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Saba Qamar, Parvathy, Aadar Jain, Nidhhi Agerwal: How Bollywood debutants fared in 2017

This year, many debutants made their presence felt on the big screen. Check out who came and what trade experts have to say about the Class Of 2017.

bollywood Updated: Dec 24, 2017 13:05 IST
Shreya Mukherjee
Shreya Mukherjee
Hindustan Times
Saba Qamar, Aadar Jain and Parvathy made their debut in Bollywood this year with films such as Hindi Medium, Qaidi Band and Qarib Qarib Singlle.

Every year a host of new artists enter Bollywood with the dream of making it big. And, 2017 was no different. While some received appreciation for their performance, others failed to make a mark. Trade analysts are of the opinion that the year was not a good one for debutants. The reason? Experts feel that many from the fresh bunch did not get good launchpads, some required more training, and others were not promoted well.

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Mahira Khan

The Pakistani actor made her big Bollywood debut opposite none other than Shah Rukh Khan in Rahul Dholakia’s Raees. According to trade analyst Atul Mohan, her pairing with SRK clicked but she did not get much screen space. “When you are in a film with SRK, you don’t get much scope to perform. But in that too she was decent,” he says. However, trade expert Komal Nahta found her performance in the film ordinary. “I also felt she should have been made to look more glamourous. There have been frames where she did not look good at all. A beginner needs to be both skilled and appealing in his or her appearance,” he adds.

Anya Singh

Talking about her perfromance in Qaidi Band, trade expert Amod Mehra says, “She could have done better. Trade analyst Omar Qureshi thinks that working in a film like Qaidi Band that did not stay in theatres for long and was not promoted well, Anya went unnoticed. “We have seen terrible actors doing well later. Compared to them, she was good. I would give her a six on ten,” he says.

Mustafa Burmawalla

There was much hype around his debut film Machine. After all, he is the son of Abbas of the popular director–writer duo Abbas–Mustan, who helmed his launchapd. Unfortunately, the film, also starring Kiara Advani, and Mustafa’s performance too, failed to make a mark at the box office and in the heart of the critics and the audience. “He needs to work hard on his skills and decide if he is looking at a steady career in the film industry,” says Mohan. Nahta finds him ‘just about ok who failed to make an impact’.

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Aishwarya Rajesh

She is a popular name in Tamil film industry, but Aishwarya seems like she needs more time to prove herself in Bollywood, feels Mehra. Her performance in Daddy, co-starring Arjun Rampal, was good but she did not have much screen time and importance, he says. On his score card Qureshi gives her a five and adds that he wants to see her work more.

Saba Qamar

With her maiden Bollywood film Hindi Medium, Pakistani actor Saba Qamar did made her mark. Starring opposite Irrfan in the film, Saba was good as the dominating better half who believed that moving in to a posh locality will help her lead ‘the life’ and also get her daughter admitted to an eminent English medium school. “She impressed us with her histrionics,” says Mohan, before adding, “She also looked perfect with Irrfan. Both complimented each other in the film.” Nahta says about her performance, “Saba was the right choice for the film. She was very confident good looking.”


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Nidhhi Agerwal

Her performance in Munna Michael received a mixed response. Many felt that she could have been better in this Tiger Shroff and Nawazuddin Siddiqui starrer. “She was ok I would say and must brush her skills. Also, I think what went against her was the failure of the film,” adds Mohan. Nahta, on his part, found Nidhi talented. “She was fantastic in the film both acting and dance wise. She has it in her to do well,” he says.

Sajal Ali

She played Sridevi’s daughter in Mom, and the Pakistani actor received a thumbs up for her performance. “She was good in the film. And I think given more prominence she would have done better too,” says Mohan. Sajal, for a newcomer, grabbed attention, as per Nahta. “Sajal lived up to her demanding role and lived up to everyone’s expectation. There were moments in the film where she was brilliant. She is a fine actor.”

Zhu Zhu

The Chinese actor stepped into the Hindi film industry with Salman Khan’s much-talked about Tubelight. Zhu Zhu’s acting skills were praised but at the same time that she was uncomfortable with the language, Hindi, was evident in her dialogue delivery. The film performed poorly at the box office and there were reports that Zhu Zhu, who was planning to visit India after the film’s release but was disappointed with the film’s performance, cancelled her trip. “Much like Mahira, she did not have much space in the film that obviously belonged to Salman. Her character was neither required nor justified in the film,” says Mohan. Nahta says that Indians are more open to Pakistani actors compared to artists from other parts of the world. “I don’t think the audience here can connect to foreign faces much, which is why one needs to be really good to create an impression. And she could not do that,” he explains.

Adnan Siddiqui

Pakistani actor Adnan Siddiqui , who has appeared in various TV shows in Pakistan, and also had a part in Angelina Jolie-Brad Pitt starrer A Mighty Heart, played Sridevi’s spouse in Mom and got noticed for his portrayal of a man balancing his role of husband and a father. While Nahta felt he was good in the limited scope he got in the film, Mehra added that Adnan did shine in the film and performed well.

Aadar Jain

Raj Kapoor’s grandson Aadar Jain had stakes running high on him given his lineage. Yet, he chose to step into Bollywood with a not so hyped first film, Qaidi Band, where he played the role of Sanju, an under trial who loves music. Qureshi found him talented but feels his film that bombed at the box office failed him. “He will do well in the coming times only if he chooses the right projects,” he adds. Mehra felt the same. “His was a tragic case, not many people saw his performance because his film just came and moved out of the theatres really quick.”

Mehreen Pirzada

She played the role of Life of Pi (2012) fame Suraj Sharma’s childhood sweetheart turned wife in the Anushka Sharma, Diljit Dosanjh starrer Phillauri. Mehreen’s role was pivotal to the plot and after the film released, she bagged four south Indian films. Qureshi scores her a seven on ten and adds, “She was very good in the film and has a bright future if she can hold herself well.” However, Mehra feels that there was nothing great about her in the film.

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She grabbed eyeballs as Jaya in Qarib Qarib Singlle and also earned praised for standing strong, matching up to an actor like Irrfan. And that too in a light hearted romantic drama. “She was promising and did well. I would like to see more of her and from me she gets an eight out of ten,” says Qureshi. Nahta enjoyed her performance but felt that she looked too old in few frames and could have been made to look better.

Kanan Gill

Kanan, a comedian and YouTube sensation, played the role of Saad Sehgal, Sonakshi Sinha’s best friend in Noor. Qureshi shares that he has the spark in him to do better and scores him a five on ten. “He has the potential and will do better,” he says. Mehra feels he went unnoticed much like his film and hence failed to make much of an impact.

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First Published: Dec 24, 2017 13:05 IST