As 2012 draws to a close, BizAsia have had a look at the year and realised that new faces arrived in B-town in abundance. From new directors to new producers to debutant performers. Here۪s a look at the most promising debuts of 2012, looking back at those who have made their mark already with their first performances.
This debutante definitely stands out from the crowd. Already having been an established actress in the Telugu film industry, this transfer to Bollywood by Ileane D’Cruz was no stranger to the camera. However, when starting her Bollywood career, D۪Cruz found herself pitted against world famous actors Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra, in Anurag Basu۪s Barfi!۪ (2012). Despite this, D۪Cruz performed the girl-next-door type of character who falls for the deaf-mute Murphy (Barfi) so beautifully that the audiences find themselves indulged in her character’s story. Winning the hearts of many, D۪Cruz effortlessly portrayed emotions of love, sorrow, happiness and wonders, giving her critical acclaim and playing an imperative part of the film۪s success. Proving she has what it takes, D۪Cruz is indeed one glamour girl to look out for.
With her father Mahesh Bhatt and sister Pooja Bhatt already being quite predominant within the Indian film fraternity, there was much anticipation as to how well Alia Bhatt would perform in Karan Johar۪s Student Of the Year۪ (2012). Exceeding what was expected of her, Bhatt plays the character of a rich yet naive Shanaya simply and effectively. Often compared to the character of Pooja played by Kareena Kapoor in Johar۪s Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham۪ (2001) (without the uptight attitude), Bhatt moved her audience into the world of her character as someone who deals with friendships and love and with a lot of love for designer labels. The film received mixed reviews but became a box office hit. Managing to capture the essence of her character, this seems to be the perfect debut for Bhatt in which she proved she is more than just a pretty face with a big name.
It has been said that she simply walked through the door and filmmaker Homi Adajania knew he found his second leading lady for his project, Cocktail۪ (2012). Model-turned-actress Diana Penty made her debut in this film playing a very simple girl who comes to London from India, only to be rejected by the man she is supposed to marry. Like D۪Cruz, Penty also faced the challenge of being seen with established actors; in this case Deepika Padukone and Saif Ali Khan. Similarly to D’Cruz, Penty also succeeded in leaving a mark. Her portrayal of Meera sees her evolve from a shy, awkward person into a confident romantic character. Audiences and critics alike fell for Penty immediately, touching on how she plays a character with so many complexities throughout the film. Penty shows she has the whole package with the looks, the acting and the moves to go with it.
Another model-turned-actress who made her debut on the big screen is Huma Qureshi. Best known for her many commercial ads and television work, Qureshi was first seen on this year in Anurag Kashyap۪s Gangs of Wasseypur۪ (2012), playing a supporting role. Despite this, Qureshi managed to shine through a huge cast, playing Nawazuddin Siddiqui۪s hard-to-get love interest. Delivering some quirky dialogues, with some brilliant chemistry sequences, the actress managed to capture the audience۪s attention in an instant. She followed on from that role in ‘Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana’ opposite the hunky Kunal Kapoor.
Bollywood saw television actress Yami Gautam flatter the big screen with the film Vicky Donor۪ (2012) playing a Bengali girl who falls for Ayushmann Khurrana۪s character, Vicky Arora. The film received commercial success, as did Gautam, reflecting a girl۪s transformation from a world full of happiness to see the same world crashing and crumbling. Through her natural style of acting, Gautam۪s performance was much acclaimed by critics, and also appreciated by audiences worldwide.
Son of Boney Kapoor and the late Mona Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor stormed on to the screens with the Yash Raj Films production Ishaqzaade۪ (2012), playing a rebellious small town boy who falls in love with a character played by Parineeti Chopra in what can only be described as a Romeo-and-Juliet-esque style. Playing the rustic and audacious Parma Chauhan was indeed perfect for Kapoor, who got into the skin of the character perfectly. From the look to even the way he delivered his dialogues with the carefree attitude, he really managed to get into the heart of his role. Although the film didn۪t do as well as hoped with the masses, Kapoor۪s performance got him noticed by all, and soon enough he has become the man that almost everyone wants to cast.
