Salman Khan’s New Proteges, The Insider & The Outsider

It is interesting that  promoting  new talent comes  instinctively to Salman Khan.Although  not  many of his  discoveries  barring  Sonakshi Sinha  have been  successful, over  the years he has given the  film industry talent as varied as  Himesh Reshammiya, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Sonakshi Sinha and Sooraj Barjatya.

 In  the  film   Notebook,  a tender supple Kashmir-based  love story directed by Nitin Kakkar who directed Filmistan the game changing satire on Indo-Pak relations,  Salmanintroduced  two  newcomers. While the leading man Zaheer  Iqbal is a complete outsider with no connections  in  the film industry at  all,Pranutan is  a fourth-generation  actor all set to  conquer showbiz.

Pranutan’s great-grandmother was the great Shobhana Samarth  who  revolutionized  the way  audiences in  the 1930s  and 40s looked at  the  female protagonist. Pranutan’s grandmotherNutan needs  no introduction.  Nutan  with a body of immortal  work that ranges from Sujata and Bandini to Karma and  Main Tulsi Tere Aangan  Ki is considered  one of  three best actresses  of all times, alongside Meena Kumari and Nargis and  perhaps superior in her  craft to both.

And  before we  forget,  Pranutan’s father is  the  talented Mohnish Behl who never  got his due. And that’s where  the Salman  connection came  in.Given Salman’s proximity  to  directorSooraj Barjatya it was  only natural that  Salman would gravitate towards Mohnish who was also a very close friend  of  Barjatya.

Pranutan  would   trot  around the sets  of Barjatya’s Maine Pyar Kiya, Hum Aapke Hain Koun and  Hum Saath Saath Hain with her Dad ,Salman  and Barjatya .

Rumour has  it that Salman  had once pointed  at  the  adorable  little  Behl and  vowed  that one day he would launch Pranutan as a heroine. There is no doubt Pranutan has a very promising career ahead. Those who have seen her on screen  swear she resembles her grandmother. And that’s saying a  lot.

As  for Zaheer , there is a spontaneous  appeal to his presence defined by a sense  of self that newcomers didn’t  possess  in  the past.

As  David Dhawan points  out , earlier generations  of newcomers would instinctively model themselves  on  Rajesh Khanna  or Amitabh Bachchan.  But after the generation that came in  with the Khans, the actors were on their own.

“Ranbir, Ranveer ,Varun or  Vicky Kaushal don’t imitate anyone. And that’s  a blessing,” says David.

While the the jury is still out on the two newcomers who will hit  the screen this  week in Notebook, the one  comment that applies  to them with all surety is that  they are the first two really promising  newcomers of 2019.

After the Khans,  the floodgates have been  opened to new talent in Bollywood. They are just pouring in. I get the feeling Salman’s protégées  will be well-entrenched at the boxoffice even though their first film  failed.

 Let’s  not forget, Salman started his career with Meri Biwi  Ko Bachao, a flop which features the late(and much missed)  Farouq Sheikh as  the male  lead and Salman  as Rekha’s  brother-in-law.

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