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Baby Steps

The year 2012 was definitely the year of the newcomer. As the curtain rings down on the old, we raise a toast to new talent and wish them well

The year 2012 brought us many pleasant surprises. Among these were several small-budget films that did surprisingly well at the box office. These projects, applauded by the industry and audience alike, offered a platform for many newcomers to showcase their talent. They are a breath of fresh air for an industry hungry for fresh faces.

Take a look at the following list: Ayushmann Khurrana (Vicky Donor), Arjun Kapoor (Ishaqzaade), Alia Bhatt (Student Of The Year), Amy Jackson (Ekk Deewana Tha), Diana Penty (Cocktail), Esha Gupta (Jannat 2), Huma Qureshi (Gangs Of Wasseypur), Imran Zahid (Jannat 2), Ileana D’Cruz (Barfi!), Kayoze Irani (Student Of The Year), Manasi Rachh,  (Student of The Year), Madhu Shalini (Department), Priya Anand (English Vinglish), Paoli Dam (Hate Story), Pulkit Samrat (Bittoo Boss), Sidharth Malhotra (Student Of The Year), Varun Dhawan (Student Of The Year) and  Yami Gautam (Vicky Donor).

So as this year wraps up, these debutants share the response to their first film, the best compliment they have received for their performance in the film as well as their future projects.

Ayushmann Khurrana

I have always wanted to act but I was waiting for the right project to come along. So it was sheer luck that I received a call from Shoojit’s (Sircar) office. He had watched me on television and wanted to cast a Delhi boy in this film. He selected me without an audition. I thought it was a wonderful story. Like every newcomer or star, I too wanted my film to do well and I had no idea that it would turn out to be such a great film.

Acceptance from the industry was heartwarming and I received calls from many reputed directors but it was Rohan Sippy who offered me the role in his next film, Nautanki Saala. After that, I have Hamara Bajaj directed by Sircar and then YRF’s next. So, yes, the industry has been very kind to me.

Yami Gautam

I have already started receiving Best Debutante Actor awards and it feels great. When the casting director of the film Jogi (Mallang) called me for the auditions, I had just started a career in television. It was an interesting story. I had watched Yahaan, which I really liked so I knew that Shoojit Sircar was a brilliant director.

I was a little apprehensive before signing the film but my parents were very supportive. It was actually my mother who insisted that I take up this project. Once I was on board, there was no looking back. I knew the audience would like the film but I never dreamt it would become such a successful film. I received a great response from the industry as well as from the audience. We had a special screening of the film for the industry with close friends of John (Abraham) and Shoojit (Sircar) present. When someone likes a movie, you can see it in their eyes.

After Vicky Donor, I received many offers but I want to do quality work and choose a script I am convinced of. I am aware that I am a newcomer and perhaps shouldn’t be choosy but if something doesn’t excite me, I will not take it up. So after reading many scripts, I signed E Nivas’ Aman Ki Aasha with Ali Zafar.

Esha Gupta

I have heard that people have liked my debut film Jannat 2 and it has done really well, commercially. It’s a good start. The best compliment I received after the film was from my father. A man of few words, he said, ‘I love that I saw you on the big screen, but you are capable of a better performance’.

Naturally, I am happy that I have had two back-to-back releases after Jannat 2. Which debutante wouldn’t be? It’s a dream come true. I don’t hail from a film family, so it was difficult initially. Besides, Jannat 2 and Raaz 3 have done very well at the box office and my performances were also well received. I don’t think I could have asked for any more. Right now, I have a three-film contract with the Bhatts.

Priya Anand

The response to my performance in English Vinglish was amazing and totally unexpected. The film was a dream come true since I got the chance to do a film with my idol Sridevi. Actually, I accepted the role only because I was to share screen space with the actress.  I had no idea I would be making a career in Bollywood. I think the best compliment I have received is being picked to share the screen with Sridevi and some other great actors. I am very happy that the industry has opened up to newcomers like me.

I am currently working on Tamil and Telugu films along with Hindi films. I have Santosh Sivan’s Rangrezz and Mrighdeep Singh Lamba’s Fukrey.

