organisations. He is the vice-captain of the All Stars Football Club, a celebrity football club that raises money for charity. In March 2013, he played the game to raise funds for the Magic Funds Organisation, an NGO for underprivileged children. Along with the chartered accountant Bimal Parekh, Kapoor acquired ownership rights in 2014 for the Mumbai-based football team of the Indian Super League, named Mumbai City FC. Also that year, Kapoor announced his participation with the digital music company Saavn as a content and programming adviser. In 2016, he featured in the documentary series Girls with Goals, to create awareness about and raise funds for YUWA, an all-girls football team in the state of Jharkhand.

Kapoor supports the empowerment of the girl child and is the goodwill ambassador of Shabana Azmi’s Mijwan Welfare Society, an NGO which helps empower women. He supports environmental charities, and in 2011 donated money to the Community Water Initiative, a charitable organisation owned by PepsiCo. In 2012, he appeared alongside other celebrities in a short film by Zoya Akhtar to generate awareness on breast cancer.He is the campaign ambassador for NDTV’s Marks for Sports, a nationwide initiative to promote fitness and health in India. In 2013, Kapoor participated in an auction on eBay, where the highest bidder gets an opportunity to interact with him; the proceeds were donated to Save the Children, a non-profit organisation that raised funds for flood affected households in Uttarakhand. That same year, he appeared alongside other celebrities in a commercial, produced by the National Film Development Corporation of India, to create awareness about children’s education. In December 2014, Kapoor again took part in an eBay auction; the phiran he wore in Rockstar was sold, with proceeds going to the redevelopment of the flood-ravaged states of Kashmir and Assam. Kapoor had also fronted a campaign to collect donations for the victims of the April 2015 Nepal earthquake. In 2015, he presented 2,000 raincoats to the Mumbai traffic police as an appreciation for their service during the year’s heavy monsoon. In 2018, Kapoor collaborated with Aamir Khan’s Paani Foundation to help local farmers and villagers suffering from drought in parts of Maharastra.

In the media

Kapoor at an event for Indian Idol in 2012

Born into a family of popular actors, Kapoor faced the media spotlight from a young age; Hindustan Times published that “he was always a star kid from whom everyone had great expectations”. Despite the failure of his first film (Saawariya), IANS reported that he “rose like [a] meteor on film firmament by giving compelling performances in films like RaajneetiRockstar and [..] Barfi![ Discussing the commercial viability of Kapoor, Apoorva Mehta (the COO of Dharma Productions) noted in 2013, “In a short career span of 10 films, Ranbir Kapoor has achieved a tremendous jump in the business done by his films.” Also that year, The Economic Times credited him as “the most bankable actor of his generation”.However, following the success of Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, each of Kapoor’s releases under-performed at the box-office. This led trade journalists to criticise his choice of films, noting that his inclination towards experimental projects negatively impacted his commercial appeal.

Ranbir Kapoor - Biography India
Kapoor at an event for Indian Idol in 2012

Nationally, Kapoor is one of the most popular and high-profile celebrities. In 2012 and 2013 Forbes featured him among the top twenty in India’s Celebrity 100, a list based on the income and popularity of the country’s celebrities. For the next two years, he was ranked 11th with an estimated annual earning of ₹93.25 crore (US$13 million) and ₹85 crore (US$12 million) respectively, making him one of the highest-paid actors in the country. Kapoor has frequently featured in Rediff.com’s annual listing of “Bollywood’s Best Actors”; he was ranked second in 2009, first in 2011, third in 2012, and held the sixth position in 2015.

Kapoor has been cited as one of the most attractive Indian celebrities by the media. He has featured on The Times of India‘s listing of the ‘Most Desirable Man’ from 2010 to 2015, ranking among the top ten each year. In 2009 People magazine listed him as the “Sexiest Man Alive” in India, and in 2013 he topped Filmfare‘s poll of the “Most Stylish Young Actor”. Also in 2013, he was one of the recipients of the “People of the Year” award by the Limca Book of Records. In 2010, he was voted the “Sexiest Asian Man” in a poll conducted by the magazine Eastern Eye. Kapoor continued to feature among the top ten of the list from 2011 to 2014. Kapoor is also the celebrity endorser for various brands and services, including Pepsi, Panasonic, Renault India, Lenovo and the Spanish football club FC Barcelona.

Awards and nominations

Ranbir Kapoor - Biography India

Kapoor has been the recipient of six Filmfare Awards: Best Male Debut for Saawariya (2007), Critics Award for Best Actor for Wake Up Sid (2009), Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani (2009), and Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year (2009) (jointly for the three films), and Rockstar (2011), and Best Actor awards for RockstarBarfi! (2012), and Sanju (2018).

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