Starter Kit: Rising Male Stars

I could give you an elaborate reason why I felt the need for this post, but there really isn’t one besides “my views are down thanks to Thanksgiving and I want something that will get us all talking”.  So, starter kit for male stars!

For my first post, with the big male stars, I gave a full 9 movies, beginner and intermediate and advanced courses on them.  For the next post, for actresses, I broke it down to launch film, starting out films, established films, and (if applicable) “married” films.  Now, this time around, I think I am going to do launch film, most successful film, and representative film.

 

Varun Dhawan

A rising star with a good track record of hits in a variety of genres.  He comes from a film family, his father is a big hit director specializing in crowdpleasing comedies.  His brother is a director who has a few hits of his own, also comedies.  Salman Khan was a frequent star of his father’s films and a close family friend, he mentored Varun.  Varun then got a chance to work as an Assistant Director at Dharma films, and eventually showed his audition tape to Karan Johar, who decided to launch him in Student of the Year.

Launch Film

Student of the Year: A totally silly fluffy film, but a very well-done one.  A love triangle at the “best high school in India” between the rich boy and his girlfriend-by-habit and the poor scholarship student.  What makes it a little more interesting is that the rich boy and the scholarship student have a friendship as deep as the romance, and that Varun the “rich boy” has a character as deep as scholarship boy.  Partly because Varun made his character deeper.  Oh, and also showed off some really good dance moves.

Most Successful Film (so far)

Judwaa 2: A film directed by his father, and a remake of his father’s hit Judwaa.  Varun plays twins and carries the film.  It also released on a large number of screens, was heavily promoted for months in advance, everything put together to make it a hit.  Which it was, his most successful film.

Most Representative Film

Main Tera Hero: A fun silly movie, directed by Varun’s father again, a love triangle between Varun and two girls with lots of farcical situations and light-hearted youthful jokes.  Was his second movie and perfectly established him as a new kind of silly young hero, not the fragile arrested innocent other young stars were playing, or the confident mature man of the older generation.

 

 

Ranbir Kapoor

A star who really should have moved out of the “rising” category by now, but hasn’t.  The designated heir to the Kapoor family fame, talent, and studio, he was launched with the burden of expectations based on his great-grandfather, grandfather, and father, all legends.  His films have never made as big a splash as his personal life drama, and his career tends to go from moderate highs to super lows with no stops in between.  But he is an extremely talented actor, especially in emotional roles, ones with lots of angst.

Launch Film

Saawariya: Terrible movie.  Based on a Dostoevsky short story, extremely stylized visuals (everything is blue!), big big flop.  Oh, and his first appearance on screen was a tribute to his father, like his father’s first appearance onscreen, Ranbir also dropped a towel and gave us a full back-al view.

Most Successful Film (so far)

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani: Huge huge hit.  And a really solid film.  A nice love story between a couple who first met as teenagers, but the time wasn’t right, and they get a second chance ten years later at a wedding.  Ranbir convincingly plays a boyish type who slowly grows up.

Most Representative Film

Wake Up Sid: Ranbir formed a bond with the director Ayan Mukherjee of a very rare kind.  Ranbir is his muse and best friend and, in some ways, life partner.  Anyway, this is their first collaboration, and Ayan found a certain sweetness at the center of Ranbir that made all his other flavors come right out.  Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani was their second, and they are currently working together on their third which is intended to be the first of a trilogy.

 

Ranveer Singh

Ranveer is an insider/outsider in the industry.  His mother’s cousin is married to Anil Kapoor, and beyond that, he grew up in Bandra (the Bombay suburb where most movie people life), he sort of knew film people and how to talk to them and behave at parties and all of that.  He went to school for acting, at Indian University in America, came back and started nosing around for his big break.  Finally got it when a friend from parties, Yash Raj films rockstar casting director, brought his name to the right person and got him the perfect role.  Ranveer has phenomenal energy on and off screen, he always feels like he is “on”.  Vern entertaining to watch.

Launch Film

Band Baaja Baarat: Great fun little movie on its own.  A young man and woman launch a wedding planning business together.  Ranveer, the man, brings the energy and craziness and fun.  Anushka, the woman, brings the organization and details.  And then of course they fall in love and so on and so on.  It’s a perfect launch film, a bit of a sleeper hit which got him noticed and showed off his particular talents, but not so big that it gave him nothing to grow towards.

