Faces to watch out for in 2005

Subhash K. Jha, IANS
12/23/2004 12:00:00 AM
The year 2004, as any disillusioned moviegoer will tell you, was a terrible year for new faces. Hardly anyone made an impact worth mentioning and those that did were let down by their debut film. But wait! There's hope for 2005. 

Acting talent comes from unexpected quarters in the coming year. Here's looking at the faces that should go places in 2005.

1. Ayesha Kapoor: Nine, and so fine! Sanjay Leela Bhansali's new discovery in "Black" is nine-year-old Ayesha Kapoor from Pondicherry. Playing a physically challenged, psychologically disordered and traumatised childhood version of Rani Mukherjee, little Kapoor rips the screen apart in "Black".

According to the director, her understanding of her complex character and her interaction with her formidable co-star Amitabh Bachchan was so intense and complete that she played her character far beyond what the script had stipulated.

Born of mixed Indian-German parentage, Ayesha is definite star material. "Acting is all she ever wants to do," says Bhansali, predicting that she will be a major star one day. Her child act dwarfs every juvenile performance seen in Hindi cinema.

2. Isha Sharvani: Subhash Ghai unveils his new discovery on the same day little Ayesha Kapoor makes a bludgeoning impact in "Black" (Jan 21). Model turned actress Isha Sharvani was chosen to star opposite Vivek Oberoi in "Kisna" from among dozens of hopefuls. Knowing Ghai's almost unrelenting eye for feminine beauty (didn't he launch/relaunch Madhuri Dixit, Manisha Koirala, Mahima Chowdhury?), Sharvani should shimmer across the screen with tantalising success. Having seen the girl at work on the film, I can vouch for her star quality.

3. Sammir Dattani: So all right, his Hindi debut in "Uff...Kya Jadoo Mohabbat Hai" didn't go far at the box office. But the Rajshri banner's blue-eyed boy Sammir Dattani is the youngest and most sought-after hero in Bollywood since Shahid Kapur. A big draw in Kannada films where he has been part of two major blockbusters, Dattani's Hindi assignment is Percept Pictures' romantic love story with Rishi Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia and Soha Ali Khan. He also has a film to be shot in Chicago to be directed by Pakistan's comic star Omar Sharif.

4. Soha Ali Khan: Pedigree shows. Sharmila Tagore's daughter is inundated with assignments. Having done two Bengali films (including one with director Rituparno Ghosh where she co-stars with Abhishek Bachchan), Soha makes her Hindi debut in Ananth Mahadevan's "Dil Maange More" with Shahid Kapur. Other assignments include Percept Pictures' romantic film (tentatively titled "Pal Tham Gaya") with Sammir Dattani.

5. Abhay Deol: The Empire strikes again. Well-connected youngsters from within the film industry seem to be flooding the industry. Sunny and Bobby's cousin Abhay makes his debut this January in the low-budget "Socha Na Tha". According to Sunny Deol, Abhay is more star material than both the Deol brothers. Should we take his word for it?

6. Harman Baweja: Another industry insider, Harman Baweja is being launched with Kareena Kapoor in a hi-tech romantic musical. With Papa Baweja's foolproof production plans and the hot-and-happening Kareena as co-star (she has been paid Rs. 25 million to pair herself with a newcomer), can Harman go wrong?

7. Mohit Alaawat: His debut in a film called "James" is being kept under wraps by his mentor Ram Gopal Varma. But in private conversations Varma predicts that Alaawat would be the hottest and most complete star-actor since Hrithik Roshan.

8. Sikandar Kher: Though no project has been finalised for this long-haired, thoroughly unconventional looking son of Kirron Kher, it's pretty evident that Sikandar would be going into his mother's profession. His extraordinarily tall frame and his look of a 1970s' rock star makes him an oddity in Bollywood. He's likely to be signed for a film in the near future.

9. Karan Sharma: Ah, another industry insider. Son of former actor and producer Romesh Sharma, Karan is being given a 'foolproof' launch. Papa, of course, is producing the film "Dil Jo Bhi Kahey" which is shot completely in Mauritius. Sharma has also got dear friend Amitabh Bachchan to play sonny-boy's father.

10. Sidhartha Koirala: Manisha Koirala's baby brother's delayed debut finally takes place early in 2005 in the low key "Fun: Can Be Dangerous Sometimes". Even if he has only a fraction of his sister's charm and talent, Sid's career will take off.