By Ashima Sethi
The who’s who of B-town’s most anticipated debuts. Shockingly, to Karan Johar’s dismay, not all of them are star kids.
Every year Bollywood churns out a never-ending supply of heroes and damsels in distress, some of who land their roles thanks to their well-connected and famous families. Whereas others do it the old fashioned way — no blood, just sweat and tears. Join us as we recap some of 2018’s most memorable newcomers, as well as those to watch out for in the coming months.
As the daughter of late legendary actress Sridevi, Janhvi Kapoor was one of the year’s most anticipated debuts. The statuesque starlet, who is often found gracing social events looking plastic-fantastic, had already established herself as a muse for designers like Manish Malhotra, before landing the lead role in Karan Johar’s Dhadak (2018) alongside baby-faced Ishaan Khatter. The movie’s plot was supposedly a tribute to the award-winning Marathi film, Sairat (2016). But unfortunately, movie-goers were not impressed by Janhvi’s cardboard cut-out performance that didn’t add much to an already unoriginal storyline. Considering it’s her first film, we’ll forgive her, but we sincerely hope her mother’s acting genes kick in at some point.
4/10 Falling flat
23-year-old Ishaan Khatter technically made his debut as a child artist in Vaah! Life Ho Toh Aisi! (2005) alongside his half-brother, Shahid Kapoor. However, his first adult role was in Beyond the Clouds (2018), which didn’t score well with the critics, as many felt that it was just short of memorable. Despite criticism, Ishaan was chosen for a lead role in Dhadak (2018). Although the film received a lukewarm reception, the majority praised the young actor’s onscreen presence that made up for the predictable plot and his almost emotionless co-star. With two decent fi lms under his belt, we hope it’s onwards and upwards for Ishaan.
6/10 One to watch
Sara Ali Khan
Despite bearing a newcomer status, Sara Ali Khan has already won over the industry with her vivacious personality. Even before she began acting, the 23-year old Columbia University graduate gained popularity due to her willingness to discuss personal struggles, such as her health issues and parents’ divorce. When it was announced that she would be making her debut in Kedarnath (2018) alongside Sushant Singh Rajput, closely followed by a role in Rohit Shetty’s blockbuster film Simmba (2018) opposite Ranveer Singh, fans were eager to rate her acting chops. To their delight, Sara was able to stand her ground and both of her performances were well-received. Many have even labelled her as the industry’s newest “super talent,” so we can’t wait to see what projects she takes on next.
9/10 One to watch
When Aayush Sharma scored the lead in Loveyatri (2018), a film produced by Salman Khan, the decision was met with controversy. Why? Well Aayush is actually married to Salman’s sister Arpita, and has always talked about his lifelong dream of becoming an actor. So it seems pretty convenient that Aayush was chosen, considering Salman has been credited with launching many fresh faces into the industry. It’s almost as if he might’ve called in a family favour (and when we say might’ve, we mean definitely). Anyway, despite his shortcut to potential stardom, the film was actually a colossal fl op. Some critics even went so far as to use it as an “example of Bollywood nepotism hitting rock bottom.” Back to the role of doting husband, then?
2/10 Falling flat
Hailing from a non-filmy family, Banita Sandhu is worth a mention. The fresh-faced beauty has endured plenty of challenges after moving from her hometown in the suburbs of Wales to attend university at King’s College London, followed by stints in modelling. While working with Shoojit Sircar on a chewing gum commercial, the director was so impressed that he offered her the lead role in his movie October (2018) opposite Varun Dhawan, despite the fact that she could not speak Hindi. However Banita took it upon herself to undergo rigorous lessons so that by the end of filming, she was able to dub the movie in her own voice. Critics applauded her performance, calling her a natural onscreen, and considering she’s only 21 years old, we think she’s got plenty of potential.
7/10 One to watch
WHO TO LOOK OUT FOR IN 2019?
Now that we’ve wrapped up the memorable…and not so memorable debuts of last year, here are some fresh faces to look out for in Bollywood’s upcoming flicks!
Tara Sutaria: After appearing on Disney India’s The Suite Life of Karan & Kabir, she will be making her big screen debut in Student of the Year 2 with Tiger Shroff and fellow debutante Ananya Panday, as well as Marjaavaan alongside Sidharth Malhotra and Riteish Deshmukh.
Ananya Panday: Chunkey Panday’s 19-year-old daughter will also be
making her acting debut in Student of the Year 2.
Ahan Shetty: Actor Suniel Shetty’s son is all set for his role in the remake of Telugu hit RX 100 (2018), which will be directed by Sajid Nadiadwala.
Karan Deol: Similarly, Karan Deol, the third generation of Deols to enter the Bollywood film circuit, will be starring in the upcoming film Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas, directed by his father.
Mizaan Jaffrey: Javed Jaffrey’s son has just recently completed his acting training in New York. Rumours say that he will be launched by blockbuster director Sanjay Leela Bhansali.