2008: Year of the debutants
There were so many of them. One can easily say that the year 2008 belonged the new crop of actors, both male and female — the debutants. Some known, some unknown, some had huge hype before the release of their films; others quietly came and stole the hearts and show. In fact the maximum number of hit films of the year belonged to the new lot.
Of course the talk of the town, or in this case the entertainment industry was Farhan Akhtar. He has been a huge, absolutely big success debut story with the film Rock On! And for once it had nothing to do with the genes he has inherited from writer duo Javed Akhtar and Honey Irani. His father just penned the words for the songs and Farhan took it off from there.
He acted, he sang, he danced and he stole hearts. His music has become a chart buster, too. The rumour doing the rounds in the Indian film industry is that his successful stint as an actor-singer has made many veteran actors too take up singing classes. The success as a debut actor has hit him so hard that he has put all his directorial ventures on hold as he is busy acting in a couple of films now. One has to wait for the verdict on his second film to know how successful he would be. But he has an advantage — if he flops in the next film he can always go back to directing. A complete win-win situation.
Rock on! also launched the successful Indian TV star Prachi Desai (Bani of Kasam Se) as the lead actor opposite Farhan. She looked classy and acted her bit role very well. In fact, against Farhan she held her own very well. However, in the male-dominated film industry, the success of the film has not converted into film role offers for Prachi Desai.
The next debutant actor who had immense backing, good publicity and a word from his mega successful mamoo, Aamir Khan, was Imran Khan with the film Jaane tu ya Jaane na. The film was cleverly aimed at collegians and every collegian across India fell hook, line and sinker for Imran when he sang Pappu can’t dance saala… The song has almost become an anthem with the youth.
In no time at all Imran Khan became the heart throb of millions of girls, but unfortunately for him his second film Kidnap, released within a couple of months, sank and so did his popularity with the fickle-minded audience. Now with his third film he has to rebuild the rapport with his fans.
The worst debut film was Lovestory 2050, the launch pad for Harman Baweja. However much his publicist tried to plant stories of him being mistaken for Hrithik Roshan, and he himself copying Hrithik’s dance steps, he just couldn’t stay afloat. Though he has bagged a film with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, he definitely doesn’t have directors and producers queuing outside his door.
If any debutant became successful without any hype then it was Rajeev Khandelwal with the film Aamir. The man who stole a million hearts as the TV star of Indian serials such as Kahin to Hoga and Left Right Left was absolutely riveting as the lead actor of the film. And that too he opened with a debut director. He came across as a very sensitive actor who has traces of yester year super star Rajesh Khanna. Though the film didn’t actually make a huge box-office collection mainly because of the unusual story sans much advance hype, Rajeev caught the attention of all the critiques.
Another much-hyped first film actor was Sikander Kher — son of Anupam and Kirron Kher. Looks like Anupam hasn’t been able to pass on even an iota of his acting prowess to his stepson. Other than looking like an overgrown hairy bear, Sikander didn’t do much. The selection of films too were not good which came as a surprise as Kirron who has superb taste somehow couldn’t manage to get a good opening film for her son.
In the girls, Mughda Godse in the film Fashion was impressive. She has a good body and held herself very well against the veteran Priyanka Chopra and the talented but underestimated Kangana Ranaut. At present she definitely doesn’t look as a good replacement to any of the established actresses. But maybe she will improve after a film or so.
There were many expectations from Anoushka Sharma of Rab ne Bana di Jodi. She was compared with the debut of Deepika Padukone. Both hail from Bangalore and both had a dream opening against Shah Rukh Khan. To perform against SRK in their first film they must have been nervous but though Sharma held herself well against King Khan, she is no patch on Padukone.
Unfortunately for Shweta Kumar, the film Karzz, which only spoke of Himesh, did badly at the box office. So her debut went completely unnoticed. People spoke only about the debacle of Himesh Reshammiya. Another debutante, Sonal Chauhan of the film Jannat, too, is waiting in the wings for more offers. Though the film was one of the super hits of the year with Emran Hashmi in the lead, Sonal just couldn’t get people talk about her much.
It is difficult to say who would be the real lambi race ka ghoda or ghodi; but what we do know is that out of the 14 films that these youngsters debuted in, six of them have gone to become hits and one is waiting for the verdict when her debut film Ghajini with Aamir Khan in the lead releases.