Once deemed an eternal bachelor, he’s now a devoted family man. Ranbir Kapoor’s eyes light up at the mention of his four-month-old daughter Raha, as he excitedly shares, “She’s at that golden period where a child just locks eyes with you and smiles. It’s magical…”
After a rough couple of years, it’s been a good year for the actor on both the professional and personal fronts, though it’s the birth of his daughter that’s at the forefront of his mind.
“A lot has changed for the better. I feel blessed and grateful. It’s a kind of love that I never realised existed. I thought I had reached midlife and didn’t know what more was in store. I fell in love, got married and had the love of family and friends. But what a child evokes in you… You can’t describe it,” he says.
Although he claims to be a better father than husband, he gives Alia Bhatt, his superstar wife, full credit for bringing stability and balance to his life. As the couple celebrates their first anniversary together, Ranbir reveals that becoming parents came naturally to them.
“Alia had a child at the peak of her career. She’s also very ambitious and will continue to do what she did even before we had Raha… We have to balance it out and are really working on our schedules to make it work. We’re privileged in a way and have help. We’ve been parents for just four months, and I’m sure we’ll figure it out.”
Unarguably one of the most talented actors in the country, Ranbir has had his fair share of hits and misses. While career obituaries were being penned, the mega success of Brahmāstra: Part One – Shiva in 2022 and rom-com Tu Jhooti Main Makkar more recently may have quietened the naysayers. However, the 41-year-old confesses he went through a period of contemplation and self-reflection.
“Introspection is important for any actor — in fact for everyone in every field — to rejuvenate and recharge. I think the older I get, the more I realise that there’s a lot more to life than working in movies. Happiness is real only when it’s shared. A life with your family and friends, experiences travelling, in nature or with children… It all adds up to enrich your life. I don’t want to chase an ambition, just be at it and then regret it at 80.”
“Yes, I want to be the best at my job and am immensely grateful for the opportunities I get. But I know I have to balance out my real and reel life,” he answers, thoughtfully.
The demise of father Rishi Kapoor in 2020 affected Ranbir, and the industry at large, deeply. He looks back fondly at the time they had together in his final months and says, “I hope I imbibed at least some of my father’s values. He spoke his mind freely and was one person who celebrated every actor’s work, which I think is so important. Art and artists need appreciation, and those qualities subconsciously got instilled in me.”
Ranbir’s close relationship with his mother Neetu Kapoor, who recently made a comeback to the big screen with Jugjugg Jeeyo, is evident in their every interaction, including his mum’s endearing posts on social media calling him the light of her life. And Ranbir, too, doesn’t take for granted all that she’s done for him and his family.
“My mother has done a lot for the family. The sacrifices she made for me and my sister Riddhima cannot be articulated. She was our rock all through my father’s illness. We don’t know how she channelised all her grief, but we all encouraged her to do what she wanted to do and are happy to see her doing what she loves today,” says the proud son.
As admiring as he is of his mother, Ranbir adds, as an afterthought, that he needs to work on being a better son and brother.
“I like to be the dutiful son, but my mother always complains I don’t keep in touch as much as she’d want me to be. I rate myself a four out 10 as a son, and it’s my priority to be the best son to her. Likewise, I love my sister, but we aren’t constantly in touch every day. So I’m five out of 10 as a brother. I’ll make an effort with both of them,” he says in all honesty.
Ranbir’s currently in the midst of wrapping up work on Sandeep Vanga Reddy’s Animal, due for release this August. And while he leaves us surprised, his startling revelation of taking a break from films may well be true.
“The endeavour is to always look out for something challenging. But yes, I’ve neither signed anything post Animal, nor am I looking for anything. I want to take a little bit of a break now to understand where I stand and where the industry stands. There’s been a huge correction in the industry since the pandemic with regard to the stories we tell, actor budgets, etc. But we will be back soon.”
For an actor, Ranbir has always been low-key. He doesn’t enjoy being clicked and calls marketing and promotions — seemingly tiresome responsibilities of actors before a movie’s release — the biggest gimmicks of the industry. In fact, till today, and perhaps since Alia’s last appearance on Koffee With Karan, we believed he had no social media presence either.
“Everything is over exposed today, and there’s no mystery. But I do have an incognito Instagram account. That’s perhaps the biggest lie I had told when I claimed I didn’t have a social media presence,” he says, drawing our chat to a close with his signture wink.
This has been adapted for the web from a story originally published in the April 2023 issue of HELLO! India. Get our copy of the latest issue right here!