The world may be your oyster, but cracking it open is no easy task — in Bollywood. Veterans pick their favourite newcomers
The script of Bajrangi Bhaijaan had its viewers oscillating between laughter and tears, while the cinematography of Bahubali transported the audience through a time machine. It’s no great secret that earning your spotlight in Bollywood is a matter of great talent or thanking your lucky stars or, sometimes, a combination of both. But there are several newcomers who
are distinguishing themselves from the rest, enjoying the hard-won and well-deserved admiration of the film industry.
We spoke to a few esteemed professionals, across various profiles from the world of cinema, and got their take on who they think has the credentials and the spunk to make it big in B-Town.
The Hair and make-up artists
Bharat and Dorris: From Sridevi and Madhuri Dixit to Priyanka Chopra and Rani Mukerji, the duo has managed to work the magic of their brushes on various Bollywood actors for over three decades.
Our pick: Anoushka Bindra
Anoushka is a complete package. Not only does she have the talent, but also a positive attitude, a winning spirit and poise, which will help her make it big in the industry. We spotted her at Rohit Verma’s fashion show in Mumbai, and with the way she used her brushes while doing make-up and the awareness she had about the various hairstyles in vogue, we were convinced that she is a promising newcomer.
Lowdown: Nainital-born Anoushka Bindra, 31, has been working as a hair and make-up artist for over a year now. Based in Delhi, she had worked for various fashion shows in Mumbai, including hair and make-up for models such as Carol Garcias and Diandra Soares. Currently, the upcoming artist freelances in New Delhi for a well-known online market place and also does bridal hair and make-up. When asked about her struggle to make a mark, she is quick to admit that it hasn’t been a joyride since she got into the field a little later than others. However, talented and passionate, she is sure that there is no stopping her.
Shyam Benegal: A Padma Shri (1976), Padma Bhushan (1991) and Dadasaheb Phalke Award (2005) winner, he is the man behind a number of acclaimed films such as Ankur (1973), Manthan (1976), Bhumika (1977) and Zubeidaa (2001).
My pick: Neeraj Ghaywan
Filmmaking is like building a house. To be able to build a house that can withstand any weather, you need to know the craft of building really well. Similarly, the first and foremost quality of a good director is to master his/her craft. Then comes the ability to imagine and express yourself distinctly. I see the aforementioned qualities in Neeraj Ghaywan, whose film Masaan released recently. A few years ago, I remember being moved by its script, which Neeraj had originally written for a fellowship. From then to now, I remain as impressed. What struck me about the film was how real it was — regular people with believable lives and problems. As opposed to a lot of filmmakers who do not possess the basic art of storytelling, Ghaywan definitely has a bright future.
Lowdown: Born and raised in Hyderabad, 35-year-old Neeraj Ghaywan is armed with an MBA in Marketing Communications. However, always inclined towards cinema, the director, after a short stint with a cinema website, began assisting Anurag Kashyap and found his true calling. A number of short films later, Ghaywan made Masaan, which not only got him a standing ovation at Cannes 2015 but also the Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) Award in the Un Certain Regard section of the festival. The film and the director also received the award for the Most Promising Newcomer at the festival.
Irshad Kamil: An established poet and lyricist, Kamil began his career with writing for television in 1998. In Bollywood, he has penned songs for films like Jab We Met, Chameli, Love Aaj Kal and Raanjhana.
My Pick: Raj Shekhar
I choose Raj Shekhar, who has penned songs for Tanu Weds Manu and its sequel. When you compare him with other newcomers, whose connection with literature is gradually withering away, here is this young man who is well-read, has a knack for writing and has his roots in literature. For me, it is very important for a budding lyricist to read a lot and to have command over at least one language. This ena-bles us to use appropriate words and well-crafted phrases for a particular emotion. Writers are not actors who can rely on one film for getting the necessary spotlight; they need to work consistently to get somewhere. I see Shekhar taking the right path.
Lowdown: Raj Shekhar, 34, hails from a farmer’s family in Madhepura, Bihar. After completing his graduation and Master’s from Delhi University, Shekhar got the opportunity to assist Aanand L Rai on Tanu Weds Manu. It was at the director’s insistence that he dabbled in writing lyrics and the songs of the both films struck a chord with the audience.
