When the country’s heartthrob decides to get married, he is bound to leave behind a trail of broken hearts. Some obvious, others not so evident; some tinsel-edged, others ordinary. Considering Ranbir Kapoor’s reputation as Romeo-at-large — and the fact that he was in a relationship with two of the country’s most desired women, and yet escaped matrimony — his decision to finally settle down with Alia Bhatt came as a surprise to many!
In an earlier interview Ranbir spoke about marrying only after falling madly, passionately in love. He did fall in love. Several times, in fact. So, what made him finally settle down with Alia? What was it about Alia that convinced him this love would last, while that with Deepika Padukone or Katrina Kaif didn’t? Was it merely a question of it being the right time for him to settle down – or is there really something magical between them?
Well, to borrow Ranbir’s own words (which he used in the context of movies), nobody has the formula — and that is the magic of relationships. “If everybody knew (the formula for a blockbuster), we would all be Khans!” he declared in an interview.
Back in 2007 when Ranbir Kapoor made his dashing debut with
Saawariya, I wrote a paean on ‘
Chintu’s Chiknaboy’, saying how in one go, Ranbir had ‘successfully inveigled himself into every woman’s heart, become an icon for young hopefuls and established himself as an idol in the gay world too!’ Back then, wrapped in a see-through, tantalisingly slithery towel, Ranbir walked into every woman’s heart and fantasy. He had a universality of appeal, bringing with him a freshness and spontaneity that reflected Dad Rishi’s innocence and vulnerability, and Mom Neetu’s exuberance and
joi de vivre. And, Ranbir added to that his own sense of style and brand of confidence. What was not to love about this young Adonis!
In keeping with the national lust campaign, I further wrote, “Overtly confident with his body, Ranbir displays it with a wicked sensuality that cannot fail to appeal. Indeed, the popular Jab se tere naina song with the errant towel is nothing but a sensual play Ranbir indulges in with his own body. It is his self-absorption that attracts more, rather than if Ranbir had been making out with someone, or even addressing the audience. It is the pride and pleasure he takes in his body that has sent the women
aahing to their beds!”
Over the years Ranbir has stayed true to that self-absorption, keeping to himself mostly, and never playing to the gallery or media. He has never deemed it worthwhile to explain his life or actions to his fans or the press, preferring a dignified, even irritable silence at times. He has maintained a studied silence even when the world around him throbbed with conjectures about his much-publicised breakups. His work has been exemplary, his public appearances fleeting, and his screen image as the vulnerable, misled prodigal son returning home, intact. He has been quite honest about his formally distant, yet loving relationship with Dad Rishi, the poster boy of an earlier generation. And equally gung-ho about his obvious devotion to Mom Neetu.
As the chocolate cream dream boy grew up, he essayed several cinematic roles and had numerous relationships. He may have been born to privilege, but we all saw him work hard for his place in the acting legions, never taking success or his work for granted. And yet, he seems not to like people much – he is never seen with friends or in gatherings, nor in public much – never courts media, in fact barely acknowledges it. His few media interviews have been honest and friendly enough, but then he chooses his interviewers carefully. In short, he is diametrically opposite to Rishi in this context. Rishi, who still had the Kapoor
khandaan largesse at the heart of his being –where everything was larger than life, be it food, work, relationships, commitments or speaking out his heart and mind. With Ranbir, everything is measured and sparse.
And yet, Ranbir is popular enough. Audiences love him, especially the lovable, slightly naughty, always vulnerable image that he plays in most of his movies. The real Ranbir keeps himself well away from the public eye – enough for us to imagine the screen image is what he really is. The point is, we don’t know any better. And that is how he would like to keep it. Perhaps that element of mystique is what keeps the magic going.
In his avoidance of public appearances and persistent dodging of media, Ranbir has never been known to be rude or disrespectful. He remains very conscious of representing a certain value system that has been instilled in him. What works in his favour is that he is conscious of his privileged background and the need to work around it to get into character. In one of his most revealing interviews to Anupama Chopra, he admitted as much. He also spoke about his extreme passion for films, his hunger, his lack of confidence and insecurity, and how that feeds his passion. “I am not happy with what I have achieved today… and I have lots to do. I think that drive is important, that insecurity creates that drive, that desire. And I think if that dies, I will die as an actor.” Impressive! He attributes his state of nervousness and confusion to his being alive as an actor.
And, now what? Has Ranbir finally settled down with the woman who will be the mother of the next generation of Kapoors? While the odds were still stacked against him biting the bait till Ranbir tied the mangalsutra around Alia’s neck, once the happy newlyweds stepped out to greet the media, their beaming faces put paid to all naysayers.
Seldom has such undisguised joy, such unmitigated happiness been seen on a couple’s face – on screen or off it. Then followed the beautiful pictures of the couple, suffused with love and joy, of Ranbir kissing his bride’s forehead, she whispering in her bridegroom’s ears – and only the cruelest of hearts could wish anything but the best for both of them…