For a man who made his debut in 2007, Ranbir Kapoor has indeed done well to be among the top stars of Bollywood in a short span. This son of veterans Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh has carved a niche for himself with his own brand of acting.

In the 16 years of his career, the quintessential chocolate box hero has also shown a streak for experimentation with edgy characters. The recent Animal Ranbir Kapoor movie released on Netflix, and to go with it, we have lined up ten movies that truly reflect his talent and style.

Although they’re married, there aren’t many Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt Movies. The only movie the pair have played lead roles together is Brahmastra which is also expecting sequels.

Barfi (2006)

This is among Ranbir Kapoor’s special performances till date. The film, directed by Anurag Basu, was India’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film nomination for the 85th Academy Awards.

At the film’s warm gooey heart is a love triangle between a confused young girl, a mute hero and a mentally challenged girl. Ranbir, as Barfi, is the deaf and mute guy who falls for Shruti (Ileana D’Cruz), but she’s forever confused if she loves him or not. And then there’s Priyanka Chopra as Jhilmil, who is autistic, and Ranbir’s childhood friend.

In this film, Ranbir’s character is inspired by Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Llyod, and he aces it with rare aplomb. He’s the guy who can’t speak a word, but he owns the screen with his style and slap-stick comic flair. One of his best.

Rocket Singh – Salesman of the Year (2009)

This is an under-appreciated and underrated diamond. Ranbir plays Harpreet Singh Bedi, a B Com graduate with 35% marks who becomes a salesman in a computer company. He is restricted from going on the field and realizes that his ideologies are not in sync with the professionals of today.

So, he started his own secret sales and service agency. He shows that honesty and hard work is a sound business decision. Director Shimit Amin and writer Jaideep Sahani, who earlier collaborated on Chak De, bring the impish best out of Ranbir. He owns the film despite the limitations in the narrative.

Wake Up Sid (2009)

This is a story in which Ranbir Kapoor has issues with his dad. In that sense, it is a precursor to Animal. But in Wake Up Sid, it was more amiable as his dad is upset with his seeming aimlessness in life.

Wake Up Sid is a coming-of-age story directed by Ayan Mukerji and has Ranbir playing a careless rich college brat. But when he meets Aisha Bannerjee (Konkona Sen Sharma), a wannabe writer, he understands the important values of life. These feel-good romance parts are among the best of this film.  

Rockstar (2011)

Written and directed by Imtiaz Ali, and starring Ranbir Kapoor and Nargis Fakhri, this movie kind of changed the dynamics of love in Hindi cinema. The high-tension, high-on-passion romance between two unlikely people was not something that Bollywood was used to.

Amongst the best performances of Ranbir, Rockstar will also be remembered for the music of A R Rahman, whose music remains among his best. Rahman and Ranbir gave the Devadas-troped movie impetus and heft.

Jagga Jasoos (2017)

This home production of Ranbir was based on the high-profile case of Purulia Arms Drop, which took place in 1995 allegedly to overthrow the then Communist government in West Bengal. 

It might have flopped as a film, but it inverted the conventions of a traditional narrative. It didn’t tell a substantial story but was a magnificent buffet of sight and sound.

Ranbir’s performance was effortless, and the entire fantasy film rested on his shoulders. Playing an overgrown adolescent without looking silly or stupid takes great skill. Ranbir exhibited that with elan.

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013)

Among his biggest hits, this film marked his reunion with Ayan Mukerji after Wake Up Sid. The film showcases bonding between four friends – Kabir, Naina, Avi, and Aditi. The romance between Ranbir and Deepika made the film what it is.

It is the story of Naina (Deepika), a studious girl who craves some fun because she has no friends. A chance meeting with an old classmate, Aditi (Kalki Kochelin), leads to a trip that changes her life forever. She meets and falls for Bunny (Ranbir).

This is another of those warm rites of passage of growing-up movies with great music and visuals and a lead pair whose chemistry crackled with fun and joy.

Tamasha (2015)

Tamasha dwells on finding one’s true, inner self that has been lost to a work life. Tamasha is part of the Ranbir Kapoor-in-evolution series of Hindi cinema on the lines of Wake Up Sid , Rockstar and Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani .

The film, directed by Imtiaz Ali, is essentially about two soulmates, their togetherness as strangers and their loneliness in familiarity. Ranbir, who plays Ved Vardhan Sahni, is shown in three stages of his life–as a 9-year-old, 19-year-old, and 30-year-old.

Again, his on-screen romance with Deepika was the talking point, along with A R Rahman’s music.

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (2016)

Ae Dil hai Mushkil is typical of those Karan Johar directorials, which isn’t so much as plot driven as it is focused on characters, relationships and interactions. This emotional drama is said to be Karan Johar’s attempt at catharsis to overcome a personal jilted love.

A complicated love story where Ranbir’s character falls for Anushka, who is smitten by Fawad Khan and thinks of Ranbir only as a friend. He then finds solace in the arms of a poetess (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) but still can’t get Anushka out of his mind.

This complicated love story is right up Ranbir’s alley, and he aced it with a memorable show. He is the best lover boy by a mile in Hindi cinema.

Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani (2009)

This film deserves a lot more love for its sheer chutzpah and comical heart. With Ranbir and Katrina in the lead, this is a  bizarre romp. Ranbir as the happy go lucky young man who is willing to sacrifice his own love to ensure the happiness of others, is eminently lovable and shows boundless energy. His quirky antics had the fans rolling in the aisles.

Sanju (2018)

It takes guts to play another actor who is still alive. And the Sanjay Dutt character, which Ranbir Kapoor played, had plenty of warts. It was a rare challenge, and Ranbir was up to it with his typical aplomb.

Directed and edited by Rajkumar Hirani, Sanju looks at the life of Sanjay Dutt, his addiction to drugs, his arrest for his association with the 1993 Bombay bombings, and his relationship with his father Sunil Dutt.

Apart from making great efforts to look the muscular part of Sanju’s role, Ranbir also outdid himself in acting. He portrayed a variety of emotions and grey shades with amazing flair.

Balakumar Kuppuswamy
Balakumar Kuppuswamy

An engineer-turned-journalist, K Balakumar’s career began in print publications as a sports writer. That also opened doors for other journalistic avenues like films, music, finance, technology and politics, which nobody can escape in India. After 30 yrs in mainstream journalism, now a freelancer for various digital publications.

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