The Film editor
Deepa Bhatia: An esteemed film editor, Deepa gives us her opinion on who she thinks has the potential to make it big in B-town among the current lot of film editors. She has been the editing genius behind films like Rock On! and Taare Zameen Par, among others.
My pick: Chandrashekhar Prajapati
In recent times, I’ve really enjoyed the way Piku was edited by Chandrashekhar Prajapati. The cross conversations, sharp intelligent inserts and also the idea of using dialogues over images — all of these entwined to create a very delicious and refreshing portrait of a family and its many dynamics. The cuts were quite lyrical and, more importantly, you could sense the confidence of both the editor and director. Managing to hold and relish these moments, it was very beautifully done.
Lowdown: Prior to making an indelible mark with the commercially successful and critically acclaimed film Piku, Chandras-hekhar Prajapati has also worked in movies like Bhoot-hnath Returns and Madras Café. His work on Madras Café won him considerable laurels and he ended up winning quite a few awards as well.
The Costume Designer
Rocky S: With his edgy, spunky and distinctive styling for both men and women, this is one designer who has carved an indomitable name in the world of fashion. While his own designs continue to be a rage in the industry, he picks out the one name from the budding lot of designers who is here to stay.
My pick: Kunal Rawal
I think one designer who is climbing the charts and who has immense potential would be Kunal Rawal. He definitely has the ingredients that one needs to make it big as a costume designer in Bollywood. He’s got a great sense of style and adds to the oomph-quotient of his actors with panache and ease, both as a stylist and as a designer.
Lowdown: Kunal Rawal is a fashion designer who specialises in men’s apparel. He climbed the ladder steadily by beco-
ming the youngest desiger to feature his designs in 2006 at the Lakme Fashion Week. With his mix of contemporary and Indian designs and keen eye for detail, he has shot to fame and is steadily making his mark in B-Town.
Ravi K Chandran: The well-known cinematographer has collaborated with several filmmakers such as Priyadarshan, Mani Ratnam, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Rajiv Menon during the course of his career spanning over decades. He debuted as a cinematographer in Bolly-wood with Virasat in 1997 and bagged an award for the film.
My pick: Tapan Tushar Basu
Basu is yet to make a feature-length film but is actively involved in television commercials. I have been observing his work for a while now, and what sets him apart is that he is fearless when it comes to experimenting and has a very realistic approach to his work at the same time. Nowadays, it’s easy for youngsters to get into films, as filmmakers are open to exploring newcomers. However, in order to sustain themselves, they require talent and some amount of luck as well. For instance, Ravi Varman, who was the cinematographer for Goliyon Ki Ras-leela: Ram Leela, had done a couple of Hindi films in the past, but it took a film of that scale for him to get noticed. Similarly, I was lucky to be a part of films like Dil Chahta Hai, Yuva and Black because that made people sit up and take notice of my talent.
Lowdown: 33, Tapan Tushar Basu hails from a business family in Kolkata and has been working independently for the past three-and-a-half years. An FTII alumnus, Basu has always been fascinated by visual art, leaving his family business to study cinematography. Having worked on over 200 television commercials of several big brands, Basu calls his growth in the industry an organic one and says that all newcomers need to keep collaborating with directors and keep shooting to build a stand-out portfolio. The young cinematographer also stresses on the need to find a mentor to hone your skills and feels that sometimes, at the end of the day, it is all about getting that lucky break.
The Music composer
Pritam Chakraborty: After being a part of over 110 films, Pritam has established himself as an Indian composer, singer and live-performer to reckon with. After giving us some captivating compositions in Life in a Metro (2007), Jab We Met (2007) and Barfi (2012), who would be better suited to pick out a young music composer with potential?
My pick: Amal Malik
Amongst the absolute newcomers, I’d pick Amal Malik. He’s got a completeness, an almost holistic quality to his music that I would bet my money on. He’s also versatile and you can tell that his sound is fresh.
Lowdown: Son of Daboo Malik and nephew of composer Anu Malik, Amal insists he’s made it the hard way, contrary to popular opinion. “I have really struggled, clawed my way and built my own path.” And all that hard work has rewarded this young music composer quite well. His debut in 2014 with Jai Ho won him some rave reviews.