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8 Newcomers Who Made An Impact in 2020



 If I say 2020 was   not  a  good year for new acting talent in  Bollywood, you will turn around to ask, what was the  year good for?  But seriously, there  were some who made  an impact beyond  the ordinary. Here is my pick  from the bright bunch.

1.     Pratik Gandhi: A  recognizable name  in  Gujarati cinema  and  theatre , Pratik’s debut as Harshad Mehta in Hansal Mehta’s Scam 1992wasn’t supposed to make  the impact that  it did. What  made  him such a household  name ? The Everyman quality! Pratik wasn’t trying to be  a star  . He played a character.He stayed there. The fact that he was an unknown face in Hindi  gave him an immediate edge  as Harshad. Pratik has gone from mob to mobbed in  one swift stroke. Destiny.

2.     Alaya F:  Once upon a  time, before Covidstruck, a lovely girl named Alaya, not to be confused with Alia , made her striking debut as Saif Ali Khan’s illegitimate  daughter  in Jawani  Jaan-e-Mann.  There is something quietly  arresting about this star kid. She is eloquent  expressive and confident.Chic  poised  and  wise  beyond her  tender years. She has a  long road ahead.

3.     Roshan Mathew:  Whatever  one’s quibbles  with Anurag Kashyap’s cinema, there is no denying the fact that he has an eye for new talent. Roshan,  a brilliant Malayali actor played SayamiKher’s wastrel husband in Kashyap’s  Choked with such empathy that he immediately proved here was an actor who knows  the  chops. I can’t wait to see what he does next in Hindi cinema.

4.     Surya Sharma: Not many  know  him as yet. But  make no mistake he is destined for stardom. In  the excellent webseries  Undekhi Surya plays the kind of ruthless amoral spruced-up lout who brings  a bad name to money.  As  Rinku(ironically wimpish name for someone  so  brutal)  presides over the narrative at though it was inherited  property. Sharma  is  absolutely chilling in the way he normalizes crime  and  treats women  like  vassals, and  vessels. He  nails  the  character and  gives the series a seriously  breathless spin. Watch out for the Surya Namaskar.

5.     Sanjana Sanghi:   Though she  did bit roles earlier, Sanjana made her debut as a leading lady in Sushant Singh Rajput’s farewell film Dil Bechara.To play a dying girl with pipes running out of  your nose in  your first film is hardly anyone’s idea of  a dream role. Sanjana made her presence felt.

6.     Prit  Kamani: Not many saw him  in a Netflixflick called Maska . Kamani  plays  Rumi , heir to a crumbling  Irani café, with  a sense of melancholic innocence. He is  ambitious  but not quite  clued-in enough to support his ambitions. In one hilarious  sequence he walks into a film audition stark naked because  it’s the  role of  a man caught with his pant’s down. This  chap is way too  earnest and roast-worthy. But Rumi is kind generous and compassionate. Kamani is able to  convey  all of this. It’s  quite  a debut performance.

7.     Aditi  Subedi: In Baba Azmi’s Mee Raqsamthis  chit of  a girl played  Mariam,  a Muslim girl  from  a conservative   family who decides  to do  something forbidden. Learn  Bharat Natyam. It’s hard  to believe that  Aditi had absolutely no  experience in  acting or  in dancing. She  is a  natural-born.

8.     Shardul Bhardwaj: As  the gentle compassionate autorickshaw driver in NityaMenon’s  Chand Mubarak(in the Unpausedanthology) Shardul  brings to his part a kind of empathy and understanding that is rarely seen. He  was  sweet-tempered  but  not cloying. Rest assured , we will see a lot more of  him in  2022. Covid and God willing.

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