When I drool over Ranjeet, most people say: “Are you out of your mind?” He is, after all, not a guy you’d take home to mom; but while I never care much for his onscreen deeds, I do love his style—and I think he is really handsome. Although hampered (as all of us were, who were wearing clothes then) by the gaudy fashions of the 70s (and the even more gaudy costumes of masala-heyday Bollywood!), he always manages to loom charismatically large. And what a career! He is in many many many of my favorite films from that era (and beyond), and they are always enhanced by his presence. When I see his name in the credits, I admit it: I let out a fan-girly squeeee.
Sleepy, sleepy bedroom eyes! Black curly hair! I mean, he looks good in pale yellow velour! Accessorized with a black scarf! Not just anybody could pull that off as a bad guy outfit, but Ranjeet does.
Sharmilee was an early film, and he played a ladies’ man with a thing for Rakhee’s “bad” twin. Talk about being off and running as an eve-teaser and a badmash! Shashi beats him up in the swimming pool.
Drenched and being scolded by his boss afterwards, he looks like a sad little bedraggled puppy. Awwww.
He pulls off a girly neck scarf in Victoria 203, even though he’s brandishing a knife at Saira Banu (and to be fair, I’d like to brandish a knife at her too sometimes):
You’re welcome to come under my trap any day, Ranjeet.
Can anyone lend dignity to a shiny powder-blue leisure suit? Well, no. But he almost does! And he’s one of the few bright spots in an otherwise forgettable film (Bandhe Haath, a tragic waste of Mumtaz, Amitabh, Tun Tun and, well, Ranjeet).
He isn’t always just a cartoonish bad guy either; in Aap Ki Kasam he’s having an affair with Sanjeev Kumar’s wife, but he is also the one who finally tells Rajesh Khanna what an idiot he’s been for having no faith in Mumtaz. Yay! It was about time someone did!
I loved him as a dacoit in Phaansi (cut so tragically short for me). He reminded me in that film of another favorite film villain: Rip Torn in Beastmaster. I guess it’s the hair, and the shiny gold chest ornamentation, and the mind-boggling screen presence.
In Dharmatma, he and Sudhir wear matching outfits (I mean, come on!) but I still love (and kind of fear) him.
He’s subjected to a series of silly Sheikh costumes and still holds his own—even sharing screen space with fellow hot men Vinod Khanna and Shashi Kapoor—in Chor Sipahee.
Look at him! How could anybody retain credibility as a villain in that? But Ranjeet does!
I don’t watch a lot of 80’s films, but he shines in 1982’s Namak Halaal as the hapless son of Satyendra Kapoor, and he’s still good-looking (and much better dressed, too).
I could go on and on and on (some of you might say I already have!), but if you’re not convinced by now that Ranjeet is hot, you never will be.
Just look at him now (in last year’s Welcome) after nearly 40 years in the industry: he’s a handsome man “of a certain age” and he’s aging ever so gracefully. Good for you, Ranjeet!
There really isn’t!*
*Except for Pran, but Pran is really a category unto himself.
Edited to add: Thanks to Juanito’s comment and link below, I found this (I love this picasa gallery), and I now rest my case. If a filthy ashtray and a beanbag chair don’t take away (much) from his hotness, nothing will.