Meet the Ten 10 year-olds of Hindi cinema—Part 1

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Alia Bhatt in one of her many triumphs of this year—Gangubai Kathiawadi. Photo: Universal Communications.

They have all completed a decade this year. Fresh faces then, most of them are established stars today, and one or more might well become the biggest names in the years to come.

These new actors have all carved their individualistic paths, some have experimented with diverse platforms, and each has his own standing today in the new-age horizons of Hindi cinema. What is immensely gratifying is that, irrespective of the quantum of success, they have each etched out careers that will keep them going on their own terms, and without modeling their images on past actors or, as has happened quite frequently in the past, by imitating icons of the past pantheon of our great stars.

Seven of these stars, interestingly, were all introduced with just three films in 2012. Karan Johar’s Student of the Year gave us Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan and Sidharth Malhotra, Yash Raj Films’ Ishaqzaade presented Arjun Kapoor and (in her first solo lead) Parineeti Chopra, while Shoojit Sircar’s Vicky Donor introduced Ayushmann Khurrana and Yammi Gautam.

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2012 also introduced three other new talents: Huma Qureshi in Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur, Sunny Leone in Pooja Bhatt’s Jism 2 and Esha Gupta in Mukesh Bhatt’s Jannat 2. These three may not be big-ticket names in cinema but have all made a place for themselves.

Let us look at their journeys in alphabetical order.

Alia Bhatt

Mahesh Bhatt’s daughter made a teenybopper debut with Student of the Year and soon showed her depth and range with Highway, 2 States and Udta Punjab. Alia grasped the commercial game, enabling a perfect mix with intelligent and sensitive cinema, as shown by her choices of Dear Zindagi, Badrinath Ki Dulhania, Gully Boy and Raazi. The last film also proved she could carry a movie on her petite shoulders, commercially as well.

10 years down: She became Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s choice for Gangubai Kathiawadi, did a small but key role in RRR, turned producer with and gave a fab performance in Darlings and acted in Brahmastra in 2022. A complete winner this year, she also got married to long-term beau Ranbir Kapoor and delivered a baby girl. 2022 has been the best year in her life so far and she is set for higher glories, though at the moment, she is focusing on her newfound motherhood.

Arjun Kapoor

Boney Kapoor’s son made a mark with Ishaqzaade, Gunday and 2 States, all successful films. He essayed a challenging dual role in what was merely his second movie, Aurangzeb, though the film failed. And that is Arjun’s main negative: while Aurangzeb came to him from his mentors and was a good film, most of his subsequent choices, like Tevar (his home production), Half Girlfriend and Namaste England, were those he should have avoided like the proverbial bargepole. Plus, he never paid attention to his figure (read girth) and invited negativity for that as well, despite some good performances (Sardar Ka Grandson, Bhoot Police, Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar).

10 years down: He has taken himself to task about his looks and is fitter, slimmer. But his choice of films, sadly, does not look too promising, except for the remake of the Malayalam film, Ayyappanum Koshiyum.

Ayushmann Khurrana

His Vicky Donor (in which he also sang and co-composed some songs), set the tone for all the hits from his 18-film career. Ayushmann found, after a few errors of judgment in setups rather than subjects, his métier in films like Dum Laga Ke Haisha, Bareilly Ki Barfi, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, Badhaai Ho, Bala, AndhaDhun and Dream Girl. Of late, he has tended to go overboard in the different social subjects and has faced a lack of audience for his last few movies.

10 Years Down: But Ayushmann has wised up fast. He has studied the market, and now wants to widen his film choices to those fit for “community viewing” (read masses). His insistence on quirk and a different approach remains. The actor hopes for a fresh beginning with An Action Hero, followed by Dream Girl 2, his first sequel.

Esha Gupta

Her first year saw three diverse films and performances: Jannat 2, Raaz 3 and Chakravyuh, and the first two did well. She impressed also in her gray turns in Rustom and Commando 2. Her choice of a mix of lead an parallel roles led to an array of assignments, including down South.

10 years down: Esha has proved a bankable actor even outside lead roles and has given outstanding accounts of herself in TV and web series like RejectX, Aashram and Nakaab. Coming up are her films Tippsy and File 323. The variety is on…

Huma Qureshi

That she was a meticulous actor was proved by both her 2012 debut movies, Gangs of Wasseypur and Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana. And Ek Thi Daayan, D-Day and Dedh Ishqiya further illustrated that while she was not the stuff conventional female stars are made up of, she could be depended upon for doing great justice to her characters. Badlapur and Jolly LLB 2 were further illustrations of this versatility, as was her short, Gubbare and her small role in BellBottom.

10 years down: Apart from her films Monica O My Darling and Double XL, Huma has upped her histrionic ante with her phenomenal turns in the web series Mithya and Maharani.

To be cont’d…

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