The Fresh New Faces of Hindi Cinema
From bit roles in movies to lead parts in web series, these actors are demanding our attention
Fondly known as the ‘male Kalki Koechlin’ in the Indian media, Jim Sarbh made his feature film debut with the critically acclaimed 2016 hit, Neerja. He followed this up with brilliant performances in A Death in the Gunj, Padmaavat and Sanju—the latter two rank amongst the highest grossing Hindi films of all time. Sarbh was recently seen in the extremely popular web series, Made in Heaven where he starred opposite the likes of Sobhita Dhulipala and Arjun Mathur. Sarbh’s quirky and offbeat ways have often made him the object of much adoration in the media and with his fans. His role in Padmaavat has also made him a sort of sex symbol in the Indian LGBTQ+ community.
Radhika Madan is a former dance instructor who made her debut in 2014 in Colors TV’s Meri Aashiqui Tume Se Hi. The show ran for two years and following this, Madan made her Bollywood debut in Vishal Bhardwaj’s Pataakha. Her performance was praised by film critics who stated that she was unwavering in her portrayal of a village girl from Rajasthan. The actress then starred in the critically acclaimed Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota which received a standing ovation at the 2018 MAMI Film Festival. Madan will next be seen in Angrezi Medium where she’ll share screen space with Irrfan Khan and Kareena Kapoor Khan.
While Aditya Seal made his debut with 2002’s Ek Chhotisi Love Story opposite Manisha Koirala, he shot to fame in 2016 when he starred in Tum Bin II. He disappeared for a while after that but made a strong comeback as the antagonist, Manav Randhawa in Student of the Year 2. While the film received mixed reactions from critics, Seal’s and Tiger Shroff’s action sequences were praised. The actor will next appear in Netflix’s The Invisible Mask.
After making appearances in Sultan and Ready, Kubbra Sait burst onto the scene with Netflix India’s first original show, Sacred Games. She essayed the role of Kukoo, a transgender woman who is girlfriend to Nawazuddin Siddqui’s Ganesh Gaitonde. While Kukoo ka jaadu spawned thousands of memes on social media, Sait was praised for taking up such a challenging role and portraying the character so beautifully. For the role, Sait wore a penis made of prosthetic makeup between her thighs and has stated that it was the most challenging experience of her career. She has also starred in the 2019 blockbuster hit, Gully Boy and will be seen next in Alankrita Shrivastava’s Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare.
Sobhita Dhulipala has been around for quite some time now. She placed second at the 2013 Femina Miss India pageant and went on to represent India at the Miss Earth pageant the same year. She made her debut in Anurag Kashyap’s 2016 thriller film Raman Raghav 2.0 but it wasn’t till she blazed across our screens as Tara Mehta in Amazon Prime Video’s Made in Heaven this year that people began taking notice of her. What Gully Boy did for Siddhant Chaturvedi, Made in Heaven did for Dhulipala. Overnight, she became a national sensation and bagged advertisements and magazine covers left, right and centre. This former Kingfisher Calendar girl is the perfect example of why Bollywood Inc can no longer ignore OTT platforms.
Before he essayed the role of Bunty in Netflix’s Sacred Games, Jatin Sarna had starred in films like Meeruthiya Gangsters, Saat Uchakkey, Oass, Chor Chor Super Chor and O Teri. None of them managed to grab eyeballs like Sacred Games did. Brought up in a Punjabi family in New Delhi, Sarna was cast in multiple plays including Veer Abhimanyu, Hamlet, The Seagull and Gangster Samiti. He was first introduced to us in Rakesh Ranjan Kumar’s 2011 film Dear Friend Hitler and he went to win plaudits for his role in A Perfect Murder in the same year. Sarna has also been seen in the 2018 film Gold and 2019’s Sonchiriya. While Gold performed remarkably well at the box office, Sonchiriya failed to deliver despite having a good storyline. Still, this hasn’t dulled Sarna’s star and he is clearly here to stay.
Known around the film festival circuit as the actor to watch out for, Shashank Arora has given splendid performances in movies like Titli, Brahman Naman, Lipstick Under My Burkha and Manto. He also essayed the role of Kabir Basrai, a photographer in the web series, Made In Heaven which set more than a few hearts racing. Arora appears to have done it all—from playing a drug peddler to Shaad Amritsari, his performances have been critically acclaimed and we cannot wait to see what he does next.