Newbie central

Written by Priyanka Sinha Jha | Updated: Jul 4 2014, 21:03pm hrs
With the flying start that Ek Villain has got off to, it has now been proven beyond doubt that a very capable new order (of actors and directors) is firmly being set up. A glance at almost all the films in 2014 that have worked at the boxoffice or garnered critical acclaim have been those with newcomers in the cast Gunday (Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh), Highway (Alia Bhatt), Hasee Toh Phasee (Parineeti Chopra and Sidharth Malhotra), Main Tera Hero (Varun Dhawan, Ileana D'cruz and Nargis Fakhri), 2 States ( Alia Bhatt, Arjun Kapoor) Citylights (Rajkummar Rao), Heropanti ( Tiger Shroff and Kriti Sannon) and now Ek Villian (Shraddha Kapoor and Sidharth Malhotra),point in a new direction.

This surge of fresh talent, but obviously, is good news for the hapless directors and producers desperately in search of acting and creative talent that is both affordable and available. And the audience's wholehearted support to films top-lining newbies has only bolstered the investors' confidence. Young talent joining the Bollywood workforce is not new. In the past, every decade or half decade at the very least, new stars were created or born. A majority of them were star sons and daughters and then some more. Back in the late 80s and early 90s, the Khan trioAamir (Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak), Salman (Maine Pyaar Kiya) and Shah Rukh (Deewana), arrived in the point at which Bollywood history starts for a significant fraction of movie watchers. Hot on the heels were Akshay Kumar and Saif Ali Khan while Hrithik Roshan, John Abraham and Shahid Kapoor came a decade later. Till then the significant leading men and women were too few and far between. Anil Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor (who actually started out rather young) Sanjay Dutt, Sunny Deol, Sanjay Dutt being the notable names. Leading ladies of some importance were even fewer Sridevi, Padmini Kolhapure, Meenakshi Sheshadri and Madhuri Dixit among them.

Compare that with the present scenario when a clutch of new talent of all tenor and texture is finding its way to the marquee every year, and you'd know why directors are walking around with a bounce in their steps and a twinkle in their eye. From the Bollywood grapevine, word is that Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab's son Sooraj is the youngster to watch out for, as is Tiger Shroff who has been endorsed by none less than Aamir Khan himself!

Interestingly enough, even banners like YashRaj Films once known to work only with stars, has of late been banking on newcomers. Anushka Sharma, Ranveer Singh, Parineeti Chopra, Vaani Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor, Ayushmann Khurrana, Sushant Singh Rajputin list is a pretty impressive one. Dharma Productions has to its credit three of the major young stars in the block namely Alia Bhatt, Sidharth Malhotra and Varun Dhawan while Vishesh Films which turned introducing new talent into a habit, continues with the trend.

And powerful, experienced superstar mentors cherry picking from the young talent pool is only making things better. Salman Khan, besides launching Sonakshi Sinha, has a bunch of newbies working in films under his bannerDaisy Shah, Suraj Pancholi, and Pulkit Samrat; Akshay Kumar just produced Fugly with Kiara Advani, Mohit Marwah and boxer Vijender Singh and he has also signed up Kirti Sannon for his film Singh is Bling. Saif Ali Khan's Illuminati Films launched Diana Penty in Cocktail and now has Lekar Hum Deewana Dil with wife Kareena Kapoor Khan's cousin Armaan Jain, and Deeksha Seth.

Aamir Khan too launched Imran Khan and Prateik Babbar. The results are there for everyone to see. A bunch of new actors are cutting their teeth on delicious new-age Bollywood cinema. At a time when the industry is more prolific than ever before with close to 200 films being made every year, such efforts are a God sent. The old order is indeed making way for the new.

priyanka.sinha@expressindia.com, Twitter.com/psinha20