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Banita Sandhu, Mouni Roy, Zain Khan Durrani: Bollywood calling, for these fresh faces in 2018

Not just star kids, but newcomers and TV actors with no family connection to Bollywood are also making their movie debut in 2018, and a lot of them have big names such as Akshay Kumar, Varun Dhawan, and Irrfan as co-stars.

bollywood Updated: Jan 31, 2018 16:37 IST
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Hindustan Times
Banita Sandhu,Nora Fatehi,Zain Khan Durrani
Banita Sandhu is all set to make her Bollywood debut opposite Varun Dhawan in Shoojit Sircar’s October.

Apart from star kids such as Sara Ali Khan, Janhvi Kapoor, Ishaan Khatter, and Karan Deol making a beeline for the silver screen with their debut films, there are several other fresh faces set to make their Bollywood debut in 2018. While some of these actors are established names on television, trying their luck on big screen, some are models turned actors, and others are absolute newbies with no previous connection to the film industry.

Interestingly, even though these debutants don’t hail from Bollywood families, a lot of them will get to work with top actors in their debut films. Sample this: 18-year-old Banita Sandhu, a London-based Punjabi girl, has been paired with Varun Dhawan in Shoojit Sircar’s film, October. Utkarsh Sharma, who played Sunny Deol’s son in Gadar: Ek Pem Katha (2001), is a big boy now, and will soon be sharing screen space with Nawazuddin Siddiqui. TV actors Mouni Roy, Ankita Lokhande, Rohan Mehra, and Mrunal Thakur, will be seen alongside Akshay Kumar, Kangana Ranaut, Saif Ali Khan, and Richa Chadha in their films, respectively. After a cameo in Katti Batti (2015), and a Marathi film to her credit, YouTube sensation Mithila Palkar will now make her Bollywood debut alongside Irrfan Khan and Dulquer Salman, the latter being better known as a Malayalam film hero and the son of superstar Mammootty.

Calling it “an interesting phase in Bollywood”, trade expert Atul Mohan says, “The industry is witnessing this rather interesting change, which is worth appreciating. This blend of old and new talent brings a fresh vibe, which filmmakers love to explore and the audience will enjoy. It’s interesting to see that even the biggest of banners are placing their bets on newcomers in a bid to offer something new to the viewers.”

Looks like the nepotism debate is out of the window as filmmakers are seemingly willing to cast newcomers without apprehensions. The past few years have also proved that the audience is quite welcoming of fresh talent, hence names such as Kriti Sanon, Taapsee Pannu, and Sidharth Malhotra have risen to A-list status.

Model Zain Khan Durrani, who will be seen in filmmaker Onir’s Kuch Bheege Alfaaz, agrees, “It’s a great time for newcomers in Indian cinema. The kind of cinema we’re producing, and the ensuing characters, are evident markers of a changing paradigm. If one is good at one’s work, be it in any field, one will succeed.”

Fresh faces making their debuts in 2018
  • Banita Sandhu: October
  • Utkarsh Sharma: Genius
  • Mouni Roy: Gold
  • Ankita Lokhande: Manikarnika
  • Rohan Mehra: Bazaar
  • Nora Fatehi: My Birthday Song
  • Zain Khan Durrani: Kuch Bheege Alfaaz
  • Mithila Palkar: Karwaan
  • Mrunal Thakur: Love Sonia
  • Ayush Sharma: Loveratri

However, one can’t rule out the possibility of some insecurity when there are so many star kids, too, making their debut. Indo-Canadian dancer and model, Nora Fatehi, who made her acting debut in Sameer Soni’s psychological thriller, My Birthday Song, feels that as long as a newcomer is talented, hardworking and has that X factor in him or her, they will manage to find their space in the industry. She adds, “As non-star kids, you tend to feel that their [star kids’] chances of getting work is higher, and they have a better pool of opportunities. However, I personally believe that I will get what is meant for me, and I’d rather focus on my skills.”

Interact with Monika Rawal Kukreja at Twitter/@monikarawal

First Published: Jan 31, 2018 16:36 IST