Rising from the ashes like a phoenix to become what he dreamt of – that’s Ranveer Singh in most of his characters on-screen. He might be the roaring Simmba or a diffident Murad from Gully Boy, but back at the core, he is always a boy who saw countless dreams with one thing in common – a passion to reach where his best potential can take him. He plays a hero who refuses to give up, a young man who realises his passion at an early age and works hard to set an example for others. He is always the one who continues to chase what he desires for – in the worst of times and if the need is, then even without any support. Perhaps it is this never-let-go spirit of his most characters that brings him closer to his audience and makes him one of the most celebrated heroes of the masses. He presents a world that’s believable because it has a struggle, personal conflict, reflection of achievement and hope that everything is going to be fine in the end.

When Ranveer debuted in the film industry with Yash Raj Films’ Band Baaja Baarat, he seemed like yet another quintessential hero, from the league of the hundreds of chocolate boys who would lure the audience to the theatres by showing off his chiseled body and a perfect jawline. He did that for a while. Ranveer showed the swag and those six-pack abs in Ladies vs Ricky Bahl and then moved the magic wand with Vikramaditya Motwane’s Lootera.

In Lootera, he was unlike the ‘hero’ he had perfected on-screen by then. He had depth in eyes and layers in his character. The art of jeopardising innocence and yet not completely letting that go – Ranveer gave a performance of his lifetime. In the film, he wasn’t bashing the baddies, impressing women by just a flick of his hair, dancing crazily on peppy numbers or mouthing heavy dialogues – but he was still the hero – living up to the struggle of a common man who tries to balance between what he’s doing and what he should do – everyday.

In Gunday that followed, he returned to play a fearless brat but his character showed the traits that were going to be Ranveer’s home for the next few films. He was the underdog who realised the world belongs to those who can choose their fight well. He wasn’t heartless but wasn’t a giver either. Ranveer once again played the man who didn’t thrive for perfectionism or idealism in life but invested all his soul in keeping relationships intact. He was playing a common man who does everything in his powers to keep his loved ones close and achieve better than he has in the past.

After Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela, a film that was more about Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s world of cinematic grandeur, Ranveer returned to play the man who longed to make his dreams come true. In Zoya Akhtar’s Dil Dhadakne Do, he played a young man who found himself caught in the family legacy and the pretentious jig of being the son of a rich businessman. He defied sexism and offered a character that had his own ambitions – a man who had no qualms in accepting that his sister – a woman – had better capabilities than himself to hold the reins of the business that’s conventionally considered more suitable for men.

Kabir Mehra garnered the courage to tell his family that he was in love with a stage dancer, again – a profession that’s traditionally looked down upon for women. He told them that he didn’t want to be a businessman but wanted to pursue his own dreams. There was Ranveer – playing the hero who learnt to fight his inhibitions.

After his next two with Bhansali, Ranveer chose Simmba in which he played a corrupt cop who had a change of heart after an incident. The Rohit Shetty-directorial featured the actor in unarguably his most massy character ever. But it had the same arch. Ranveer played a hero who started observing the world since childhood and soon realised he would have to earn the power to make his dreams turn into a reality. He was the man with emotions but a pragmatic approach towards life. Ranveer once again resonated with the common man who doesn’t shy away from his follies but tries hard to not let them do any damage to others.

His next, Gully Boy emerged as the winner in every sense for him. It was a long time after Lootera that Ranveer gave life to a character that derived its beauty from its layers. He once again played the underdog who was aware of his life and what it had to offer but he was willing to change everything for better. He wanted to erase what his future looked like to most people. Murad showed a man’s hunger for that one opportunity that can flip his world upside down. Ranveer proved what a hero really meant – someone who wrings his soul to achieve his passion and builds a story that’s every inch of how an honest success should look like.

Here’s wishing the best birthday to the man who continues to tell his audience that no dream is too unbelievable or too big to be turned into a reality! Happy birthday, Ranveer Singh!

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