Bollywood superstar Ranbir Kapoor visited Expo 2020 Dubai on Sunday (13 February) and delighted thousands of fans with photo opportunities and a live Q&A session at the Jubilee Stage.
Ranbir Kapoor a multi award winning Indian actor is one of the highest-paid actors of Hindi cinema, who’s been featured in Forbes India's Celebrity 100 list since 2012.
He is also the co-owner of Indian Super League football team Mumbai City FC. Kapoor rose to prominence in 2009 with his performances in the coming-of-age film Wake Up Sid, the romantic comedy Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, and the drama Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year.
His most widely seen film in this period came with the political drama Raajneeti (2010). The romantic drama Rockstar (2011), in which he played a troubled musician, and the comedy-drama Barfi! (2012), in which he played a cheerful deaf-and-mute man, earned Kapoor two consecutive Best Actor awards at Filmfare.
A starring role opposite Deepika Padukone in the romantic comedy Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013) established him as a leading Bollywood actor. In 2018 Kapoor portrayed Sanjay Dutt in Rajkumar Hirani's biopic Sanju, one of the highest-grossing Indian films of all time, for which he won another Filmfare Award for Best Actor
Fans crowded the open-air Jubilee Stage, where dance performance football freestylers took to the stage to perform impressive tricks to the sound of Bollywood beats. Shortly before taking to Expo’s global stage, Kapoor, 39, spoke about Indian cinema, his visit to Expo 2020 Dubai, and what he planned to do during his short stay in the city.
What are your impressions of Expo 2020 Dubai? - This is my first visit to Expo. In fact, the first time I have ever visited a World Expo, and it’s been amazing so far. Seeing so much culture under one roof is quite exhilarating. I have visited the India Pavilion and the UAE Pavilion, and just to understand the roots of the nations, their culture and heritage, has been amazing.
World Expos are an incredible opportunity to celebrate culture from around the world. What makes India’s movie industry so special and well-loved? - I think it comes down to culture, heritage, value system, and storytelling. One of the biggest hits of Indian cinema and one of my favourite movies is Amar Akbar Anthony, and it’s the coming together of different cultures, which is loved by so many people. So, I think Indian movies really represent that, the celebration of life, family, the value system, music and good storytelling.
Do you think the COVID-19 pandemic has been a game-changer for the cinema industry, as more films are being released on streaming services now? What do you think the long-term impact will be on Indian cinema? - It’s been quite a harsh time for Indian cinema, and especially the cinema theatre owners, because of the safety of the audience. It just made more sense for the theatres to shut [during the pandemic]. But now, since things are opening up, I think it all depends on the content and the consumer. The audience has the right to decide where they want to consume the content. So it depends on the film, and what attracts the audience for a collective experience. But I think it’s too early to tell the impact of the pandemic on the Indian film industry.
You are a huge football fan and the co-owner of Mumbai City FC. Beyond health and fitness, what do you think are the other benefits of sport? - I think sport is very important. Fortunately for me, I’ve been a football player since school, and I think what it teaches you is discipline, teamwork, and you also get good exercise in. I try and play [football] at least once or twice a week, and I think you can really relate to the things you learn from a sport into your profession. It really works in a good synergy together, and I think everybody should play a sport.
Tell us about your new projects this year? - After a break of four years, I have two films coming out in 2022. One is a film called Shamshera, which is an action adventure, which releases on the 22 July, and the second film is Brahmastra, releasing on 9 September.
What are you planning to do during your two-day stay in Dubai? - I came to Dubai last year to learn golf. I joined the golf academy at the Emirates Golf Club, and I thoroughly enjoyed playing it. So I’m going to try and play some golf for the next two days.
Do you have a message for your fans who live and work in the UAE? - I just hope that they’re happy and safe. We’ve all gone through a bad patch in life, because of the pandemic, and things are looking up. So stay positive, stay healthy and stay happy.
By: Delroy Constantine-Simms and Sonia Dixon