40 years young: The New Entrants of 1983

Anil Kapoor has completed 40 years as a successful leading man. Photo: Raindrop Media 

Anil Kapoor’s publicity machine made a big thing out of his completing 40 years in films recently—Woh 7 Din, his home production, which had released on June 23, 1983. Yes, so far as a successful lead Hindi debut is concerned, that was accurate. But Anil actually has a complex history in cinema.

He had started off at the age of 11 in Tu Payal Main Geet in 1967, playing Shashi Kapoor’s childhood! The film never got completed. Anil finally made his debut with Hamare Tumhare (1979) in a small role. He became a lead actor first in the 1980 Telugu film, Vamsa Vruksham, directed by Bapu. In the same year, he also appeared in a cameo in Ek Baar Kaho and was one of the assistants to Bapu in his father Surinder Kapoor’s Hum Paanch.

Then came a lead role in M. S. Sathyu’s Kahan Kahan Se Guzar Gaya (the first Hindi film Anil Kapoor signed and shot for as a main lead actor). The film lay completed and unreleased until 1986! He did a small role in Shakti (1982) as Amitabh Bachchan and Smita Patil’s son, and made his Kannada film debut with Mani Ratnam’s Pallavi Anu Pallavi (1983). He played his first Hindi film leading role (released) in Rachna (1982) opposite the late Pradeep Kumar’s daughter Beena.  And so, Woh 7 Din, which was again directed by Bapu and featured Padmini Kolhapure and Naseeruddin Shah, was actually his seventh appearance on screen!

Anil has proved his lasting-power, versatile range at everything from comic to negative, in the decades he has been around, and retains his “star” value even today.

Today, Anil’s children, Sonam K. Ahuja and Harshvardhan Kapoor, have made some impact in mainstream and mid-stream cinema, respectively.

High-Five: Woh 7 Din, Meri Jung, Lamhe, Welcome, 24 (TV Series)

Let us now look at the remaining new star entrants of 1983—in alphabetical order.

Amrita Singh

Amrita Singh made a spitfire debut, making her own solid mark in a production primarily meant to launch a major star-son—Sunny Deol—in Rahul Rawail’s Betaab. The film was a super-hit, ghost-produced by Sunny’s father, Dharmendra, and was directed by Rahul Rawail, already famous for launching Kumar Gaurav, the son of Rajendra Kumar.

Today, Amrita Singh continues to make sparks fly whenever she makes a rare appearance (2 States, Badla). Her daughter, Sara Ali Khan, is now considered a promising new actress.

High-Five: Betaab, Naam, Aaina, 2 States, Kalyug

Jackie Shroff with mentor Subhash Ghia. Photo: Publicity Photo

Jackie Shroff

Jackie Shroff was a model and had done a cameo as the villain’s henchman in Swami Dada (1982), filmed by Dev Anand. Subhash Ghai launched him in a big way with the musical crime drama, Hero. A slow starter, the December 16 release ran for 100 weeks later in matinee shows.

Today, Jackie Shroff is an evolved and versatile character artiste who excels in positive (Dhoom:3) as well as negative (Sooryavanshi) roles. He has also done films in multiple languages. His son, Tiger Shroff, has carved his own niche as an action hero who is also a fitness icon.

High-Five: Hero, Parinda, Aurangzeb,  Happy New Year & Criminal Justice (web series)

Meenakshi Seshadri

The Manoj Kumar discovery of the flop, Painter Babu (she was the only one of three actors discovered in it—hero Rajeev Goswani, Manoj’s brother, and Neelima—who made it big). She blasted her way to stardom with Subhash Ghai’s Hero and did not look back for a good while until she quit after marriage.

High-Five: Hero, Swati, Jurm, Aapadbandhavudu (Telugu),  Damini

Rajiv Kapoor

Raj Kapoor’s youngest son was the only one not launched by his father—his debut film was Ek Jaan Hain Hum, which did not do too well—it was released on September 16. He did sign quite a few films with his Shammi Kapoor-like cultivated image, but the only film that did terrific business was his father’s Ram Teri Ganga Maili, in which the central character was played by Mandakini. He later tried to be a director and editor and shared the production mantle with elder brothers Randhir and Rishi after Raj’s death, but it was no-go. The actor passed away in 2021.

Sunny Deol is going strong despite no hits for a long while. Photo: Publicity Photo

Sunny Deol

He has had a dull streak as an actor, as well as a filmmaker, in the last several years—his last hit being the 2011 Yamla Pagla Deewana. But his all-time blockbuster, Gadar—Ek Prem Katha (2001) was theatrically re-released recently with success. Sunny has also entered politics and is a BJP MP. The sequel to this massive hit, Gadar 2, will release around the 40th anniversary (August 5) of his debut smash-hit and home production, Betaab, on August 12, 2023, and is expected to be another blockbuster.

Today, Sunny Deol’s son Karan Deol, who married early this month, is trying to make his space in showbiz.

High-Five: Betaab, Arjun, Ghayal, Damini, Gadar—Ek Prem Katha

The also-rans:

Divya Rana (Ek Jaan Hain Hum), Manoj Kumar’s brother Rajeev Goswami & Neelima (Painter Babu), Manoj Kumar’s son Kunal Goswami (Ghungroo, Kalakaar and Do Gulab, all flops), Maneesha Kohli (actor Dev Kumar’s daughter).





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