Ranveer Singh Bhavnani (born 6 July 1985) is an Indian actor who appears in Hindi films. The recipient of several awards, including four Filmfare Awards, he is among the highest-paid actors in the country and has featured in Forbes India’s Celebrity 100 list since 2012.
After completing a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University Bloomington, Singh returned to India to pursue a career in film. He briefly worked in advertising and made his acting debut in 2010 with a leading role in Yash Raj Films’ romantic comedy Band Baaja Baaraat. The film emerged as a critical and commercial success, earning him the Filmfare Award for Best Male Debut. He gained praise for playing a melancholic thief in the drama Lootera (2013), and established himself with his collaborations with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, beginning with the romance Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela (2013).
Singh gained critical acclaim for portraying Bajirao I and Alauddin Khilji in Bhansali’s period dramas Bajirao Mastani (2015) and Padmaavat (2018), respectively. He won the Filmfare Award for Best Actor for the former and the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor for the latter. These along with the action film Simmba (2018), in which he played the title character, rank among the highest-grossing Indian films. He won another Filmfare Award for Best Actor for playing an aspiring rapper in Zoya Akhtar’s musical drama Gully Boy (2019). Singh is married to his frequent co-star Deepika Padukone.
Singh was born on 6 July 1985 into a Sindhi family in Bombay (now Mumbai), to Anju and Jagjit Singh Bhavnani. His grandparents moved to Bombay from Karachi, Sindh, in present-day Pakistan, during the Partition of India. He has an elder sister named Ritika Bhavnani. Singh is the maternal third cousin of Sonam Kapoor, daughter of actor Anil Kapoor and wife Sunita Kapoor (née Bhavnani). Singh explains that he dropped his surname Bhavnani, since he felt that the name would have been “too long, too many syllables”, thus downplaying his brand as a “saleable commodity”.
Singh always aspired to be an actor, participating in several school plays and debates. Once when he had gone for a birthday party, his grandmother asked him to dance and entertain her. Singh remembers that he suddenly jumped in the lawn and started dancing to the song “Chumma Chumma” from the 1991 action film, Hum. He felt the thrill of performing and was interested in acting and dancing. However, after he joined H.R. College of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai, Singh realised that getting a break in the film industry was not at all easy, as it was mostly people with a film background who got these opportunities. Feeling that the idea of acting was “too far-fetched”, Singh focused on creative writing. He went to the United States where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Indiana University.
At the university, he decided to take acting classes and took up theatre as his minor. After completing his studies and returning to Mumbai in 2007, Singh worked for a few years in advertising as a copywriter, with agencies like O&M and J. Walter Thompson. He then worked as an assistant director, but left it to pursue acting. He then decided to send his portfolio to directors. He would go for all kinds of auditions, but did not get any good opportunities, while only getting calls for minor roles: “Everything was so bleak. It was very frustrating. There were times I would think whether I was doing the right thing or not.”