Kapoor described it as his first complex role and considered it a departure from the "lover boy roles" that he had previously played.
Nikhat Kazmi of The Times of India reviewed: "The film finally belongs to Ranbir Kapoor who perfects the art of minimalism—and literally grows before your eyes—as the simmering volcano that cannot be held back, once it erupts." Robert Abele of the Los Angeles Times, however, was more critical of his performance which he considered "stony rather than calculating—especially jarring compared to the histrionic turns around him".
Kapoor has been vocal about how his parent's troubled marriage affected him as a child: "Sometimes the fights would get really bad.
I would be sitting on the steps, my head between my knees, till five or six in the morning, waiting for them to stop".
The film tells the story of a tramp, played by him, who falls obsessively in love with a woman awaiting the return of her lover.
In an interview with the news and entertainment portal Rediff.com, Kapoor stated that his character was written as a tribute to his grandfather's iconic roles as a tramp.
Later that same year, Kapoor collaborated with Priyanka Chopra on Anand's Anjaana Anjaani, a comedy-drama involving two strangers who vow to commit suicide on New Year's Eve.
The film was a moderate financial success, but garnered little praise from the critics.
He was cast as Kabir "Bunny" Thapar, a commitment-phobic photographer, a character Kapoor found to be an extension of himself.
After a year-long absence from the screen, Kapoor featured as a mysterious thief in Roy (2015), a romantic thriller which critic Sarita Tanwar described as a "boring, exhausting and pretentious" film.
Rajeev Masand noted that Kapoor "struggles with a badly-defined role" and NDTV's Anupama Chopra concluded: "Ranbir tries hard to salvage the film, dropping his shirt several times but even his lovingly shot chest can’t save the film." Following an item number in the children's film Chillar Party (2011), Kapoor took on the role of Janardhan "Jordan" Jakhar in Imtiaz Ali's Rockstar, a drama that follows the journey of an aspiring musician from a humble background to international stardom.