BizAsia’s 10 most promising debuts 2017


2017 has been an exciting year for fresh faces in the industry. With a wide range of actors and actresses joining Bollywood from different film industries and others as total newcomers, takes a look back at the top five male and top five female debutantes, who have managed to make their mark in their first Bollywood performance.

Male debutantes
Adnan Siddiqui – ‘Mom’
Better known for his extensive work in the Pakistan Film Industry, Adnan Siddiqui’s entry in Bollywood was like a breath of fresh air with his role as Sridevi’s husband, in Ravi Udyawar’s ‘Mom’. Though he isn’t the protagonist, his on-screen presence as a strong, doting father and husband, leaves a lasting impression. Despite being a star in his own right, Siddiqui plays this supporting role with absolute humbleness and honesty, winning the hearts of all who watch him, and it becomes easy to see why he is already so popular.

Suraj Sharma – ‘Phillauri’
Debuting in a film where your screen space is shared with one of India’s most appreciated actresses is no easy task. However, Suraj Sharma managed to shine through, in his role as Kanan in Anshai Lal’s ‘Phillauri’, alongside Anushka Sharma. With the film attracting a wider age ranged audience, Sharma played his character with such confidence that he became instantly relatable to the younger masses. His comical timing and eccentric demeanor was something that stood out well.

Kanan Gill – ‘Noor’
Already having made a name for himself as a stand-up comedian, Kanan Gill stepped into acting for the first time in Sunhil Sippy’s ‘Noor’, which also starred Sonakshi Sinha. Playing the role of Sinha’s best friend, Gill gleamed through in his small yet whimsical role as Saad. Though the film didn’t fare well at the box office, Gill’s performance didn’t go unnoticed and was one name that kept propping up as a positive for the film and we are sure that audiences hope to see more of him on screen.

Aadar Jain – ‘Qaidi Band’
After his brother Armaan Jain less than satisfactory debut a few years back, Aadar Jain was set to make his mark in the industry and it seemed he had a lot more pressure riding on him than anyone else. His performance as Sanju in Habib Faisal’s ‘Qaidi Band’ proved that he has what it takes to make it on his own. Despite the film not having left much of an impression on audiences as a whole, Jain’s representation of someone under trial whose perspectives change throughout the film, surely did. In the attempt to make his character as relatable as possible for a Yash Raj production, Jain did a good job and, through this, it became obvious that this young actor has the potential to reach the status of a complete star in his own right.

Mustafa Burmawala – ‘Machine’
Being launched by your own father and uncle who were responsible for some of the Industry’s biggest films, one would think Mustafa Burmawala was in for an easy ride. However, with his debut film ‘Machine’ having bombed at the box office, it was hard to see a stand-out performance. However, Burmawala did manage to capture the attention of his audiences through his screen presence.

Female debutantes
Saba Qamar – ‘Hindi Medium’
Being an established actress in Pakistan already, Saba Qamar became an instant hit with audiences with her performance in Saket Chaudhary’s ‘Hindi Medium’. Portraying the strong-headed, determined wife (who, along with her husband played by Irrfan Khan), goes through major life changes in order to get their daughter into an English Medium school, Qamar won the hearts and laughs of the audience. Her comedy matched that of Khan’s perfectly, to the point where one forgot she was new to the industry. She showed ease and confidence with her role even when she was in the same frame as Khan, proving she has a lot more to show.

Sajal Ali – ‘Mom’
From the small screen Pakistan, Sajal Ali is also another big name that found her way to the Indian masses this year in ‘Mom’. With her role as Sridevi’s step-daughter and a victim of rape, she showed a talent which made it easy to see why she is loved so much across the border. Her on-screen presence was as fierce as that of Sridevi’s, and she impressed the viewers beyond expectation. Portraying her role with such intensity, Ali managed to make her audience become completely engrossed into what her character is going through at every stage, proving she is another name to look out for in the future.

Mahira Khan – ‘Raees’
Another actress to emerge from Pakistan this year was Mahira Khan, who sparked a lot of interest as to how she would come across in one of 2017’s biggest films, opposite none other than Shah Rukh Khan. Nonetheless, it seems the pressure didn’t faze the actress at all and she played Khan’s wife Aasiya in Rahul Dholakia’s ‘Raees’. Though her role was small, Khan brought out her best every time she appeared on screen. Viewers were able to see her beauty, charisma, and charm and her chemistry with King Khan was particularly endearing.

Anya Singh – ‘Qaidi Band’
Though the film didn’t hit the mark with audiences overall, Anya Singh was another shining star of Habib Faisal’s ‘Qaidi Band’. Her portrayal of a female under trial who supports her prison bandmates was strong and her confidence was evident from her first appearance on screen. Her acting was smooth, striking and so enthralling, that audiences may have forgotten that this was her first film. It remains to be seen where this actress shines next.

Mehreen Pirzada – ‘Phillauri’
Having had a taste for acting in the South, Mehreen Pirzada’s supporting role as Anu in ‘Philluari’ seemed like the perfect opportunity for her to take on Bollywood. Representing the character of Suraj Sharma’s bride, Pirzada played her character in a perfectly light and sweet way. Doing her best in attempting to capture the emotions, Pirzada managed to hold her audience’s attention enough for them to feel for her character. Through this film, it’s fair to say the actress has proved her potential and should hopefully, succeed with much meatier roles in the future.


Here’s hoping the Indian Film Industry gives all of these impressive talents the chance to grow and prove themselves further, where they can continue to impress and entice cinema-goers across the globe in the years to come.

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