Starring in a Karan Johar production is definitely something not to be taken lightly. The pressure for this young actor must have been great. However, it is safe to say that Sidharth Malhotra definitely did his role in Student of the Year۪ (2012) some justice. Malhotra plays an orphaned sportsman who has earned his place at a prestigious college through his scholarship. Determined to be seen as an equal to the rest of the extremely rich and extrovert students of the college, Malhotra۪s character, Abhimanyu, becomes best friends with one of the students and falls in love with another. Malhotra manages to pull off all the emotions that initially make up a Johar film. He exceeds in enhancing the viewer۪s attention in order for them to journey along with him through his trials, triumphs, heartbreaks and struggles, so they become a part of his world. Already having the perfect model look which the camera seems to love, Malhotra proved he isn۪t just a pretty face, and has effortlessly triumphed over critics and viewers alike.
Another celebrity kid with a 2012 debut is Varun Dhawan who also first pleasured the screens in Karan Johar’s Student of The Year۪ (2012), also as male lead. Playing Malhotra۪s rich best friend, and Alia Bhatt۪s boyfriend, Dhawan plays the guy that can be loved and hated at the same time. His character’s personality shows him off as a spoilt rich brat living off his father’s money, and almost being a good-for-nothing who preys on those not so fortunate. Then, when he becomes best friends with Malhotra, Dhawan manages to generate the perfect good guy in his character that makes viewers think, He۪s not so bad. With such a complex character, Dhawan gives a credible act for his first film, giving off that he has potential to reach new heights and make a huge impact within the film industry.
Vicky Donor۪ was a first venture for many, mainly John Abraham who debuted as producer and Ayushmann Khurranna with his first acting project. This film saw Khurrana in the role of Vicky Arora, who becomes a sperm donor in order to earn some cash and unintentionally turns into a profession without telling his family. Khurrana was very much appreciated for this role, where he performed effortlessly as audiences were made to believe that the actor is initially playing himself. Even with the transition from a comic character to someone who finds himself in confusion and turmoil, Khurrana۪s performance is solid throughout the film. He even manages to create some very memorable moments, which will surely serve him well in the future. Khurrana is indeed another great performer to keep an eye on as it looks like he has a lot more to show.
Coming from the very well known South-Indian background, there seemed to be much hype about this buff actor. However, when his debut Bollywood film Aiyyaa۪ (2012) released, audiences seemed to be disappointed for one reason (out of many) that Prithivraj wasn۪t really given a proper acting platform, with only having very little lines to work with. Despite this, the few dialogues that he was allocated with were performed naturally and as sincerely as possible. Even with having to share the screen with Rani Mukerji۪s over-the-top character, Prithviraj never went unnoticed on screen. Although the film didn۪t give him the chance to show his true potential, it is obvious to see that given the right role, he could work magic with the camera and for a film. He already has the look that so many filmmakers are looking for and playing a chocolate boy worked in his favour due to this. The lack of performance opportunity given to Prithviraj in this film will hopefully be made up for in the future and we can hope he will have the chance to be much more appreciated.
This list would be incomplete without a special mention of another debut which was seen in ‘Student of the Year’ and this is of Kayoze Irani. To make a mark with his first film in an industry which his father, Boman Irani, is well established and respected in would have been difficult for him. Having said that, it seems Irani took to acting like a duck to water in the film, creating an impression even though he wasn’t playing a lead character. He’s definitely one to watch.
Though there are others who didn۪t quite make the cut, much of the debutdents from 2012 have been extremely impressive not only to audiences, but to their senior actors as well. Here۪s hoping these newbies exceed in reaching their potential, and giving the audiences a chance to travel through their journey to success.