Father’s Day Special: Ranbir Kapoor, ‘Society Dictates That Sons Be Strong, That They Suppress Their Emotions’

Father’s Day Special: Ranbir Kapoor, ‘Society Dictates That Sons Be Strong, That They Suppress Their Emotions’

Ranbir Kapoor gives a candid peek into his relationship with his father, late actor Rishi Kapoor and daughter Raha

Dr Ramachandran SrinivasanUpdated: Sunday, June 16, 2024, 02:13 AM IST
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Known for his enigmatic charm, Ranbir Kapoor has ever been reticent when it comes to matters of the heart. Yet, on rare occasions, he has unveiled glimpses of the profound bond he shared with his father, the late and legendary Rishi Kapoor. One such instance was a heartfelt Father’s Day post, a playful caption accompanying a photograph — “An awkward teenage moment with papa”.

Rishi Kapoor, a pillar of strength in Ranbir’s life, instilled in him a deep respect for tradition. A single, sharp rap on the head served as a potent reminder during a Diwali puja. “It was at RK Studios, during the sacred ceremony,” Ranbir recalls, “when I sauntered in, slippers nonchalantly adorning my feet. Stepping into the hallowed temple space with footwear was a transgression my father could not tolerate. His religious convictions compelled him to act as he did.”

While strictness was a part of Rishi Kapoor’s persona, his love for his son shone bright. “He opened the doors to the world, allowing me to travel far and wide, broadening my horizons,” Ranbir reminisces. “Studying abroad wasn’t merely an academic pursuit; it was a practical experience, an immersion into the complexities of life.”

The film Animal resonated deeply with Ranbir, its core theme mirroring the intricacies of the father-son dynamic. Certain scenes evoked a poignant longing for his late father. “The bond between father and son was the bedrock of the story,” he explains. “It mirrored my own relationship with papa, much like his connection with his father had shaped how he interacted with me. I recall a conversation between my mother and father. She questioned his silence, his reluctance to acknowledge the merit in my films. He responded with a poignant anecdote. ‘There once was a child,’ he said, ‘who walked a tightrope with his father.’ The father kept muttering, ‘There’s a flaw, there’s a flaw.’ Years later, the child, now a grown man, confronted his father about the constant criticism. The father replied, ‘If I had told you then that you were perfect, you might have lost your focus, stumbled from the tightrope.’ Papa recounted how his own father had employed the same tactic. It’s a profound lesson, isn’t it? Genes... it seems, carry these things within them.”

A gentle smile dances on Ranbir’s lips as he compares his parents. “Papa, a man of unwavering honesty, wouldn’t sugar-coat things to please anyone. Whereas, mom, her sole desire is to see me happy, always.”

Stepping into the shoes of a character in Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s Animal brought back a flood of memories. “There was an undeniable closeness between the characters, yet a palpable distance too,” Ranbir muses. “It mirrored the dynamic often observed in our society. The film resonated deeply with me on that level. Subconsciously, I channelled the fiery passion, the intensity with which Papa used to speak. I endeavoured to imbue the character with those very traits.”

The passing of his father left a gaping void in Ranbir’s life, a void he carries with quiet stoicism. “A parent’s death leaves an irreplaceable emptiness,” he reflects. “Coming to terms with it, truly understanding it, is a process I haven’t completed yet. Society dictates that sons be strong, that they suppress their emotions. I suppose that’s how I’ve coped.”

Today, however, Ranbir embraces a new chapter — fatherhood. Little Raha, born to him and Alia Bhatt in November 2022, has him utterly smitten. This precious one-and-a-half-year-old has her papa wrapped around her tiny finger. A recent airport sighting captured a heart-warming scene — Raha showering her father with a kiss upon their return from a trip.

“The mere thought of expressing my love for Raha sends shivers down my spine,” Ranbir confesses. “Fatherhood has unleashed a torrent of powerful emotions - gratitude to the Universe for this incredible gift, a thrilling joy, a profound sense of responsibility, and an underlying fear. It’s a spectrum of emotions I never want to let go of. This fear, too, is a part of the journey. Fatherhood is a feeling that will forever remain etched in my soul.”

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