Same rules as the female post! Not the first film, but rather the biggest leap film, from unknown to known, or minor star to major star, or whatever it is. Before you ask, I’m not including Rajkummar Rao or Ayushmann Khurrana, because I feel like their stellar 2018s were just a continuation of their stellar 2017s, not a leap even higher.
I know, this seems like the obvious choice. That’s why I am starting with it. Vicky this year had Raazi, to gently introduce him to the mainstream female audience. Sanju, to introduce him to mainstream directors looking for a good reliable actor. And Manmarziyaan to introduce him to the slightly more off-beat directors looking for an actor with a great range. And he’s got his first action lead role coming up, he was already on Koffee, everything’s coming up Vicky! But is his leap from “art actor” to “well-known mainstream actor” the biggest leap of the year?
Now, this was a leap! From a 50/50 successful star son, to suddenly breaking box office records and leaping into the big leagues with Baaghi 2. 6th highest box office of the year, beating Raazi and Badhai Ho with no other big names attached. All without radically changing his established persona, or losing his original followers. Tiger also signed and started filming Student of the Year 2, giving him a chance at a whole new kind of role and audience.
The only really big male launch of the year. He went from nothing, to a mainstream romantic lead (with better reviews than his co-star), plus lead of an intense art house film. He isn’t that popular yet as a personality, but he can’t be counted out.
Hardly a new actor. But after years of being an underground young people favorite, he finally broke through and started signing mainstream films. Sonu Ki Titu Ke Sweety is what did it, and now he has a mainstream rom-com with Kriti Sanon (ha! I spelled her name right!) coming up and is in the news every other day.
Okay, I am going to break my own rules and acknowledge non-Hindi industries just this once. In 2018, Dulquer had both Mahanati and Karwaan. A major attack on the Telugu and Tamil market, and a sneak attack on the Hindi market. Next year he gets more serious about both, a mainstream Hindi romance plus a Tamil thriller with himself as the lead (instead of sharing leading roles as he did in Mahanati).
Ranveer! Bookended the year with hits, starting with Padmavat and ending with Simmba. And got married in between. He’s been a major league star for a while now, but this year saw one of his most appreciated acting performances, and his first (very successful) attempt at leading an action film. And saw him being the headline feature on every gossip news story for about a week.