They say Bollywood is an industry which is almost impenetrable for outsiders. With the tragic demise of Sushant Singh Rajput, the debate about nepotism has once again agitated the Bollywood industry.
While there are some logical points put forward in favor of people with more access, there is no denying the fact that the struggle of outsiders is extremely hard to empathize with as it is not only about getting the best roles but also about getting the basic access which takes years for them to figure out.
While the industry today stands with several fingers accusing it of nepotism, we bring to you these lucky outsiders who despite not being born with a silver spoon, formally debuted in Bollywood.
Siddhant Chaturvedi ― Gully Boy
One of the biggest debuts of 2019 is that of Siddhant Chaturvedi. The actor, who was first seen in the popular web series Inside Edge Season 1 (2017), made his debut with Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy. Siddhant shined bright as a rapper MC Sher in Gully Boy and secured a safe space for himself in the industry, courtesy his talent. As a side character, Siddhant’s great acting skills made us take notice of him especially with Ranveer Singh in the same scene and that’s nothing short of incredible.
The actor is now a part of two big projects. He will be seen in Bunty Aur Babli 2 with Rani Mukerji, Saif Ali Khan, and Sharvari. In the other yet-to-be-titled project, Siddhant will be seen sharing screen space with Deepika Padukone and Ananya Panday.
Avinash Tiwary ― Laila Majnu
Avinash Tiwary is a silent, superlative talent that explodes on the big screen. Playing the male lead of the classic folklore Laila Majnu, Tiwary brings wild energy to his role as Qais spiraling into the broken, lovelorn legend Majnu. Though the movie did not perform as well as one would’ve expected, Avinash’s performance got rave reviews.
After his spectacular debut, Tiwary was chosen for Karan Johar’s Ghost Stories segment, and the lead in Anushka Sharma’s production, Bulbbul. Next, he will be seen in the Hindi remake of The Girl On The Train opposite Parineeti Chopra.
Zaira Wasim, Suhani Bhatnagar, Ritwik Sahore, Fatima Sana Sheikh, Sanya Malhotra and Aparshakti Khurrana― Dangal
With a stellar ensemble cast, Nitesh Tiwari’s Dangal went on to become a blockbuster. Apart from Aamir Khan and Sakshi Tanwar, it was the ‘Phogat’ kids, who won everyone over with their spunk. Whether it’s Zaira and Suhani (playing the younger versions of Geeta and Babita), with Ritwik playing cousin Omkar or Fatima and Sanya (playing the older Geeta & Babita), with Aparshakti playing the grown-up Omkar, everyone did an outstanding job in delivering the best of them.
Barun Sobti ― Tu Hai Mera Sunday
TV actor Barun Sobti featured in Milind Dhaimade’s Tu Hai Mera Sunday along with Avinash Tiwary. Barun brought a relatable earthiness to his character of a young, kind-hearted Bombay boy, trying to find a place for his Sunday football matches. Sharing the screen with an ensemble comprising names like Shahana Goswami, Vishal Malhotra, Shiv Subramaniam, Rasika Dugal and Maanvi Gagroo, Sobti’s held his own with his quiet, expressive presence.
Mrunal Thakur ― Love Sonia
After being popularly known for her roles in Tv shows, Mrunal Thakur is now creating a niche for herself in Bollywood. The actor debuted in the Hindi film industry with Love Sonia. The vulnerability on Mrunal’s face became synonymous with the tragedy of a million faceless girls. With the steep task of acting alongside Manoj Bajpayee, Richa Chadha, Adil Hussain, Rajkummar Rao and Anupam Kher among others, Mrunal stood out even in the midst of an ensemble like this.
Since her debut, she acted many high-profile projects like Super 30, Batla House, Ghost Stories (Karan Johar’s segment). She’s all set to star in the Shahid Kapoor-starrer Jersey remake, and opposite Farhan Akhtar in Toofan.
Mohammad Samad ― Tumbbad
The young actor, who made his Bollywood debut with Gattu (2011), Samad’s talents stood out in a critical scene with his on-screen father (Sohum Shah) in 2018’s Tumbbad. Shah’s character has just realized that his son exhibits the same shrewdness as him, and as a reward, he takes the teenager with him to a nearby brothel for an evening of debauchery. Showering currency on the women in the middle of the occasional swigs of alcohol with his father, it’s a striking moment where one can practically see the vices of one generation being passed down to the next.
Later, Samad was seen as Sushant Singh Rajput and Shraddha Kapoor’s son in Chhichhore.
Vijay Varma ― Monsoon Shootout
Long before Vijay came to be known as Moeen, thanks to his unforgettable role in Gully Boy, he starred as a hesitant newbie cop in Amit Kumar’s Monsoon Shootout. Backed by powerhouse talents such as Nawazauddin Siddiqui, Neeraj Kabi and Tannishtha Chatterjee, Vijay Varma outshines everyone in the film. He is the kind of actor who makes you forget his face and believe in his character. From guilt to remorse, anger, love and more, Vijay manages to convincingly portray each emotion with the perfect conviction.
Jim Sarbh ― Neerja
An extraordinary theatre artist, Jim Sarbh has skillfully played multiple roles on stage. But he aced acting in films too especially with his debut film Neerja where he plays the role of Khail, the terrorist. Sarbh’s unpredictable presence, the eccentric body language he brought to his character multiplied the tension on-screen manifold. Soon after plenty of offers rolled in for Jim Sarbh including Sanju, Padmaavat and Raabta.
Shashank Arora, Shivani Raghuvanshi ― Titli
Kanu Behl’s directorial debut, gave us two confident debutantes in the form of Shashank Arora and Shivani Raghuvanshi. Titli is a tale of a dysfunctional family and a young boy’s struggle to escape his oppressive family. For all intents and purposes, both Raghuvanshi and Arora go toe to toe with the film’s veterans like Ranvir Shorey and Amit Sial.
Rasika Dugal ― Qissa
Rasika began her acting career with character roles in films Anwar, No Smoking, and Hijack. She bowled over everyone with her spectacular performance in Qissa, in which she portrayed the role of an innocent gypsy girl confused by the sexuality of her lover. Making her mark in a film of superlative performances by Irrfan, Tisca Chopra and Shome, Dugal proved her mettle as an actor.
It won’t be wrong to say that Bollywood understands the superiority of a good actor pretty late. Rasika is currently owning the web-series world with her back to back power-packed performances.
Vicky Kaushal ― Masaan
Vicky touched everyone’s heart with this performance of his. Marking his debut, Masaan became a film that people still adore Vicky for. His innocent character, his lean body and his chemistry with Shweta Tripathi made his character look exceptionally good on the big screen. Oh, and a lot of the credit goes to his acting as well. People discovered Vicky through this movie, and then it was just a wave of big offers for him.
He will next be seen as Udham Singh in Shoojit Sircar’s next, Sam Manekshaw in Meghna Gulzar’s next and Aurangzeb in Karan Johar’s Takht.
Vikrant Massey ― A Death in The Gunj
As an actor who started with a career in television, Massey has managed to bag a couple of big commercial films with production giants. He made his way in Bollywood through many similar (but hardly monotonous) roles of the hero’s best friend, in films like Lootera, Dil Dhadakne Do, and Half Girlfriend.
Unarguably, it was Konkona’s sharp commentary on masculinity, A Death in the Gunj (2016), that brought Massey’s talents to the fore. He plays Shutu, the lonely, troubled boy dealing with his father’s death. He is vulnerable and tormented, quiet and emotional. The helplessness of not being able to belong and conform, about being a distant observer than an active participant in the world takes over Shutu, and it unravels into a cruel ending. Massey shines and how.