Ranbir Kapoor
File photo of Ranbir Kapoor.Reuters

In a glitz-struck industry like Bollywood, it's hard to be a star but it's tougher to be an actor. Even though Ranbir Kapoor has that job down pat, his movies don't seem to be making a mark any where. The ongoing cold streak at the box office needs to end, and fast. With Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Kapoor may be able to revive his superstardom but the real question is will it be his last shot at doing so?

The gifted actor didn't become an overnight star. His debut vehicle — Saawariya — was an unmitigated disaster. It was with Bachna Ae Haseeno, a film that relied heavily on clichés, that he came to be called the quintessential Bollywood hero.

While everyone thought he would flaunt some more of his boyish charm in films to come, Kapoor surprised everyone by playing a confused college-goer in Wake Up Sid next. Later that year, he essayed two very pleasantly different roles in Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani and Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year.

Rajneeti and Anjaana Anjaani were bit of a downer, but his portrayal of a mute in Barfi and disgruntled musician in Rockstar put him back on track. Then, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani happened. The romantic-drama is easily the biggest hit of his career, not just in terms of recognition but also money. 

Kapoor's career began nose-diving with Besharam. Anyone who saw the film will tell you that it wasn't a well thought-out choice and he probably took it up because he could then get to be in the same frame as that of his parents — Rishi and Neetu Kapoor.

The agonisingly boring Roy came soon after and that too failed to click at the box office courtesy its confusing plotline. A few months later, Bombay Velvet arrived with promises of a new hope that it will perhaps fix the little dents on Kapoor's repertoire of performance-driven projects. Unfortunately, it was just another let-down.

Anyone else in his shoes would have prodded the publicist to work his/ her magic and do some good press. Doing so would mean the star would have to interact more, in the process creating a more straightened out image of himself.

But Kapoor is one of the few actors who is firm about his privacy and doesn't believe in advertising his craft more than what is absolutely necessary, which means he is not getting on to the social media train anytime soon, or let's say never.

The ADHM star doesn't want his focus on films to be blurred by the frills — promotional whirls and such. He is known to improvise and look beyond the script, bring a special element to it, in the process giving more to the film than an average star would care.

A quick analysis of Kapoor's career graph will tell you that a handful of his films haven't made the money they were expected to. But there was never a time when his acting skills came under fire. Kapoor is for keeps and is someone who deserves to be celebrated more often than he is. Here's hoping he gets back his mojo with Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.

But what if this too sinks at the box office? Even though he has Jagga Jasoos in the pipeline, it has had its fair share of obstacles and the hype around the film has dropped considerably over time. Kapoor isn't really the one to back down, he will surely strike back with this one or the next.