1. Gurvinder Singh, 38, filmmaker
His directorial debut, Punjabi film Anhe Ghorey Da Daan, won the National Award for Best Direction at the 59th National Film Awards held on May 3 this year. The film also won the Golden Peacock award for best film at the 43rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI). “It feels great and it is an honour to be critically acclaimed. I do not know if I believe in luck, but 2012 has surely been positive and good for me,” says this Mani Kaul student. In 2013, Gurvinder will direct Chauthi Koot (Fourth Direction), a film based on two short stories by Waryam Singh Sandhu.
2. Ayushmann Khurrana, 28, actor, singer, anchor
The year 2012 marked this city boy’s debut in Bollywood with the film Vicky Donor, which became an instant BO hit. “According to numerology, the total of 2012 is five, which is my lucky number, so, this year has been very lucky for me. I always wanted to be an actor; the trump card was that I did not even have to audition for Vicky Donor. I have worked hard towards it and the challenge begins now,” says Ayushmann. The coming year will see him acting, singing and composing some songs for Shoojit Sircar’s film, Hamara Bajaj and Rohan Sippy’s Nautanki Sala.
3. Harshdeep Kaur, 26, singer
A Sufi singer, Harshdeep shot to fame in 2012 with the song Jugni, sung along with Arif Lohar in the film Cocktail. She participated in Coke Studio Season 2. This year also saw the Delhi girl croon Heer, a composition by AR Rahman in Yash Chopra’s last film, Jab Tak Hai Jaan. Next year, she will release a single and has many Bollywood projects in her kitty as well. “My plate is full for 2013,” she shares.
4. Yuvraj Singh, 31, cricketer
Yuvraj’s entry in cricket was followed by a successful career that turned the Chandigarh lad into an icon. After the cricket team’s 2011 triumph at the World Cup, Yuvraj suffered a low after being detected with a rare germ cell cancer this year. But Yuvi, as he is fondly called, fought on, defeated the disease and returned to play. He was back in the Indian squad for the ICC World T20 tournament held in Sri Lanka in August. Yuvi also managed to book his berth in the recently concluded India-England test series, only to be dropped for the fourth and final test match.
5. Diljit Dosanjh, 28, singer and actor
Punjabi film Jatt and Juliet almost achieved cult status and Diljit became a much loved Punjabi hero with it. In music, the original reason for his fame, his album, Back to Basics, was liked by his fans. The singer from Ludhiana also sang and performed the song Peepa Peepa in the film Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya. “Back to Basics was on the top in iTunes stores on pre-order for two weeks in five countries: the US, Canada, UK, New Zealand and Australia,” Diljit informs. The next year will see Diljit in Jatt and Juliet 2, Saadi Love Story and two Punjabi films scripted by Dheeraj Rattan.
6. Jyoti and Sultana Nooran, 14 and 19, Sufi singers
The Nooran sisters from Jalandhar have an inspiring story, driven from oblivion by the power of their talent. Their foot-tapping number, Tung Tung, created a rage on the internet and got the sisters noticed. They were invited to be a part of the Coke Studio Season 2, where they sang Bulleh Shah’s Allah Hoo. In 2013, the two plan to sing for Punjabi films and do live concerts in Canada.
7. Yami Gautam, 24, actor
This former student of Law at Panjab University delivered a massive hit with Vicky Donor. She started out with working in TV commercials and soaps before B-Town beckoned. Yami also walked the ramp for designer Mandira Wirk in 2012. “For obvious professional reasons, 2012 has been lucky for me,” she smiles, adding, “I have gained immense confidence as an actor.” Awarded the Best Female Debutante Award by Big Star Entertainment Awards 2012, Yami’s new year will be choc-a-block with film projects, including E Nivas’ romantic comedy Aman Ki Asha opposite Ali Zafar. “I have five releases in three different languages,” she says.
8. Sharry Mann, 27, lyricist, singer
Who can forget 2012’s most popular Punjabi song, Yaar Anmulle? Sharry Mann, who belongs to Ferozepur, created waves with his fresh voice. His second album, Aate Di Chiri, also did well. “I always pick new subjects,” says the lyricist. 2013 will see Sharry in the shoes of an actor in two Punjabi films, one of which is titled Oye Hoye Pyaar Ho Gaya. His third music album will also be released in the new year.
9. Vipul Mehta, 22, singer
The Ludhiana boy was this year’s Indian Idol Season 6 winner. After winning a cash prize of R50 lakh, a Nissan Micra car and a Suzuki Hayate bike, along with an album contract, Vipul says his best earning was the experience gained on the show. “2012 got me the title that was missing in my life,” Vipul adds. In 2013, Vipul will be out with a solo album. “I am singing for three big banner Hindi films,” he says.
10. Neeru Bajwa, 29, actor
Neeru Bajwa has been around for a while now, seen in Punjabi and Hindi films. But it was Jatt and Juliet that made her sought-after. “My dream is to be a producer and work with Gurdas Maan ji,” shares Neeru, who says she ‘fought’ to earn respect in the Punjabi film industry. “It’s quite busy in 2013 with Jatt and Juliet 2 and a Hindi film with a big banner. Punjabi films, Punjabi No1 and Chandigarh Kare Aashqui are in the pipeline,” she says.
11. Irshaad Kamil, 36, Hindi film lyricist
Cocktail, Chakravyuh, Son of Sardaar and Jodi Breakers: these are some of 2012’s Bollywood films that Kamil wrote lyrics for. The PU alumnus, Kamil says he ‘believes in success with substance’. Awarded the Filmfare for Best Lyrics this year for his work in Rockstar, Kamil will pen lyrics for Kochadaiyaan, an upcoming Tamil film, Ranjana by Anand Rai, the sequel to Ashiqui and Kaanchi by Subhash Ghai.
12. Samuel John, 45, theatre activist, actor
His lead role in the National Award-winning Punjabi film, Anhe Ghorey Da Daan, got Samuel noticed. “Working for the past 20 years as a theatre actor, I have stayed rooted to rural people and their issues such as caste and class struggle,” says Samuel, who belongs to village Lehragaga in Sangrur. “The film earned me respect and name for the first time,” he adds emotionally. In 2013, Samuel will stay busy with theatre.