Astronomical figure for star fees, unavailability of dates and the need to inject freshness on screen are some of the reasons big banners are launching newcomers. Producer Sooraj Barjatiya insists Isi Life Mein required new faces.
"I can’t see a 40-year-old actor playing the role of a 20-year-old. I am also working on a script, which will hopefully have Salman Khan. It may happen next year, as Salman doesn’t have dates. Until then we are producing medium budget films with newcomers.”
On the other hand while Yashraj continues to make films with established actors, they are also launching new faces. “Nurturing fresh talent is the industry’s requirement today. We are happy that this is being looked at seriously by all like-minded studios,” says Rafiq Gangjee, Vice President, marketing and communications, Yashraj Films, adding, “It is easy for us to continue in our comfort zone, but we need to experiment with genres, new casts and directors.”
Aamir Khan productions and Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra productions aren’t very far behind. Khan has worked with new actors in films like Lagaan, Ghajini and will do so even in his latest production Dhobi Ghat. Meanwhile, Mehra will be launching Govinda’s niece Ragini Khanna in Teen Thay Bhai.
Launched by: Rajshri Films
Film Debut: Isi Life Mein
Age: 25 years
Favourite Directors: Mani Ratnam, Vidhu Chopra, Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Favourite Actresses: Priyanka Chopra, Kareena Kapoor
Actors he Admires: Amitabh Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan, Aamir Khan
Films He Loves : Dabangg, Guzaarish, Eklavya
Vivek Oberoi’s first cousin, Akshay had his share of struggle despite coming from a film family. Trained at Stella Adler acting conservatory and Playhouse West, he did theatre in Los Angeles before coming back to Mumbai. “I went through the auditions and it was director Vidhi Kasliwal’s narration that made me say ‘yes’ to the film, besides it being made under the Rajshri banner.”Akshay plays Vivaan, a young Mumbai lad whose only aim in life is to do theatre and he is willing to do anything, including going against his father’s wishes for the same.“Not only does he fulfil his own dreams, he also makes others like Rajnandani realise her dreams,” says he. The actor believes his hazel-coloured eyes and chocolate boy looks will not limit him to being a romantic hero, but until people are ready to give him varied roles, he will be happy with that. He has been trained in contemporary dance, ballet, hip-hop and jazz. Seems like he’s making the right moves and he also has Salman Khan promoting him on social networking sites.
Age: 23 years
Favourite Directors: Rajkumar Hirani, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Yash Chopra
Favourite ActoRs: Shahrukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan
Actresses she Admires: Madhuri Dixit, Rani Mukherjee and Konkan Sen Sharma
Films She Loves: Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge and Chupke Chupke
Sandeepa Dhar hails from a non-filmy background and has done a couple of ads before she got auditioned for Rajshri’s home production. Dhar got this role after a couple of screen tests and dance auditions to test her chemistry with co actor Akshay Oberoi. Says Dhar, “You are in safe hands when Rajshri signs you.” Dhar will be seen playing three different characters, in the same role of Rajnandani. First, as a simpleton from Ajmer, then a modern RJ, which is when she gets over certain issues she considered taboo. And lastly as Kate, in an adaptation of Shakespeare’s play Taming of the Shrew. “I don’t want to be just seen as arm candy,” she says.
Launched by: Aamir Khan productions
Film Debut: Dhobi Ghat
Age: 30 years
Cast with: Aamir Khan, Prateek Babbar
Singer-turned-actor Monica Dogra has performed with her band Shaa’ir + Func internationally before she was called for an audition by director Kiran Rao.
Launched by: Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra
Film Debut: Teen Thay Bhai
Age: 24 years
Cast with: Om Puri, Shreyas Talpade, Deepak Dobriyal
In Mehra’s words, Ragini was selected for her spunk and simplicity. “Though the film is about the three brothers, her character is well fleshed out and is integral to the story,” says director Mrigdeep Singh Lamba. Govinda’s neice, Khanna, is currently seen as Suhana in the TV show Sasural Genda Phool.