In a year of no noticeable debuts, there were some sparks, like Ahan Shetty and Rachel Sanchita Gupta

Not one exceptional debutant in 2021. This was a worrying state of affairs for a film industry already grappling  with multiple issues, including a rapidly declining viewership. Here are the ones who made their debut (for whatever it was worth).

Subhash K Jha December 22, 2021 09:07:58 IST
In a year of no noticeable debuts, there were some sparks, like Ahan Shetty and Rachel Sanchita Gupta

Tara Sutaria and Ahan Shetty in Tadap

  1. Anmol Dhillon: In the silly rom-com Tuesdays & Saturdays, yesteryear actress Poonam Dhillon’s son Anmol made a tepid debut. Though I did not see any, the boy probably has some potential buried deep in  this shallow rom-com about two commitment-phobic youngsters who decide to meet only twice a week to avoid getting into a serious relationship. Seriously?
  2. Jhataleka Malhotra: Hard as it was to believe, she is a Sanjay Leela Bhansali heroine. Tuesdays & Saturdays was produced by Bhansali. All we can say in his defence is even Raj Kapoor produced Dharam  Karam. And not every Raj Kapoor heroine was a Dimple Kapadia. Jhataleka, like her co-star Anmol, made zero impact. It would be hard for them to get a post-debut opportunity.
  3. Rinzing Denzongpa: Danny’s boy was put in the shoddiest debut vehicle possible. Squad was a  bottomless pit where no living creature could survive. It really hurt to see young Rinzing's career being crushed under the undiscriminating wheels of such amateurishness. This was an unpardonably bad film. Those behind the making of Squad should be put in front of a firing squad. Those in front of the camera deserve our heartfelt sympathy. No actor, no matter how incompetent, deserves to be so brutally compromised. Debutants Rinzing and Malvika Raaj playing squad members have no opportunity to prove anything except that they are in the wrong fun. Better luck next time, Rinzing.
  4. Rachel Sanchita Gupta: As Prerna, Gupta, the skater in Skater Girl, was the best debutante of the year. She was a natural, though the brown colouring could have been avoided as kids belonging to the lower castes are not always tanned. Prerna is well played by the debutante. But little Shafin Patel as her kid-brother  Ankush is the real discovery of  the film. The boy conveys all the acquired maturity and ingrained impishness of  a male heir in an impoverished family, who understands more of his sister’s pain than he should at his age.
  5. Ahan Shetty: Ahan as Ishaana in Tadap makes all the right moves. Tadap is designed as purely a star vehicle for its debutante hero. Ahan walks towards the camera  in slow-mo shots, balances himself on his  beloved mo’bike, clenches his fists, and flashes his wrists, all for love, while Pritam tries to make all the right noises. One colourful song has young Shetty and his leading lady singing and dancing in a carnival setting, before, ahem, making out. “The kiss wasn’t right,” rues Ramisa, the objectified subject of Ishaana’s  adoration. She then proceeds to kiss her lover-boy every five minutes for the next half an hour, to get it right. By then, Ishaana is too far gone to care whether there is a world beyond the bliss of the kiss and the luck of the… never mind!

Subhash K Jha is a Patna-based journalist. He has been writing about Bollywood for long enough to know the industry inside out.

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