Kayoze Irani

The response to my performance in Student Of The Year (SOTY) has been lovely. After the film released, I was shocked to see people recognise me on the streets. A lot of people also came up to me and told me that they loved my performance during the climax scene. I received plenty of compliments for my performance in the film but the one I will never forget was from Mr Amitabh Bachchan. After the film ended, he came up to me and said my performance was fantastic. I was very touched. Riteish Deshmukh too complemented me on my performance.

My career has only just begun. Before SOTY, if someone had asked me if I was happy with the way my career is shaping up, I would have said ‘no’. But now I can say that I am very, very happy. I have not signed any films right now but am going through some scripts.

Zeishan Quadri

I always wanted to become an actor and so I came to Mumbai. But I didn’t get a break for a while. So I thought I would explore my talent to write and penned a concept. One day, I spotted Anurag Kashyap at Prithvi Theatre and I told him about my concept. He liked it and asked me to write a script. I did a whole lot of research and wrote the script. He was very impressed with it and said he would make two films from it. He wrote the screenplay himself and taught me how to convert a script into screenplay.

He also asked me to audition for the character. That’s how my career in acting took off. After Gangs Of Wasseypur released, I received a heartwarming response from the industry. We went to Cannes and everyone applauded the film. Now, doors are opening for me to approach a producer as a writer and as an actor too. But I am yet to sign my next film. I am sure that in 2013, at least two of my films will go on the floors.

Sunny Leone

It’s been an absolutely fabulous journey in the film industry with Jism 2. I could not have asked for more. I know I have a lot more acting to learn but I think, for a first timer, I did fine. My best compliment came from my friends who thought I was great!

I will start shooting for Ragini MMS 2 from January 15 onwards. After that, I shoot for three more movies. It’s going to be a great year ahead.

Paoli Dam

I was doing films in Bengali and was happy over there when Vikram (Bhatt) approached me. After I heard the script of Hate Story, it gave me goose bumps. That’s when I decided to do this film. The role was bold and one which many girls would relate to. The character graph was brilliantly written. Secondly, it was a woman-oriented film, so it was challenging as well.

I received a lot of support from a lot of filmmakers. After the film released, I received many calls, complimenting me on the way I played my character. I think one has to be patient to get work. At present, I am doing Vikram Bhatt’s next titled Ankur Arora Murder Case.

Pulkit Samrat

I had a choice in my first film – react either to numbers or to the response from the public and the industry. The choice was very clear. I was more inclined towards the response from the audience, and the industry too welcomed me with warm hearts.

The best compliment I have received was from Salman Khan, who said, ‘You have arrived.’ I am very happy as the industry has given me a plateful of work. Right now, I am working on three projects, of which one is Fukrey with Excel Entertainment and is being directed by Mrighdeep Singh Lamba. The film showcases the bonding between male friends.

Madhu Shalini

I was never really interested in acting. But when I made my debut with a Telugu film, I started getting more and more offers. I realised I had a huge fan following and since then I have started looked at acting as a serious career option.

I have grown up watching Ram Gopal Varma’s films and one day I received a call from his office asking me to audition. I auditioned for Department and was thrilled about working with Amitabh Bachchan. People from the industry have appreciated my performance. I think reviews are very important and I received a very positive response from the media and the audience. After Department, I was lucky to work in Bhoot Returns, which gave me the space to show my talent and versatility. I have got a few projects since then. I can’t talk about my next film but I will start shooting early 2013.

Imran Zahid

The response to my debut film was good. Since I hail from a small town in Jharkhand, being on the big screen is a big deal. But before my debut film, I did a play called The Last Salute by Mahesh Bhatt. After the play ended, Bhatt saab walked up to the stage and hugged me and said he felt he was watching his life on the screen. This was the best compliment I have received.

My upcoming projects include Marksheet directed by Rakesh Ranjan Kumar. In this film, I play the character of Ranjit Don.

Huma Qureshi

I come from a family which does not have any filmy background. So my brother and I are lucky to have got a break in Bollywood. I had started my acting career with some ad films but it was my ad with Aamir Khan that was the real turning point of my life. Soon after I met Anurag Kashyap, who offered me Gangs Of Wasseypur (GOW). After the film released, I received a marvelous response from the industry. Actually, I signed a few films even before the release of GOW.

While shooting for GOW, I landed Vishal Bhardwaj’s Ek Thi Daayan. I have also signed a three-film deal with Ekta Kapoor. Currently, I am shooting for Nikhil Advani’s film D-Day.







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