Newcomer roster: fresh faces, old woes

By Durga Chakravarty

New Delhi, July 28 (IANS) Lights, camera, action! New-gen Bollywood is raring to go, and second wind at the box-office may brighten fortunes of a bunch of rookies who are raring to make their debut in the film industry in the crucial second half of 2019. It hasnt been a great year for newcomers so far, so the future for new faces will remain uncertain.

Bollywood's debutant roster in the months ahead points to bloodline. Sunny Deol's son Karan, Suniel Shetty's son Ahan, and Mahesh Manjrekar's daughter Saiee are among new faces lined up for debut. They are likely to face a steep climb, what with all the aggressive nepotism talk against filmi lineage.

"There is always a place for new faces but eventually it is the subject (that matters). Everything else becomes secondary if the subject is good," trade analyst Vinod Mirani told IANS.

The year so far has not given any great scripts for debutants of the first half. Mohnish Bahl's daughter Pranutan kick-started her career with Salman Khan's production "Notebook" alongside another debutant, Zaheer Iqbal. The romantic drama crashed because most felt it had no USP.

The most high-profile debuts have happened in the Karan Johar-produced "Student of the Year 2". K.Jo, known to be the grand godfather of industry kids, launched Chunky Panday's daugher Ananya along with the outsider Tara Sutaria opposite Tiger Shroff.

Ananya's debut raised eyebrows as the filmmaker was criticized for bringing in yet another Bollywood baby into the limelight.

"People should watch the film and then make judgement. I will be okay with whatever judgement comes after that," Ananya told IANS.

Others who stepped into Bollywood this year were Jaaved Jaffrey's son Meezaan and Sanjay Leela Bhansali's niece, Sharmin Sehgal, in the box-office dud "Malaal".

It is important to understand the failure of "Malaal", "Student of the Year 2" and "Notebook" because it leaves a warning for the industry, and for debutants it has lined up over the next months. When it comes to fresh faces, simply tom-toming lineage won't work. As Mirani pointed out, an arresting script is the important thing.

As we inch towards the second half, a handful of new talents are set to twinkle at the silver screen.

Saurav Gurjar will make his Bollywood debut in a pivotal role in the Ranbir Kapoor-Alia Bhatt starrer "Brahmastra". Gurjar, known for portraying Bheem and Ravan on the small screen, will be seen playing a negative role in the fantasy adventure movie directed by Ayan Mukerji.

Actor-politician Sunny Deol's son Karan Deol will be launched opposite debutant actress Sahher Bambba in "Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas". Taking no chance, Sunny directs the film, slated for September 20.

"When a pedigree star like Sunny Deol's son makes his debut, people will be curious. So, even if the film doesn't work, he will get a few more offers," Mirani explains, how being an industry kid can work in a newcomer's favour.

Suniel Shetty's son Ahan makes his way into Bollywood with the remake of the Telugu hit, "RX100".

"He (Ahan) has associated with a good script, producer and director for his debut film," dad Suniel said about his son's debut.

A big bang announcement, when it comes to industry kids, came recently, when it was confirmed that actor-filmmaker Mahesh Manjrekar's 20-something daughter Saiee would make her debut opposite the 54-year-old Salman Khan in "Dabangg 3, as his love interest of the past. Although the film opens only in Eid next year, the buzz around Saiee's debut will continue to cover much media space over the next months.

Actress Bhagyashree's son Abhimanyu Dassani and social media star Shirley Setia have been roped in for Sabbir Khan's action film "Nikamma", which will be releasing in the summer of 2020.

Abhimanyu had a low-profile debut with "Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota" recently. Despite a fresh idea, the film collapsed owing to unsure writing.

"Scripts matters. If you see 'Uri: The Surgical Strike', which made Rs 100 crore, it had no stars. If the script is good and the makers are careful, only then a film will work," Mirani insists.

Wish them luck!

(Durga Chakravarty can be reached at durga.c@ians.in)

--IANS

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