Sara, Janhvi & More Bollywood Debutants Who Made a Splash in 2018

With debuts by Sara Ali Khan, Sridevi’s daughter Janhvi Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor’s younger brother Ishaan Khatter, there was plenty of fodder to fuel Bollywood’s nepotism debate all year long. 2018 might as well have been the year of the star kid. But did we get to see any stars emerge?

Sara Ali Khan

Sara Ali Khan and Sushant Singh Rajput co-star in Kedarnath.

It was easy to embrace the sense of ennui that hit once word got out about the impending debut of Saif Ali Khan and Amrita Singh’s 23-year-old daughter. But even before her first film hit theatres, Sara Ali Khan charmed us with her sassy appearances on talk shows like Koffee With Karan and refreshing candour in interviews when talking about subjects like PCOD (Star kids! They’re just like us!).

Also Read: ‘Kedarnath’ is Proof: Sara Ali Khan Isn’t a Star-Kid, She’s a Star

Kedarnath might have had its flaws as a film, but there’s no doubt that Sara shines in it. Her ability to both fit into the film’s setting and yet stand out is testament to her acting abilities, star kid or not. Come 28 December, she’ll be seen alongside Ranveer Singh in Rohit Shetty’s Simmba. But whether or not the film is a success, we’ll wager that Sara is here to stay.

Also Read: ‘Kedarnath’ Could’ve Been So Much More But It’s Still Watchable

Janhvi Kapoor

Jahnvi Kapoor in Dhadak.

Being Boney Kapoor and Sridevi’s daughter and having Karan Johar launch you is a double-edged sword. Privilege may get both feet comfortably in the door, no questions asked, but that also means you’re subjected to intense scrutiny from an audience waiting for you to falter.

Dhadak, the remake of Marathi hit Sairat, may have been a lukewarm launchpad for Janhvi Kapoor, but her innocence and expressiveness as Parthavi, the daughter of a rich politician and hotel owner in Udaipur, stays with you. She’s set to star in period film Takht — also a Karan Johar production — but whether she will be able to hold her own against an ensemble cast that includes Anil Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Vicky Kaushal and Bhumi Pednekar remains to be seen.

Also Read: Dear Janhvi, Sridevi Would be Proud

Ishaan Khatter

Ishaan Khatter and Janhvi Kapoor in Dhadak.

Ishaan Khatter technically made his debut as a child actor in 2005’s Vaah! Life Ho Toh Aisi, which starred brother Shahid Kapoor. He also featured in Majid Majidi’s Beyond the Clouds, so perhaps we’re cheating a bit with this one.

His big Bollywood debut, however, was alongside fellow newcomer Janhvi Kapoor in the Sairat remake Dhadak. His portrayal of the wide-eyed Madhu in the throes of young love reminds us of his brother’s early days as Bollywood’s favourite chocolate boy. While Shahid spent a large part of his early career being typecast as a romantic lead, we hope Ishaan gets a chance to explore and experiment with different roles.

Also Read: Critics’ Verdict: ‘Dhadak’ Is a Glossy, Bollywood Tale of Love

Aayush Sharma

Aayush Sharma made his debut in LoveYatri.

In an interview with The Quint, Aayush Sharma admitted that there was no way he could have made it in Bollywood had his brother-in-law not happened to be Salman Khan. Well, he may short on acting skills but at least he’s self-aware?

Aayush made his debut with LoveYatri, which he apparently accepted after turning down five or six other scripts. One could argue that perhaps the choice of film — the plot of which can be summed up in a single tweet, as The Quint’s Stutee Ghosh pointed out — ensured his career was doomed from the start. But there’s also no denying the fact that all he does in the the two-hour-long film is... grin. The man can dance though, so there’s that?

Also Read: LoveYatri: A Story of Love, Debutantes and a Lot of Garba 

Warina Hussain

A still from the LoveYatri song, ‘Dholida’ .

The best reason that we can come up with for Warina Hussain’s casting in LoveYatri is that Bhai needed a pretty face to star alongside jija ji Aayush Sharma in his debut film. If that was indeed the case, then Warina delivered as NRI Michelle whose only job in the entire movie is to twirl around in lehengas, dance, smile and look pretty.

Rohan Mehra

Rohan Mehra as the wide-eyed small town boy Rizwan Ahmed in a still from Baazaar

He may be the late actor Vinod Mehra’s son but Rohan Mehra claims that it was his persistence and not his lineage that got him cast opposite Saif Ali Khan and Radhika Apte as Rizwan Ahmed, a small-town boy looking to make it big, in The Wolf of Wall Street-esque thriller Baazaar. In an interview with The Quint, he described how he approached director Nikkhil Advani for a role in the film and was initially dismissed. Rohan’s acting is earnest and believable but he appears to lack the charisma of a star. Will 2019 give him a second chance?

Also Read: Vinod Mehra’s Son Rohan on Working with Saif Ali Khan in ‘Baazaar’

Dulquer Salmaan

Mithila Palkar, Dulquer Salmaan and Irrfan Khan in a still from Karwaan.

Before making his Bollywood debut, Dulquer Salmaan spent six years making a mark in the Malayali, Tamil and Telugu film industries, ensuring he was known as an actor in his own right rather than as Mollywood legend Mammootty’s son. He made his foray into Bollywood with Karwaan, opposite Irrfan Khan and Mithila Palkar. His vulnerability and endless, effortless charm as Avinash, a young man who is dissatisfied with life and has just lost his father, is proof that there’s a good chance he will conquer B’Town as well. Dulquer, or DQ, is set to star in The Zoya Factor, which is based on the 2008 novel by Anuja Chauhan.

Also Read: People Up North, Are You Ready to Be Charmed By Dulquer Salmaan?

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