Sara Ali Khan and Janhvi Kapoor: How this year's most hyped debutantes measure up

Karishma Upadhyay

Dec 13, 2018 12:28:17 IST

Bollywood has had two hyped and high profile debuts this year. Sara Ali Khan finally had her much awaited debut release, Kedarnath, hitting theatres earlier this month amidst a bit of political controversy, while earlier this year, Janhvi Kapoor made her debut with Dhadak.

Janhvi Kapoor and Sara Ali Khan. Twitter

Janhvi Kapoor and Sara Ali Khan. Twitter

Whether this is the birth of two new stars remains to be seen, but the last time there was this much hype around two new debutantes was on the Diwali weekend of 2007, with Om Shanti Om and Saawariya. It has been 11 years, and Deepika Padukone and Sonam K Ahuja have both tasted high levels of success since then. In a year when both of them have gotten married and stepped into new chapters of their personal lives, it is almost like the universe has made way for a fresh, young brigade to take on those teen romances.

While Karan Johar, in a recent press interaction, said that it would be unfair to make comparisons between the two of them, one cannot help but look at the similarities and differences.


Kedarnath released to mixed reviews, and its Rs 7 crore opening weekend does not look very heartening for the producers, given the underwhelming word of mouth. Most of the critics’ reviews, however, praised Sara’s performance. More than one review has drawn comparisons with her mother, Amrita Singh, and there has been a sense of general disbelief that this is her debut film. Given that she was paired opposite Sushant Singh Rajput who is no mug and has delivered some stellar performances over the past few years, Sara is being seen as a natural.

Dhadak, which released in July, broke a Bollywood record as the film with the biggest opening weekend ever featuring two newcomers, and did great business for the most part. The film went on to do Rs 75 crore at the domestic box office, and was declared a hit. The critics, however, were not kind to the film, mainly because it lacked authenticity and was a sloppy remake of the cult Marathi film Sairat. Ishaan Khatter walked away with the acting accolades but there was some praise for Janhvi’s expressive eyes and old world charm. Some might argue that Janhvi was miscast in the role of a small town girl, but then Sara too played a small town girl in Kedarnath and, mostly, aced it.


We are living in a hyper-informative world, where stars are not necessarily made by just their onscreen performances. Social media interactions, television interviews, red carpet appearances and magazine covers all have a huge role to play in building the aura around an individual. It is the fan base that eventually decides on who starts being seen as an A-lister.

Both actresses are already topping best-dressed lists, and have the making of bona fide trendsetters. While it is still too early to place their individual styles into any category, both Sara and Janhvi have delivered some glamorous red carpet looks. Janhvi made it to the cover of Vogue in May, and her Grazia and Brides Today covers in the latter part of the year only helped establish the fact that she can pull off any look, be it Western or Indian. Add to this the general flavor of her Instagram account and you start seeing a carefully crafted image that is highly visible.

Sara’s Instagram account, on the other hand, is more candid and personal. One cannot help but feel that there is a little bit of a “damn care” attitude to publicity. Put it down to the royal upbringing or the Columbia University degree, but there is no denying that she seems to draw from some bottomless well of confidence. Her appearance on Koffee with Karan with father, Saif, was arguably one of the most discussed episodes of the season. The candour with which she answered Karan’s questions and the easy handling of embarrassing childhood videos, spoke of a highly mature and evolved mind. This is not your typical giggly newbie. It is almost like she was born to do this.

It is still early days for both these young actors, and Sara has another high profile release this year, where she is cast opposite Ranveer Singh in Rohit Shetty’s Simmba. As the only female lead in the film, she has the opportunity to win herself some more fans and add to her billing. Janhvi will next be seen in 2020 as part of Karan Johar’s multi-starrer Takht. As far as film choices go, it is a pretty safe one for an inexperienced actor, but playing safe does not necessarily win you a fan base.

Updated Date: Dec 13, 2018 12:28:17 IST