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Ranveer rocks debut street
celebrity circus

Much like Salim Khan’s large happy family, the Deol brothers too have wordlessly got used to Hema Malini and her daughters being a part of their extended family. Proof: Hema and Esha hosted their own trial show of Yamla Pagla Deewana at Yashraj on Wednesday night for close friends and thoroughly enjoyed watching the Deol family version of P.G. Wodehouse in Punjab.

The same night, half the film industry flew to Singapore for the next lot of awards. It is the season of awards functions and predictably Sonakshi Sinha has picked up every Best Debut trophy available here and abroad. It began on New Year’s Eve itself when Aaj Tak called her up to say she was leading their poll and went to her place with a trophy and their camera team in tow. It was a hectic night as the Sinhas were hosting a small private dinner for author Chetan Bhagat, filmmaker Subhash Ghai and producer Pehlaj Nihalani. Dinner done, Sonakshi left for Amrita Arora’s party with brother Kush escorting her. Luv Sinha, the other twin, had his own private celebration in London. Luv and Kush look alike but have completely different personalities. Luv is volatile, Kush is cooler.

While Sonakshi’s line-up of trophies was expected, a rather late entry in December has also been making his presence felt at every awards function. The young hero of Band Baaja Baaraat, Ranveer Singh, has also been going home with the Best Debut (Male) award all week.

Although he seemed perfect as Bittu, the Delhi boy with sarson ka saag in his veins, Ranveer is a hard core Mumbaikar, who doesn’t even know Delhi too well. It makes his performance that much more impressive.

Those who regularly watch the film industry know that every couple of decades, while everybody’s looking at a variety of star sons to anoint as the next superstar, it is a rank outsider who comes in and sweeps the post away. It happened four decades ago when Amitabh Bachchan, with an unheard of surname and an unconventional face, kicked up his job in Calcutta and earned superstardom in Mumbai. It happened two decades ago when Shah Rukh Khan, with no filmland connections and hardly handsome, swept aside all other contenders and ascended the throne. Now don’t be surprised if, while everybody’s watching celebrity kids Ranbir Kapoor, Imran Khan and Prateik Babbar, an unlikely candidate like Ranveer Singh suddenly grabs the top slot.

Take it from me, he has what it takes.

Like Amitabh and Shah Rukh, Ranveer is not the best looking guy in town. Like Amitabh and Shah Rukh, Ranveer comes from a comfortably placed family and is well-educated and well-spoken.

Additionally, Ranveer is out to win over the film industry. And he is smart. When he was asked to host an awards function, he tossed out the script that the organisers had penned for him. “I am not Shah Rukh Khan or Sajid Khan that I can get away making wisecracks at the film industry,” he reasoned, correctly assessing his position as a newcomer, a junior in the hierarchy. Gifted with a flair for copywriting (it was his second choice of profession if acting didn’t work out), Ranveer wrote his own script and hosted the awards function.

There were photographs of him weeping when Shah Rukh and Shahid Kapoor announced his first ever award but there is a behind-the-scenes incident that went unreported. While he was waiting in the wings before going up to receive the trophy, his co-star and close friend Anushka Sharma told him, “This is it, Ranveer. This is what you have worked so hard for. This is your moment. Think of all that you went through to be here. Feel the moment, enjoy the moment.” And the tears began to flow.

“I’ve always had a crying problem,” Ranveer now laughs. His dad used to be embarrassed to take him out because he’d invariably start wailing while watching a movie. “I would weep through movies like Free Willy and my dad used to say, have I got a daughter or a son? He’d be so embarrassed!”

But nobody was embarrassed when Ranveer wept as he got his first trophy. Pride has replaced embarrassment as it is ‘Stardom, here I come’ for this 25-year-old actor.

Finally, here’s something on Celina Jaitley who just got engaged to Austrian Peter Haag, a businessman based in Dubai. The glamour girl who is a brand ambassador for a sari brand wears gorgeous ones but loves the Bengali drape the most. She’s vowed to wear a sari for her wedding too.

Bharathi S. Pradhan is editor,The Film Street Journal

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