Free Press Journal

Flashback 2017: Rajkummar Rao to Taapsee Pannu, the new young and unconventional faces of Bollywood


As 2017 comes to an end, NIKITA WADHAWAN finds that this year there has been a pool of outsiders who’re slowly becoming the definition of the kind of cinema one would want to see.

In an industry that demands conforming and at times, a strong Bollywood lineage, it seems tougher for newcomers and outsiders to hold their own. But 2017, the year that heard words like “Nepotism” and “Eugenics” in ways unimaginable and still make headlines, even though the controversy is long gone, it becomes all the more important to appreciate and acknowledge the ‘outsiders’ who’re slowly becoming the definition of the kind of cinema one would want to see. Here’s a list of some of the unconventional talent that have changed the face of Indian cinema as we know it.

Ayushmann Khurrana

Ayushmann sailed gleefully in the stormy waters of Bollywood with his striking performance in debut film ‘Vicky Donor’ and has since then emerged as one of the names to watch out for. Although his following films did not match up to his capabilities and create the magic of his debut film, Ayushmann did show a lot of potential. With two consecutive hits this year — ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’ and ‘Shubh Mangal Saavdhan’, he has understood that content is king which eventually translates into box office numbers too. He is currently busy shooting for Sriram Raghavan’s ‘Shoot the Piano Palyer’, co-starring Tabu and Radhika Apte. He also recently signed another slice-of-a-life titled as ‘Badhai Ho’.

Bhumi Pednekar

Not a lot of actress have the guts to gain weight in their debut film. After “Dum Laga Ke Haisha” she took on the baton of socially relevant films- ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’ and ‘Shubh Mangal Savdhan’ which excelled at the box office and won brownie points from the hard-nosed critics. In times when actors believe in instant gratification, Bhumi Pednekar is a glorious exception. She wants to play a long innings. And going by this year’s report card, she has scored 100% at the turnstiles. Taking it one step at a time, the actress will now be seen in a dacoit film ‘Chanbal’ opposite Sushant Singh Rajput.

Vicky Kaushal

In a movie like ‘Masaan’ which had no commercial names to back it up, neither did it boast of big brands, but it did give rise to an innocent face with the hard-core performer beneath the surface, Vicky Kaushal. He carried off the role of a Benaras boy with such nuance, that all were left in awe. Then came ‘Raman Raghav 2.0’, where the competition of neck-to-neck performance was with none other than Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who is a pool of endless talent. Here too, Vicky surpassed himself, in the role of an anti-hero, which was dark and gritty and in stark contrast with his innocent one in ‘Masaan’. Next we will be seeing him in ‘Raazi’ opposite Alia Bhatt and in Sanjay Dutt’s untitled biopic.

Taapsee Pannu

For Taapsee, it was her small role in ‘Baby’ that made a huge impact and the rest as we say is history. The widely acclaimed 2016 release ‘PINK’ seems to have been a precursor for an even more eventful 2017. This year was a coming-a-full-circle of sorts, as the Delhi girl, who made her Bollywood debut with the 2013 David Dhawan film, ‘Chashme Baddoor’, broke into the A-list with another David comedy caper, ‘Judwaa 2’, in which she featured alongside Varun Dhawan and Jacqueline Fernandez. She has now become a force to recon with. She is all set for her next release ‘Soorma’ opposite Diljit Dosanjh and ‘Mulk’ also starring Rishi Kapoor.

Rajkummar Rao

Probably the only ‘filmy, hero-type’ thing that Rao has bothered himself with is changing his name. Rajkumar Yadav became Rajkummar Rao overnight. This year, he was seen in at least five releases and is already reaping benefits. Rao is also a favourite with the directors because he is hungry, but with no intention to change the narrative to suit his character sketch. Rao found an advantage in factors others would have lamented about. He has no special physical features and that became his specialty. After ending this year on a high with his debut in a web series ‘Bose: Dead/Alive’, next year he will be seen in ’Omerta’, ‘Fanney Khan’ and will also be looking forward to Oscars for ‘Newton’