You all know that the heartthrob Ranbir Kapoor had made his Bollywood debut with the 2007 film Saawariya. Directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali with whom Ranbir had worked as an assistant before, Saawariya also marked the acting debut of Sonam Kapoor. While the film tanked at the box office, Ranbir Kapoor's charming performance was singled out for unanimous praise, However, even before Saawariya - three years before to be exact - Ranbir had made his acting debut in a short film, that has only came out to public spotlight recently. Is Ranbir Kapoor Making His Digital Debut With Netflix? This Latest Video Hints So.
Karma, a 26-minute short movie, is currently streaming on the Bandra Film Festival channel on YouTube. Made in 2004, the film was directed by Abhay Chopra. If you find the director's name familiar, he is the same guy who directed the Ittefaq remake starring Sidharth Malhotra, Sonakshi Sinha and Akshaye Khanna, which was produced by Karan Johar and Shah Rukh Khan. Abhay Chopra is also the grandson of the late BR Chopra.
Interestingly, Karma is listed in the IMDB page of both the director and the actor as India, 1964, which is also the period when the film is set. Why 1964? Well, the movie's theme revolves around capital punishment. Since 1973, the courts prefer to give life imprisonment to hardened criminals over death by hanging is maybe why I am guessing Karma is set before that.
Anyway, Ranbir plays Aryan, a young convict on death row. The movie is told from the perspective of a jail superintendent Raj Malhotra, played by veteran actor Sharat Saxena, who tells us that he has overseen many hangings, but the last one that he has to now oversee, of that of Aryan's, has left him in a moral crisis. The reason what makes Aryan's case so special paves way into the title of the film - Karma - as the film tries to explore the morality about taking a person's life even in the name of law.
Anybody who has watched Adoor Gopalakrishnan's tragic but brilliant Nizhalkuthu, which came out a year before Karma was made, would be familiar with the premise of Karma, though the Malayalam film delves into the whole dilemma of court-sanctioned killings more intrinsically. Karma is, at best, decent and engaging enough more so for the known faces involved. It is plagued with a few continuing errors. A hand on a person's face is not seen in a behind shot, while a wound on the neck keeps disappearing. But the moody camerawork and lighting work in the favour of the film. On Varun Dhawan’s Birthday, Here’s Looking at the B’dy Boy’s Raw Acting Alongside Arjun Kapoor in a Short Film
But of course, you are more curious to know how Ranbir Kapoor fares as an actor in his first venture. Let's say that there is a reason why Ranbir Kapoor gets to escape the conversations of nepotism. He is definitely raw here, but his intensity is there for everyone to see.
There are a couple of occasions where he seems to get into the '70s - check out the way he says 'baap' in a conversation with Saxena's character. But he is utterly convincing in the moments where Aryan is on a break down. The star was already in the making since 2004...
While Ranbir is mostly seen in a stubble in the film....
... he gets even more youngish, when he goes clean-shaven in the final frames of the movie.
You can watch the whole film here:
Ranbir has since then evolved more as an actor and as a star, with now having a Rs 300 crore hit under his kitty in Rajkumar Hirani's Sanju, and is about to appear in a sci-fi fantasy saga, Brahmastra, directed by his BFF Ayan Mukerji, But it is always fun to go and watch the humble beginnings of these stars and see the process of their evolution from there. In case of Ranbir's, the writing was always in the wall!
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on May 05, 2021 02:01 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).