Within 12 hours of the premiere of this year's most awaited film Saawariya, its leading man Ranbir Kapoor has been approached by a cartel of the most influential filmmakers in Bollywood who were so far wondering if the new superstar on the blockbuster was tied down by his mentor Sanjay Bhansali by a contract.
But Ranbir is now free to do the films that he wants to. He starts shooting for Yashraj Films' next directed by Siddharth Anand from November 24. "But what I am really crossing my fingers to do is another film with Mr Bhansali. He just has to say when and I am on. He has taught me every thing I know about acting," says the grateful protégée Ranbir even as his situation in life gets a little precarious as far as fan attention goes.
According to a very close family member of Ranbir, "The volume of calls and messages since the promotional clippings went on television to the time of the film's release has gone up so much that the poor harried debutant has no choice but to change his number."
"I don't really want to do that," confesses the most gifted debutant of 2007. "I love all the attention. I like being complimented for my performance. I feel I'm not getting enough."
The character of the street -smart do-gooder who would do anything to win over the sullen searching girl is apparently inspired by Robert Benigni in Life Is Beautiful. Says Ranbir, "Sanjay Sir saw me like a human version of a poodle, out to please the one I love at any cost. I sing dance, juggle, jiggle, waltz, tap-dance, jump puddles, climb up pipes…any and everything for Sonam's character, just like Robert Benigni in Life Is Beautiful. She on the other hand, remains blissfully unimpressed most of the time. And the more withdrawn she becomes, the harder I try to please her."
Ranbir's impact has been sudden and all-pervasive. On the night of the premiere of Saawariya itself four major filmmakers offered him the lead in their next. His co-star Sonam isn't lagging behind either. Her classic looks are being compared with Waheeda Rehman and Rekha.
Says Priyanka Chopra, "I've known Sonam for a long time. She's a friend. And I like her father(Anil Kapoor) from the time we worked in Salaam-e-Ishq. She's such a beautiful girl with a great body. As for Ranbir, he's the complete scene stealer. His performance is so warm and endearing; you just want to hug him. It's hard to believe this is his first film."