Can Tamasha save Ranbir Kapoor’s flagging career?

We investigate whether the Bollywood heartthrob still has a chance.

Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone on location on Corsica island for Tamasha. Aman Dhillon
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The son of Bollywood veterans Rishi and Neetu Kapoor, Ranbir Kapoor has carved out a niche for himself with his versatility and innocent boy-next-door looks since following in their cinematic footsteps in 2007.

However, his three most recent films – Besharam, Roy and Bombay Velvet – were box-office flops. It has been two years since the 33-year-old's last hit, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013), so there is a lot riding on his latest, the romantic drama, Tamasha.

Out in cinemas on November 26, the film was directed by his friend, Imtiaz Ali, and co-­stars his former girlfriend, Deepika Padukone.

To coincide with the film's release, we look back at Kapoor's career and his best films, and consider whether Tamasha can re-establish him as a bankable star.

The debut

Filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali cast Ranbir Kapoor as the lead in his film Saawariya in 2007, opposite debutante Sonam Kapoor. Ranbir – a graduate of The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute in New York – had worked with Bhansali before, behind the camera, as an assistant director on the critically acclaimed drama Black, which starred Amitabh Bachchan and Rani Mukerji. Saawariya was a box-office disaster, but Kapoor was touted as a potential golden boy of the industry. A Filmfare Award for Best Male Debut confirmed that he had arrived.

The hits

Kapoor followed up with starring roles in Wake Up Sid and Rocket Singh: Salesman Of The Year, both of which were released in 2009 and won him the Filmfare Critics' Award for Best Actor.

In the former, his character falls in love with an older ­woman, and in the latter he plays a salesman with a dogged desire to make it big. Kapoor pulled off both roles quite endearingly, earning a place in audiences' hearts. In the same year, he also starred in romantic comedy Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, alongside current girlfriend Katrina Kaif – their natural chemistry was a hit with the audience.

Political thriller Rajneeti (2010) was Kapoor's first shot at portraying a ruthless character, in this case a politician. Despite sharing the screen with stalwarts such as Nana Patekar and Manoj Bajpayee, Kapoor's performance was singled out for praise and the film is considered a career highlight.

His histrionic turn as a deaf-mute character in Barfi! (2012), earned him a spot in the same category as the talented Hrithik Roshan, who is trusted to play any character to perfection. Barfi! was India's entry for the Oscars, and though it didn't win, it was a huge feather in Kapoor's cap.

The misses

Anjaana Anjaani (2010), in which Kapoor starred alongside ­Priyanka Chopra, failed to pack a punch, but he bounced back the following year with a thumping performance in Ali's Rockstar, which had critics and the media christening him the next superstar.

His next film, 2013's Besharam, put an end to his successful run. The debacles that were Roy and Bombay Velvet followed in 2015. Kapoor was ridiculed for his roles in Besharam and Roy, which he humbly accepted. But the much-hyped Bombay ­Velvet was a surprise failure, especially because it was made by acclaimed director Anurag Kashyap (Dev.D; Gangs of ­Wasseypur).

The future

Pundits might be ready to write Kapoor off, but he’s far from finished, not least because the cream of Bollywood is still ­desperate to work with him.

He is involved in several high-profile projects, including Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, co-starring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Anushka Sharma and directed by filmmaker extraordinaire Karan Johar. It is a remake of the 1977 drama Doosra Aadmi, which coincidentally featured Kapoor's parents in the lead roles.

Then there's Jagga Jasoos, with Kaif, and directed by Anurag Basu, the award-winning filmmaker behind Barfi!.

Kapoor has also signed on for Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani ­director Ayaan Mukherjee's next, as-yet-untitled project, and has bagged the title role in a biopic of Sanjay Dutt by Raj ­Kumar Hirani, whose 2014 satirical comedy PK, starring Aamir Khan, was a block­buster hit.

• Tamasha is out in cinemas from tomorrow, November 26.