I've always been an ardent Ranveer Singh admirer from the first time I saw him on screen in Band Baaja Baaraat. I remember thinking that he had the ability to make any character his own, which means that every role he does is a combination of him and the character. He is a chameleon who flamboyantly gets into the skin and soul of his characters. On the silver screen, you don't just see Ram, Kabir or Varun, you see a beautiful amalgamation of Ranveer and his dramatis personae, so much so that there is no Ram without Ranveer. However, the same doesn't hold for Bajirao Mastani, because in this magnum opus where he essayed the role of Peshwa Bajirao, there was no space for Ranveer, owing to the illustrious presence of his character. While I love the concoction of the actor and character, the Peshwa's role demanded a certain kind of brilliance that not many actors can provide. Simply put, in this film, it was the character who chose the actor and not the other way around, which is why Bajirao Mastani will always be my favourite performance of Ranveer Singh's.
Directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, co-starring Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra, Bajirao Mastani was without a doubt one of the best movies to have been made in recent times. When a phenomenal cast and an exquisite filmmaker come together, nothing else can be expected, which brings me to say that to be so good that you eclipse some of the most extraordinary performers is a feat in itself. However, what is of greater importance is to shine in the looming shadow of a great warrior like Bajirao Ballal. To step in his shoes is a challenge that hardly any of today's 'mainstream actors' can even dream of taking up. To play a character is one thing, but to take on such a major historical persona as a role and play it to perfection is another ball game altogether, especially when your own personality is this compelling. Thus, the role demands Ranveer shed his vividness in order to allow the Peshwa's brilliance to illuminate the screens.
All that said, the most formidable thing about Ranveer's performance as Peshwa Bajirao is his depiction of how silence and power co-exist. As strength and might spread through the room with every word he says and every move he makes, the rendering is never raucous, but stealthy and nuanced. At times, even his silence is louder than most dialogues; for instance, the way he looks at Mastani during the song 'Deewani Mastani'. His straight face and quietude manifest a plethora of emotions and thoughts that effortlessly translate on screen. For a man who is so vivacious and effervescent, one can imagine the struggle to incorporate restraint laced with robustness, but Singh establishes that he might be full of beans, but when it comes to his craft he is unparallelled.