Ranveer Singh had a relatively sombre launch (YRF was struggling at that point with some major flops). The film, Band Baaja Baaraat, a rom-com, was barely promoted when compared to YRF's usual tendency for aggressive promotions. Written and directed by Maneesh Sharma (himself debuting), and co-starring Anushka Sharma, it introduced Ranveer Singh to the world. While he has had more celebrated and accomplished performances such as Allauddin Khilji in Padmaavat and as Murad Ahmed in Gully Boy, his favourite performance of mine is his portrayal of Bittoo Sharma. He completely owns the character from the first frame, where he is introduced back first, arms stretched to the camera. The song 'Tarkeebein' plays in the background, summing up perfectly the montage shots on screen and his character traits.
The reason this performance ranks highest for me is that it is absolutely raw, bursting with energy and completely like what my imagination of a Haryanvi boy studying in DU would be. Ranveer does not have any character crutches he can grab on to because the personality of Bittoo is a simple arc: a casually sexist boy who turns into a respectful man upon being 'hit' with love. The role demands Ranveer to mix his real-life persona of an Energizer Bunny with that of the character, and he does that superbly. His restless energy and charm on screen are palpable, and he puts across the behaviour of the loutish lothario from Haryana well (he calls his romps 'kaand'). He effectively does the Haryanvi accent and dialect through the film, calling business 'binness'. The transition to a slightly mature version of Bittoo who is heartbroken and lost later in the film is done convincingly as well.
Like with a first job in any profession, there are also mistakes made (and learnings that have been implemented in later performances). In some moments he goes overboard; an instance is the pre-climax scene where he confesses his love for Shruti. And yet despite the flaws, he pulls off the performance because of his complete submission to and conviction in the character. He dances and does comedy and action with seamless ease. He is the hero but is unafraid to be vulnerable and show restraint in the tender moments on screen. To me that was a signal for things awaiting us, the audience, in the future. He has amply justified that expectation through his decade-long career, which in my opinion is a big win for both him as the actor and us as the viewers.