Pandemic and the Stars—Part 5: Ranveer, Tiger, Ranbir & Ayushmann

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Ranveer Singh in Jayeshbhai Jordaar, produced by Aditya Chopra and Maneesh Sharma. Photo Courtesy: Yash Raj Films 

The pandemic since early 2020 has dealt the final blow to the concept of “star” and “superstar” as we know it. It has rewritten the entire story. Like with television in the past, the OTT platform has invaded us all, come movies or series. Many a star now does a web series, whether as a mere producer or even actor. Most of them find the avenue not only lucrative but also creatively fulfilling. Then there are their films that release, due to assorted compulsions, on OTT platforms.

Let us now look at four more big names that have craved a distinct niche of their own in cinema, even if not among the Top Six. Arguably, they form the rest of the Top Ten heroes of today: Ranveer Singh, Tiger Shroff, Ranbir Kapoor and Ayushmann Khuurana.

Ranveer Singh:

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His last film 83 made the 100-crore brigade but was not exactly raved about. But then, that has been a Ranveer Singh forte since his career began with the 2010 hit Band Baaja Baaraat—come Ladies Vs. Ricky Behl, Lootera, Kill/Dil, Befikre or Dil Dhadakne Do, his performances have never got criticism even when the films did average business, or underperformed.

The rest of his films have done good to great business, topped by brilliant performances—Gunday, Goliyon Ki RasLeela—Ram-Leela , Bajirao Mastani,  Padmaavat, Simmba and Gully Boy.

The actor, who is therefore the closest in pulling-power to the top six names, is again doing an assortment of mainstream cinema, the genre he loves best and confesses he has grown up watching!

The first film to release now will be his zany next association with Rohit Shetty, Cirkus, an action comedy. Jayeshbhai Zordaar, a social comedy with a message, will be next, and is a Yash Raj Films presentation. He has also begun shooting for Karan Johar’s ambitious directorial, Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani, with Alia Bhatt, co-starring with Dharmendra, Shabana Azmi and Jaya Bachchan. Sanjay Leela Bhansali has announced his version of Baiju Bawra, a musical, with him. And a remake with South whiz Shankar is planned, though the rights are embroiled in controversy.

Tiger Shroff’s next will be testosterone actioner Ganapath. Photo: Universal Communications

Tiger Shroff:

Tiger Shroff has made among the most unique niches any big stars have done so in the industry. After War and Baaghi 3, he is now doing the testosterone actioner Ganapath and Heropanti 2, a sequel to his debut film eight years ago. What’s more, the hunky son of Jackie Shroff is also working with Akshay Kumar in the Ali Abbas Zafar biggie Bade Miyan Chhote Miyan. Here’s a star loved by kids, adored by the young and a role-model in not just fitness but also humility and discipline. And then there is the hunger for watching him in new films—how long can fans survive on his past hits like Heropanti, Baaghi and Baaghi 2?

Brahmastra Part One: Shiva mixes the superhero and mythological genre. Photo: Instagram / Ayan Mukerji

His box-office record is erratic, not so his charm, charisma and humongous talent. The Kapoors have dazzled in Hindi cinema for almost a century since 1929, when Prithviraj Kapoor began his career. And great-grandson Ranbir Kapoor’s stardom is related more to his magical persona, outstanding performances (Neetu Singh’s formidable genes have added their bit!) and his immaculate professionalism. Despite calamities on the way, he has kept on signing big movies with the better filmmakers. Coming up are his long-delayed Brahmastra Part One: Shiva with Alia Bhatt and Shamshera (his next release) with Vaani Kapoor. After that, he will be seen in Animal starring Parineeta Chopra and Luv Ranjan’s romantic comedy with Shraddha Kapoor.

Like Ranveer and Tiger, Ranbir was never seen on a new movie on OTT, and so, the hunger to watch him remains after Sanju almost four years ago.

Ayushmann Khurrana’s next will be Anek. Photo: Instagram / Ayushmann Khurrana

Ayushmann Khurrana:

Unlike the three stars listed above, Ayushmann Khurrana has had an OTT release in 2020 in the dismal Gulabo Sitabo. He’s an actor who has always made unconventional choices, and keen observers refuse to call him a star in the true sense—a word that means someone with a following of his own to make a movie open well on the marquee.

And yet, Ayushmann Khurrana’s projects attract curiosity as they are almost always laced with social angles, and he remains their star draw. His latest, Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui (2021) was a case in point, and was marked by a bold social theme and solid performances.

Anek, his new film with Anubhav Sinha after Article 15, is an action thriller on nation-building, and will be his next release. Doctor G is about three siblings with a common father, who meet at their grandmother’s funeral for the first time. And Action Hero is about a film star who is an action hero in movies and has a unique sense of humor. Obviously, all these films are different from the norm and are likely to have a “Khurrana” flavor—that is, substance rather than mere scale for the sake of it.

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