Most Successful Film (so far)

Bajirao Mastani: Huge historical epic.  Mostly people came for the gorgeous sets and luxurious costumes and massive war scenes, but what little character and plot there was beyond that was carried by Ranveer.  He played a noble warrior type, very different from his usual modern crazed lover, and did it excellently.

Most Representative Film

Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela: Same director as Bajirao, but this time instead of a huge historical epic, it’s a gloriously crazed modern heightened reality version of Romeo and Juliet.  Ranveer’s character is cowardly and weak and passionately in love and extremely entertaining.

 

Siddharth Malhotra

A very pretty man.  With a kind of fake affect, that, in the correct role, can be very interesting.  But in the wrong role can be film-ruining.  A former model, he was recommended for a job at Dharma films as an Assistant Director, became friends with Varun Dhawan, and both of them were cast opposite each other by Karan Johar in Student of the Year.  From then on, Karan has mentored Siddharth.

Launch Film

Student of the Year: Same as Varun, love triangle that is very silly and fun.  Siddharth plays the scholarship student who keeps his emotions hidden.  Which is a great role for him, works very well with his limited range.

Most Successful Film (so far) 

Ek Villain: Siddharth plays a gangster type who is slowly woken up to love and life by falling in love.  He does very well in the action scenes, and with a kind of dumb ox look in the love scenes.  Add in a good performance from the villain, and some great songs, and it’s clear why it was a hit.

Most Representative Film

A Gentleman: The problem is, Siddharth doesn’t really HAVE a representative film!  Everything he has done is different from everything else, and nothing has really worked.  Action, romance, thriller, family drama, he isn’t a good fit anywhere.  But I really like this one particular movie, and I think he is really good in it, so you might as well watch this as representing an experiment, because all his films are experiments.

 

Arjun Kapoor

Born into a film family, but never planned to act.  His father was a producer, he was planning to be a director, not an actor like his uncle Anil Kapoor.  But then, after working as an assistant director and moving forward on his chosen career path, his life plan fell apart when his girlfriend broke up with him, and he decided to try acting.  Salman Khan mentored him as well (Salman’s little sister was the girlfriend, so he felt guilty and wanted to help).  And Arjun was placed in the perfect film by that same rockstar casting director at Yash Raj who found Ranveer.  His career has had some definite ups and downs since then, but he has been refreshingly laidback about it all.

Launch film

Ishaqzaade: Another Romeo and Juliet story, but with some real bite to it and social commentary.  A cross-religious romance where both families are equally against it.  And where the “hero” isn’t that heroic.  Selfish, bad, nasty.  And Arjun’s strangely dead looking eyes and dark aura worked wonders in creating an indelible hero and an indelible first impression on the audience.

Most Successful Film (so far)

2 States: A rom-com based on a hit book, two grad students fall in love and then have to win over their families.  Added complication being that the girl’s family is very very southern and the boy’s family is very very northern.  Arjun does a decent job with the love story, but really shines in the scenes where his family disfunction starts to become clear.

Most Representative Film

Ki & Ka: I don’t like this film, but it does give you a good sense of Arjun’s career.  He is pleasant onscreen, with a bit of a hidden depth and emotion.  More than that, his willingness to take a backseat and let someone else drive the film.  In this one, Kareena Kapoor.  In other movies, Ranveer Singh, Anil Kapoor, all kinds of people.

 

Tiger Shroff

Son of former star and current character actor Jackie Shroff, fitness and parkour fanatic.  A fixture around Bombay gyms, he served as trainer for some of the big stars before getting his own break.  Very good with anything physical, from fight scenes to dancing, handsome and distinctive face, not very good with convincingly displaying emotion or delivering dialogue.  No particular godfather in the industry, his father’s connections helped him get noticed, and his unique set of talents did the rest.  Still not a huge star by any means, but reliable.  Possibly on the cusp of something more as he is about to do his first film with a major studio.

Launch Film

Heropanti: Clear reference to his father’s launch film, Hero.  Big silly action film with lots of songs and not much of a plot or characters.  Excellent showcase for Tiger’s particular talents.

Most Successful Film (so far)

Baaghi: Action film remake of a southern film with action sequences lifted from Ong-Bak Thai Warrior.  Very stupid plot with action sequences in the place of emotions, made Tiger look very good.  And opened on an empty weekend when the audience was ready for something fun and silly.

Most (un)Representative Film

A Flying Jatt: Really, Baaghi is his most representative film.  But I already listed that, so I’m just listing the one I like.  Which is in fact his most un-representative film.  Not an action film with no plot, but a kind of interesting superhero film with oodles of plot.  And oodles of other actors who have actual characters and other fun things like that.

