Lights, camera, action… these words are the foundation of all that resonates on a 70mm screen, taking us to a destination where dreams and aspirations are verity. And apart from that, every category in performing arts, be it filmmaking, music or acting, adds a new facet to the way one looks at the world. Whether it is by associating with the trueness of the character in a movie, or locating one's life somewhere between the lyrics and music of a song, we have always been that tad filmy as a city. We're the city that owns Bollywood, a city that helps build dreams of those who want to make it big in a glitzy world which is already overpopulated. While many hopes are crushed and way too many disheartened, there are those few who struggle till they own a place in the industry. When we sat down to shortlist the best in this category, our task was not just to highlight achievers within the industry, but to gauge those whose dreams actually transformed to reality. When names were dropped and added to this exhaustive list, we realised the competition was fierce, there was a justification needed at every given moment on why choose 'x' over 'y'. But the outcome of it was a list scouted out solely on the basis of merit; by striking a balance between commercial success and immense talent.
Age : 21 yrs.
There's a deluge of star kids, and while the world perceives them as having it easy in the industry because of their second name, what one misses is the extra baggage of lineage they carry along. An actor, star kid or not, will always have to prove their mettle to be able to access stardom.
The next big thing?
Daughter of Mahesh Bhatt and Soni Razdan, Alia's made her debut in Student of the Year. Just when people were unsure if they should dismiss her as yet another star kid, her next project, Imtiaz Ali's Highway garnered her praises for her power-packed performance. Working the Box Office and wowing critics is not an easy feat at an young age, surname apart.
Age : 29 yrs.
Bollywood has never disappointed us with its outturn of parallel cinema, there are more stars who're keen on being a part of arty cinema which is meaningful and garners success.
The thinking actor
Rajkummar Rao has grown as an actor with his first step in Bollywood. A winner of a National Award for best actor for Shahid, a biopic in which he portrayed the role of Shahid Azmi (a slain activist-lawyer,) Rao has proven that all one needs is sheer talent to be a known face in the industry.
Ayan Mukherji | Age : 29 yrs.
In the past, there was always a complaint that filmmakers never received their due in the industry while the stars walked away with accolades. But with changing times, being behind the camera and calling the shots while donning the director's hat is viewed elementary; and filmmakers are put on an almost equal pedestal as movie stars in this industry.
ON THE 100-crore BANDWAGON
His first step in the industry was on the sets as an assistant director (AD) with filmmaker Ashutosh Gowarikar in Swades. Later, Ayan joined Karan Johar in Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna as AD. While his calling was films (he belongs to a filmy background too; grandson of Sashadhar Mukherjee, the filmmaker who established Filmistan studios,)Ayan scripted and directed Wake Up Sid, which was produced by Dharma Productions. His breakthrough was again under the KJo banner with Yeh Jawani Hai Diwani. The film crossed the 100-cr mark at the box office in just seven days, going on to become the fourth highest grossing Indian movie of all times.
Faisal Khan | Age : 16 yrs.
TV has turned far from being the idiot box and is no more perceived as just a hyped deal for the viewing of saas-bahu sagas. The Indian television industry is discerned as one of the fastest growing mediums in all of Asia, with an incalculable audience reach. With more and more channels cropping up and content being modifed to change the way this medium is being consumed by viewers, there's a tussle to contend for the number one slot in the industry.
A success story like no other
Faisal Khan, who is one of telly's youngest yet recognised faces, shot to fame after winning DID Little Masters 2. Little did he know that life would take a 360 degree turn post winning this reality show, where he showcased his versatility as a dancer. A talented Khan who hails from a modest background, now plays the titular role in the epic drama series Bharat Ka Veer Putra – Maharana Pratap.
Age : 24 yrs.
As Indians, we've readily accepted every genre of music without any qualms. The music scene here is diverse, there are takers for every form, be it jazz, indie, rock, Bollywood, apart from others. We also have seen an evolution in terms of the platforms through which young talent can showcase their prowess. Again, the world's gone digital and with an online space for music, the top-charters are easily accessible.
Following her own tune
"The most relatable genres to me are jazzy tunes, pop/rock and RnB," says Bollywood singer Kholgade. While she says she doesn't want to make Bollywood her main focus, this singer is nonetheless one of the popular faces in the music industry today. Stating that "it was Amy Winehouse and what her music spoke of, that has given so much meaning to my life," Shalmali, who was way keen to write independent music, has started doing the same. Recently, Shalmali received the Zee Gaurav Puraskar for young achievers. One of her first wins was the Filmfare and the Screen Award for Best Female Playback Singer for the song Pareshaan from Ishaqzaade. Ask her how she feels, and an elated Shalmali says, "It is of course an ever-so-gratifying feeling to be appreciated and recognised for your work. I'm determined to get better with every song and every passing day in my career in the Bollywood music industry."
"I see a lot of young talent now wanting to pursue music as a career. They want to even learn music through a proper school and curriculum. They want to create an independent sound and not necessarily be connected to Bollywood. Music is going through a big change, I feel it is very important to realise the effect of music on human lifestyle. It has been consumed in a very commercial way and not so much in an artistic way."
Salim Merchant, music director
"The biggest change is that cinema is being shaped according to what the Young Turks want. Not just cinema, social media and politics are also affected by the younger generations' views. The youth is aware of its reach and their idea of cinema is changing. International cinema is gaining importance while South Indian remakes and family dramas are slowly taking the backseat. The story and content of movies is scoring above star power."
Mahesh Manjrekar, actor, director and producer