9 Years Of Band Baaja Baaraat: The rise of Ranveer Singh and the reinvention of Anushka Sharma
Band Baaja Baaraat isn't only one of the most memorable debuts of all time, it's also a reminder of how Yash Raj Films can surprise us and themselves if they dare to take a risk!
Yash Raj Films could be hailed as the pioneer of grandeur and gorgeousness in Hindi Cinema in the post-liberalisation India, and even in the films, they made for the audiences in the '80s. But this is also a production house that was aware of the changing landscape and language of movies and their audiences, which is why they had the audacity to bankroll a film like Rocket Singh: Salesman of The Year, arguably Ranbir Kapoor's greatest film and most unfairly overlooked performance.
And exactly a year later, they made a film called Band Baaja Baaraat, with the then debutant Ranveer Singh, and the then rising star of Bollywood, Anushka Sharma. And just like Rocket Singh, the world of the protagonists and the world they occupied came closest to being real and rousing. It wasn't only the debut vehicle of Singh, but also the launchpad of Maneesh Sharma, a budding filmmaker with a distinctive and dazzling voice. The moniker may have led to the belief that this would be a yet another take on love, marital bliss and balderdash, but the big surprise awaited all of us.
It was the story of both ambitions and aimlessness, the girl, Shruti, was driven by ambition, and Bittoo, played by Singh, was known for being an aimless oaf. They met on a wedding and destiny united them again, and as the film progressed, they became business partners. But because no Hindi film can allow the hero and heroine not to fall for each other, the girl fell for the boy and broke the very rule she made for a successful partnership. The irony struck hard on her and us.
The biggest strength of Band Baaja Baaraat was the way it successfully engaged and engulfed us into the ordinariness of the world it created. It reminded us how charming and captivating the Indian-ness in our movies could be. As the film moved forward, Delhi became an integral part of the narrative, sucking us in its fascinating and fragrant milieu. And at its heart were the two leading actors- Ranveer Singh and Anushka Sharma.
Sharma, despite the success of Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi and Badmaash Company, was still waiting for that one role that would consolidate her position and clout in the industry, ala Kareena Kapoor Khan in Jab We Met. Singh, on the other hand, grabbed a character that Ranbir Kapoor rejected and regretted about the same later. It was a gamble YRF played as they had belief in the story Sharma wrote and Habib Faisal translated on the silver screen. After years, the nation saw a love story of two stars that felt one of them, bathed in realism and stripped off any starry trappings.
Ranveer Singh was born to be a star and made to stay and slay. Anushka Sharma found a new voice as an artist and discovered her penchant for portraying characters that dare to be different and strive to be dazzling. In all the ways, Band Baaja Baaraat marked the rise and rise of Ranveer and the reinvention of Anushka.
They may have erred but never made choices that stuck out like a sore thumb. If Singh went on to do films like Lootera, Bajirao Mastani and Gully Boy, Sharma chose the path of esoteric cinema by acting in and even producing films like Pari, NH10 and Phillauri.
Band Baaja Baaraat isn't only one of the most memorable debuts of all time, it's also a reminder of how Yash Raj Films could surprise us and themselves if they dared to take a risk. Singh and Sharma are two of the finest performers we have in the industry today, and even though their worlds are different, Bittu and Shruti will always be together, happily married and happily getting others married!
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