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Sweet 16

The Hindi film industry gears up to welcome a host of new talent

In order to ensure a long innings in the film industry, getting the right launchpad is imperative for any newcomer. Rashi Khanna who made her debut in a small role in the recently released Madras Cafe, is already being considered a talent to watch out for. And believe it or not but a month from now, as many as 16 youngsters will be making their debut, starting with this week’s releases Zanjeer (Ram Charan) and Shuddh Desi Romance (Vaani Kapoor). Quick on the heels are Horror Story (Karan Kundra, Ravish Desai, Hasan Zaidi, Nishant Malkani, Aparna Bajpai, Radhika Menon and Nandini Vaid); The Lunchbox (Nimrat Kaur); WARNING (Jitin Gulati, Madhurima Tuli, Sumit Suri, Suzana Rodrigues and Santosh Barmola); and Besharam (Pallavi Sharda). Yes, that’s a whole lot of new talent coming our way. Here’s wishing them tons of luck. Let’s get to know some of these hopefuls

Ram Charan

It was Apoorva Lakhia’s brief for my character which made me say yes to the film Zanjeer. Secondly the film was already a brand. Also this was the first Hindi film offered to me so I didn’t take time to decide. This film released in Hindi as well as in Telugu as Toofan so my audience down South can also enjoy the film. We know there will be a lot of comparisons with the original but Apoorva gave it a new twist in his own way.

Nimrat Kaur

I have done a lot of theatre and I also did a film with director Vasan Bala called Peddlers, which was produced by Guneet Monga. For The Lunchbox, director Ritesh Batra was travelling to the Berlin Film Festival when Guneet showed him rushes from Peddlers and that’s how I landed The Lunchbox. It was a very out-of-the-box concept. It would usually take 10 years for an actress to get such a role but it came to me very early. So I grabbed the opportunity. And when I learnt that Irrfan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui were part of the film, I was even more excited. At that time, I actually wondered why he had cast me. I am very happy with the way the industry has accepted the film and me.

Madhurima Tuli

WARNING for me is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and will always be closest to my heart. I couldn’t have asked for more in my first film and I am truly honoured to be a part of Anubhav Sinha’s first home production.

Sumit Suri

I must say that WARNING is the best thing that has happened to me. Apart from acting, I am an adventurous person and shooting my first feature film, that too in 3D with real sharks in the Pacific Ocean, was an incredible once-in-a-lifetime experience. I was glad to do it with Anubhav Sinha and Eros. Emoting all the scenes in water was the biggest challenge for us all. I guess, I can call myself not only an actor but a ‘survivor’ after this experience.

Suzana Rodrigues

Working with the cast and crew of WARNING was an incredible journey because I got to work with a group that was passionate and hardworking. We spent long hours together in the middle of the ocean. My character in the film is about a girl who wants to live in the moment; loves to make new friends; and feels connected to the ocean. I wouldn’t have chosen a better bunch of people to start my work in films with.

Santosh Barmola

The WARNING experience will always be close to my heart for more reasons than being my debut film. It is the culmination of the efforts of many artistes and technicians all around the world working against all odds to make something we believe in and I feel privileged to be a part of this process.

Nishant Malkani

I started my acting career with television and did a show called Ram Milaayi Jodi, which became a superhit within months. Six months later, I realised I was missing something creatively and so I started scouting for work in the film industry. I got an offer from director Sai Kabir but that film is yet to be completed and then I landed Horror Story. It gave me the opportunity to work with Vikram Bhatt. It was also a very interesting concept, where four friends set off on an adventure but things go wrong as they find themselves in this spooky place. The best part about the film is there is no love angle or songs!

Nandini Vaid

Horror Story happened to me quite by chance. While I was modeling, I got a call from the casting director of the film. It all happened very quickly. It is important for every newcomer to first work with a brand and Horror Story had Vikram Bhatt’s name attached to it. Second, we completed the film in a month’s time. We also bonded very well and worked very hard.

Ravish Desai

I was a consultant with Ernst & Young but always wanted to act. So I quit my job and started doing ad films. I have done around 50 ads so far. But I always yearned to act in feature films and jumped at the opportunity when Horror Story came my way. I believe that when you’re a newcomer, a film chooses you. You begin to choose projects from your second onwards.

It was a wonderful experience as we were all new and we shot the film in just one month. I preferred a multi-starrer, especially as my debut film, rather than doing a solo lead that might not even release.

Hasan Zaidi

I was hosting a travel show for Sahara channel when I met Ayush Raina (director). So when he was making Horror Story, he called me. First, it’s a Vikram Bhatt banner and second, the script is very thrilling and a new concept in India. Shooting for Horror Story was a unique experience as we were shooting at night, and that too in hotel Tulip Star in Juhu, which has been shut for 12 years. I am sure the hotel itself has a few horror stories to tell. After Horror Story, I have Shilpa Shetty Production’s Dhishkiyaon.

Aparna Bajpai

I have done a lot of ad films and some modeling, and also two Tamil films, Easan and Karuppampatti. After that, I received a call from Vikram Bhatt’s office. I believe I was destined for this film because I couldn’t attend the auditions as I was unwell but they called the next week and I landed the part. Horror Story is different from the clichéd horror we keep seeing in Bollywood. I believe Ayush Raina has made the film in a very Hollywood style, where you don’t have songs and romance, and every scene is spooky. It was really great working with Vikram Bhatt and his team.

Karan Kundra

Films were never on my mind. I have worked with television and then hosted a show. I had met Vikram Bhatt a few times and he said, he would like to cast me in a film some time. So when he was making Horror Story, he called me to narrate the script. I loved the story and agreed to do it instantly.

We were shooting at hotel Tulip Star, which itself is like a haunted place. You know, the hotel has been shut for more than a decade but it still has carpets, utensils, television sets, etc. So it is the perfect setting for a horror film. Moreover, we were shooting at night and it was the perfect ambience.

Jitin Gulati

As with all things ‘first’ in our lives, working on my first film WARNING was very special. I am very lucky that my first film is India’s first 3D underwater film. Being in the movies has been a long cherished dream and I am very happy that my 70mm journey starts with a cinematic milestone like WARNING. Through this film, I got to work with some of the best technicians in the world; got trained extensively for my role; and shot on a large scale under difficult circumstances. It’s been a huge learning experience that has helped me find my rhythm as an actor. There has never been a dull moment since the day I started work on the film and I see the roller-coaster fun ride continuing till its release.

Radhika Menon

I had worked with Vikram Bhatt in a telefilm called Shaurat, Nafrat Aur Showbiz, where I played leading lady. Then I got a call from Bhatt’s office for Horror Story. I was really excited because I I was getting to debut under his banner. Horror Story is very special for me as I play the most crucial part in the film. Moreover, I have done all my stunts myself. I haven’t used any body-doubles. I had to fall and jump and run with fire in my hands. This is not your regular film with songs and a love angle. From the minute it rolls, it’s horror all the way.


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