 

Ayushmann Khuranna

A very different kind of an actor.  Came from Delhi, totally outside of the film world, had tons of stage experience as an actor, got his first few jobs as a radio jockey, and finally took a very strange role for his first film, in which he also wrote and sung the hit song.  His career has gone on in odd starts and stops since then, but he still always takes the off-beat role.

Launch Film

Vicky Donor: Ayushmann is a lazy live at home type who finds his calling as a sperm donor, giving his “super sperm” to a fertility doctor.  It sounds like a total comedy, but it isn’t really.  There is heart behind the comedy as Ayushmann learns to understand the service he is providing for people and how he can change their lives, and falls in love himself with a divorced woman who has her own issues.

Most Successful Film (so far) 

Shubh Mangal Saavdhan: Also his most recent film.  A sweet story about impotence.  A man and woman get engaged, he is impotent, their families are therefore against the marriage, but the two of them don’t care and want to be together anyway.

Most Representative Film

Bareilly Ki Barfi: Ayushmann really has a very particular genre and he has stuck pretty close within that.  Any of his films is as representative as any other.  This is yet another slightly different non-heroic hero who falls in love.  This time he is a failed writer whose ex-girlfriend broke up with him and broke his heart, and he has fallen in love again with a girl who seems just like her, but is afraid to fully reveal everything and instead gets his friend to pretend to be him and ends up caught in a web of lies.

 

Sushant Singh Rajput

A total outsider, started as a TV soap star.  He got his big break in a 3 hero film Kai Po Che, then went on to a small not very successful rom-com.  His career has gone up and down since then, but he has had a variety of roles and worked with a variety of production houses and has a good reputation in general.  He has a good balance of handsomeness and charm with actual acting ability.

Launch Film

Kai Po Che: A friendship film, 3 friends who start a Cricket shop.  Sushant plays the “cute” one.  It takes a turn for the very dramatic late in the film, Sushant has the least to do in terms of drama in that part, but still made his mark.

Most Successful Film (so far)

M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story: A really really good biopic of a cricket star.  There are a couple romances thrown in, lots of dramatic sports moments, but the majority of the film is just about the patience and dedication of slowly waiting for his chance and then taking advantage of it.

Most Representative Film

Raabta: Sushant’s films don’t have similar plots, and he doesn’t play the same kind of character.  But at the same time, they all are the same.  They have big budgets and glossy looks, and Sushant throws himself fully into his role, whether it is the period detective or the modern banker.  This film has him as the modern banker, with a flashback plot as a barbarian warrior.  And I love it!

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32 thoughts on “Starter Kit: Rising Male Stars

  1. Pingback: Starter Kit Posts Index | dontcallitbollywood

  2. Ranbir Singh- finest performances- Rockstar & Rocket Singh (I literally just noticed the R and I think there’s an astrological reason for these films doing better than his other films)

    You give Rocket Singh no love but that’s his best and most unique film.

    Silly comedies- Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani & Barfi (Barfi isn’t entirely silly though but still fun)

    Like

  3. Ranveer Singh best films- Ladies vs. Ricky Behl, Lootera, Gunday and Dil Dhadakne Do. Even Lootera has him playing his most representative character only in a period setting. Dil Dhadakne Do is just such an amazing platform for him. Bajirao is just a lot of costumes and dancing. Not much acting wise.

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    • I considered Dil Dhadakne Do for his representative film, but then that was such an ensemble piece, I decided against it. But it is a great performance from him, and shows all his talents.

      On Fri, Nov 24, 2017 at 1:21 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • You will really like Ittefaq when you get a chance to see it. I considered putting it on Siddharth’s list, but again, it’s more of an ensemble. Akshaye is kind of more the hero than he is.

      On Fri, Nov 24, 2017 at 1:24 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. Arjun Kapoor best films: Ki & Ka, Gunday, Aurangzeb. I don’t know why Aurangzeb doesn’t get much attention. It’s quite well made. It’s got Prithviraj with a voice actor ruining his role, it’s got a distinct Gurgaon/Delhi-NCR feel to it and Arjun acts pretty well in it too.

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    • I was considering Aurangzeb, I think it might be one of the best roles for him. But then, Prithviraj stole the movie from him a little, not to mention Jackie and Amrita Singh.

