Ranveer Singh (born as Ranveer Bhavnani on 6 July 1985) is an Indian actor working in the Hindi film industry. Born in Mumbai, India, Singh had always wanted to be an actor since his childhood. However, during his college days he felt that the idea of acting was far-fetched and focused on creative writing. While pursuing his Bachelor of Arts degree from Indiana University, Bloomington, Singh again became interested in acting and after coming back to India, he started auditioning for lead roles in the Hindi film industry.
In 2010, Singh auditioned for the lead role in the Yash Raj Films venture called Band Baaja Baaraat, and got selected. The romantic comedy was set in the world of wedding planning and required Singh to portray a typical Delhi guy called Bittoo Sharma. The director of the film sent him to the Delhi University campus during the recce of the film, and from there Singh drew his inspiration for the character. After its release, Band Baaja Baaraat became a critical and commercial success, with Singh’s portrayal of Bittoo being lauded by critics. He went on to win the Best Male Debut award at the 56th Filmfare Awards.
Life and career (1985-2009: Early life and beginning)
Ranveer Singh was born Ranveer Bhavnani on July 6, 1985, in Mumbai, India. Singh had always wanted to be an actor, and after joining school he started participating in the school plays and debates. Once when he had gone for a birthday party, his grandmother asked him to dance and entertain her. Singh remembers that he suddenly jumped in the lawn and started dancing to the song “Chumma Chumma” from the 1991 Bollywood action film, Hum. He felt the thrill of performing and was interested in acting and dancing. “I always wanted to be an actor ever since I was a little kid. I knew that I had to do something related to performing arts and I enjoyed acting the most as it incorporated so many different art forms. I must say, I was a very filmy kid. I used to watch a lot of TV and get very influenced by Bollywood”, he recalls. However, after he joined junior college at H.R. College of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai, Singh realised that getting a break in the film industry was not at all easy, as it was mostly people with a filmy background who got the prime opportunities in Bollywood. Feeling that the idea of acting was “too far-fetched”, Singh focussed on his second passion, that of creative writing. He moved to the United States to pursue his Bachelor of Arts degree from Indiana University, Bloomington.
While there, he decided to pursue acting classes besides studying. On the first day, the instructor asked him to do an impromptu act. Singh was again convinced that performing arts and acting was what he wanted to do, and took up theatre as his minor. After completing his studies and coming back to Mumbai in 2007, Singh worked for a few years in advertising as a copywriter, with agencies like O&M and JWT. Then he started working as an Assistant Director, but left it to pursue acting seriously. He decided to send his portfolio to directors. “My ambition was always to bag a lead role in a film and hence I refrained from doing any ads, TV serials, music videos as I felt that a fresh face always works much better. It was a gamble and I took that gamble telling myself that I will give it my all to bag a lead role”, he says. For the next three years, Singh went to producer’s offices, showing his pictures and asking for work. He would go for all kinds of auditions, but did not get any good opportunities, while only getting calls for minor roles once in every four or five months. “Everything was so bleak. It was very frustrating. There were times I would think whether I was doing the right thing or not.”
2010-present: Debut in films
In January 2010, Singh was called for an audition for Yash Raj Films (YRF) by Shanoo Sharma, the head of the casting division for the entertainment company. They informed him that it was for a lead role in their venture titled Band Baaja Baaraat, the film being a romantic comedy set around the world of wedding planning. Singh went to Yash Raj for his audition, and was asked to perform two scenes. Singh added, “I was surprised because I knew Yash Raj does not launch new heroes. But I knew they were legitimate and I knew this would be the biggest and most important audition I would ever be giving.” Aditya Chopra, the Vice President of YRF, later saw the audition tapes on video and was impressed by Singh’s acting, and decided that he fit the part of Bittoo Sharma, the hero of the film. However, the director Maneesh Sharma needed some more convincing and he was called for a few more auditions over the next two weeks until they were completely convinced in his calibre. Sharma would meet him and try to analyze different facets of his personality by asking him to dance, act out emotional scenes, reading with co-actors, reading with the writer as well as camera tests. After the two weeks of testing, Singh was confirmed for the role of Bittoo, with Anushka Sharma playing the female lead.
Shooting started for Band Baaja Baarat in February 2010, with a release date of December 10, 2010. Singh described the role of Bittoo Sharma as “your typical Delhi University ka launda. He is a loafer who is not interested one bit in studies. All he does is fool around with his friends in and around college and do a lot of awaragardi. He is a very chilled out guy full of masti who has no worry whatsoever about his future or career.” When Sharma was narrating the script to him, Singh had already decided how he wanted to play the part of Bittoo. But Sharma’s biggest concern was that Singh acted well and looked like a boy from Delhi, but did not knew much about the life in that city to convincingly portray Bittoo. Hence during the recce he sent him to stay at the campus of Delhi University. Singh made friends with the students there, and hung out with them thereby getting an idea of how the guys in Delhi behave and how they lead their life. He explained: “Interestingly, I met this guy who was very close to Bittoo. He had the swagger, the way he dressed, spoke, I knew when I met him for the first time, I knew he was my guy. So I studied him for a few days, hung out with him and have made Bittoo like him. He had the attitude and energy of Bittoo. I knew this is as Bittoo as it gets! He was crucial in my preparation of Bittoo!”
“It hasn’t sunk in yet. I was expecting a good response, but after the film’s release, the way people have reacted is just tremendous. I never imagined it would turn out all this way. -Singh talking about the success of Band Baaja Baaraat.
Filming ended in September 2010, with post-production continuing and promotions starting in October. Singh did a number of promotional campaigns, alongside his co-stars and the director, including going to the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi and taking part in their annual festival. Prior to Band Baaja Baaraat’s release, some pundits had expressed doubts that the film would be successful, citing the middling response to Yash Raj Films’ last few productions, the lack of a male star and the fact that the female lead, Anushka Sharma, was by then an “almost-forgotten” actress. However, after its release, Band Baaja Baaraat went on to become a critical and commercial success. Singh’s portrayal of Bittoo was lauded. Taran Adarsh from Bollywood Hungama commented: “Debutant Ranveer is the lifeline of [the film]. In fact, the youngster adds a lot of spontaneity and sparkle to his character, which is unsophisticated, but charming. He actually catches you unaware in the emotional moments, which he enacts so well. Here’s a talent you just can’t disregard.” Nikhat Kazmi from The Times of India gave the film three out of five stars, while noting that “As long as you view Band Baaja Baaraat as a loving, heartfelt take on what makes Delhi go dhak-dhak, the film holds your attention….Performance-wise, the duo do have a spontaneity that is disarming.” Anupama Chopra from NDTV also gave the film the same ratings, while noting “debutant actor Ranveer Singh is pitch perfect in the role of the uncouth but good-hearted small town slacker who is a bit of a duffer when it comes to matters of the heart. Box Office India website reported that the film grossed approximately Indian Rupee 21.44 crore after five weeks, making it a box office success. At the 56th Filmfare Awards, Singh won the award for Best Male Debut.
Ranveer Singh Filmography
Ladies VS Ricky Bahl
Band Baaja Baaraat
Ranveer Singh Award
Apsara Film and Television Producers Guild Awards
BIG Star Entertainment Awards
Global Indian Film & Television Honors
Lions Gold Awards
Star Screen Awards
Zee Cine Awards