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Every superstar was once a fresh face: Decoding the fresh pairings in Bollywood

Sonam Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan, Kareena Kapoor, Varun Dhawan, John Abraham — all are pairing up with actors who’re either new faces in Bollywood or have done only small roles so far.

bollywood Updated: Mar 24, 2018 17:47 IST
Naina Arora
Naina Arora
Hindustan Times
Kareena Kapoor Khan,Bollywood,Sonam Kapoor
Sonam Kapoor pairs up with Malayalam star Dulquer Salmaan in The Zoya Factor, among all the new on-screen jodis.

New, new, new! That’s what the world loves. And so does Bollywood. Picture these new on-screen pairings: Sonam Kapoor with Malyalam actor Dulquer Salmaan in The Zoya Factor; Hrithik Roshan and TV actor Mrunal Thakur in Super 30, directed by Vikas Bahl; Sumeet Vyas with Kareena Kapoor Khan in Veere Di Wedding; Varun Dhawan with debutante Banita Sandu in Shoojit Sircar’s October; John Abraham with debutante Aisha Sharma in the tentatively titled film SMJ; Sushant Singh Rajput and Sanjana Sanghi in the Hindi remake of The Fault in Our Stars; and Kannada and Tamil movie actor Shraddha Srinath with Ali Fazal in Milan Talkies.

All these pairings have one solidly established Bollywood star and opposite them a person who’s either new in Bollywood or has done only small roles until now. These are films that’ll either release in 2018 or will go on the floors this year.

Varun Dhawan is paired with debutante Banita Sandu in Shoojit Sircar’s October.

The interest in new faces is the result of “[top] actors being game for it” feels trade analyst Taran Adarsh. “It’s a mutual decision, as the film gets enhanced, [because] a new pairing can give the film a different look. Directors feel that it’s important. And viewers, too, like fresh faces and new pairings. If the script demands a fresh face or a pairing that has not been explored earlier, then why not?” he says.

Beyond hit jodis

Hindi cinema has moved away from the phenomenon of tried and tested hit jodis, points out trade analyst Komal Nahta. “Earlier, there used to be one hit jodi and then you’d keep using that jodi till the audience got bored. Now the filmmakers, alongside tackling new subjects, are also willing to cast new pairs. Now, the thrust is on giving new experiences to people.”

Actor Sumeet Vyas, who had a fairly small role in English Vinglish (2012), will next be seen opposite Kareena Kapoor Khan in Veere Di Wedding, out this year. “Fresher storylines demand a fresh visual,” says Sumeet. “A different kind of pairing is because of the different stories that people are trying to tell.”

Greater visibility

To be paired with a big name in Bollywood means something — definitely so for a newcomer, and also for someone who’s a name in regional cinema or in the television industry. Sumeet says, “It gives you tremendous visibility in all parts of the country and [even] the world. Kareena is a professional actor; I didn’t feel like I was shooting with a superstar. People here have woken up to this idea now. [But] in the West, they’ve been doing it for a while. When actor Toby Maguire did Spider-Man (2002), he wasn’t a superstar. Rather than paying a huge sum of money to a hit actor, they’d rather get a new talent who’d have time to devote to a project.”

Aisha Sharma is the leading lady with John Abraham in SMJ.

Aisha (the sister of actor Neha Sharma), who’s paired with John in Milap Zaveri’s action thriller, SMJ, says that her role is exciting at many levels. “The feedback for [our] photo shoot is that [people] loved the chemistry that me and John had. The pairing of a star with a debutante is the biggest excitement. It’s extremely exciting for me, and the audience, too, is excited to see this new pairing. For me, there’s no pressure.”

More moolah, certainly

At the end of the day, films need to make money, and a new pairing increases the chances of that. Nahta says, “Anything fresh creates a buzz. Whether it’s a fresh story, a fresh take on an old story, or fresh casting... anything fresh definitely works. So many films are made, and there are only so many stories. People have realised that [new casting] adds to the curiosity value, excitement, and therefore translates into box-office collections, provided the film is good.”

Mukesh Chhabra, who is directing The Fault in Our Stars Hindi remake, says that the fresh pairing trend is here to stay, as “Bollywood is supporting and welcoming new talent”. He adds, “The audience [too] is ready for the new generation, like the Dangal girls were extremely new.” And we know how that film fared!

Sanjana Sanghi will be starring in the Hindi remake of The Fault in Our Stars, opposite Sushant Singh Rajput. ( Twitter/@castingchhabra )
Actor Sumeet Vyas has been cast opposite Kareena Kapoor Khan in Veere Di Wedding. ( Photo: Aalok Soni/HT )

Director Milap Zaveri believes that new talent “deserves a chance”. He says, “We chose Aisha because she has a great screen presence and is talented. The more deserving newcomers that enter the industry, the better it is for everyone. After all, every present superstar was once a new face.”

“[John and Aisha] are extremely good-looking and I’m sure audiences would like to see them together. All the other pairs are also exciting. The October trailer is already out, and I must say that Banita and Varun are looking superb together,” adds Zaveri.

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First Published: Mar 24, 2018 17:36 IST