      On Fri, Nov 24, 2017 at 1:29 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Aurangzeb deserved better.And Arjun too. Really it should have been made in two or three parts.Or better still a TV series.The first part/season showing how Jackie starts building his criminal empire while his wife starts falling in love with Anupam Kher who initially cultivates her for getting Jackie through her.Little Prithviraj grows closer to Uncle Rishi and family as they take better care of him than his often absent dad.It should have ended with Jackie’s wife’s death and how Amrita consoles the grieving widower.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes! that was the problem exactly. Too many characters, too many stories, and none of them had room to breath. I wanted to learn more about everybody, and there just wasn’t time. Even someone like Swara Bhaskar, I would have loved to see more of her and her married like with Prithviraj.

          On Fri, Nov 24, 2017 at 10:46 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. Ayushman Khurrana is one guy whose films don’t leave you with any regrets.

    His most representative film is Nautanki Sala. He’s an actual theatre guy and he plays a theatre guy in the film too. Ayushman is technically a character actor now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ayushmann is one where I want him to do well because I like seeing him onscreen, but then I also don’t want him to do well because I don’t want him to leave the off-beat roles he has done so well for so long.

      On Fri, Nov 24, 2017 at 1:33 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  6. I feel its unfair to overlook Raj Kumar Rao who is clearly the most talented of the younger lot… For me personally, being a malayali audience, he has been a refreshing face in the bollywood world…

    Liked by 2 people

    • I considered adding him, but he somehow doesn’t fit in with the rest of them. I might throw him in on a different post with Shahid Kapoor and people like that who are a bit higher.

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      • It should have been a starter kit: Mainstream young male hindi actors. Then there could have been the not so young mainstream hindi actor with shahid and Ranbir in it.

        Then you could have had the off-mainstream/indie young male actor with Rajkummar and Ayushman in it.

        The not so young part of this list could have had Abhay Deol, Ranvir Shauri, Irrfan and Nawazuddin in it.

        Btw this is what I meant by the problem with genres in India. The indie isn’t totally indie and the mainstream isn’t always totally mainstream.

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    • Yes! There is another post due for the people slightly above this group, Shahid Kapoor and so on, but they are a lot less interesting and seem more familiar, instead of trying something different.

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  7. Badlapur must be nominated as the most un-representative film of Varun Dhawan.Totally different from his usual chocolate boy self.But he succeeded in selling the character -especially as he got older and darker.As for Ranbir Rocket Singh and Rajneeti have to be considered.The latter was chillingly evil especially compared with Arjun Rampal’s maniac energy.Lootera has to be Ranveer Singh’s best work.Very self-contained and different from his usual maniac self as he decides to go with his head over his heart and then belatedly attempts to make amends.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Varun’s most representative film is Humpty Sharma ki dulhania. There is that right mix of entertainment and sincerity in the movie that’s largely due to his portrayal of this flawed character. Varun is someone who gets unfairly cast aside as a masala hero while he’s done his fair share of interesting roles be it badrinath, humpty or the character in Badlapur.

    Siddharth is someone I haven’t liked in many movies but absolutely loved in Hasee toh Phasee. His portrayal of Nikhil brought out the vulnerabilities of the character. I was actually looking forward to his roles after that but was sort of disappointed.

    Sushant I loved in kai po che, Byomkesh and MS Dhoni.. as a fan of Dhoni, was really impressed by his portrayal. Considering it’s someone I know really well (not personally, I wish) and yet to convince me onscreen is quite something.

    Ranveer Ranveer Ranveer – I thought with BBB he did a star turn. Though lootera and DDD are among his fav performances. Bajirao was superior no doubt.

    Ranbir has a lot of great performances to his credit, wake up sid really got him noticed. Rocket singh, Rockstar and Barfi were my favorite performances. The amount his invested in those roles, phew!!

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    • I hope Humpty Sharma becomes representative of Varun. Right now it feels like the Dishooms and Judwaas and ABCDs outweigh the Badlapurs and Humptys and Badrinaths. But maybe after October comes out, Humpty will feel like a closer representation of what he is.

      On Fri, Nov 24, 2017 at 7:44 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  9. Like everyone, Sidharth was sooo good in Hasee Toh Phasee and his pairing with Parineeti was the highlight!
    Sushant was good in Shudh Desi Romance, a movie about live-in relationships!
    Will you be doing a south edition as well? also actresses too? This is very interesting!!
    Thanks!!

    Like

    • Don’t know if I am qualifed for a south edition, beyond the language “starter kit” I already made. For actress, unfortunately I think I have to keep throwing them all in together, since they don’t have the same kind of status differences and so on that actors do as much. So I will have to just keep doing “Here’s 7 actresses” posts until I have run through them all.

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