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    Navneet Kaur Dhillon

    Every year, Bollywood excitedly awaits the arrival of the next star child who will become an overnight box office darling, or the next fresh face who will win a thousand hearts. This year will see the launch of a number of them—from star children and rank newcomers to a few who are transitioning from one profession to another. Here are the faces to watch out for in 2016

    Changing tracks
    Model Gaurav Arora will move from the ramp to the marquee with Love Games and Raaz 4; singer-composer Shekhar Ravjiani (of Vishal-Shekhar fame) has a significant cameo in Neerja; models Navneet Kaur Dhillon and Pooja Hegde will make Bollywood debuts, while actors from regional cinema like Daljit Dosanjh, Harshvardhan Rane and Raai Laxmi will be seen in Udta Punjab, Sanam Teri Kasam and Julie 2 respectively. Bringing up the rear of the list are two talents from across the border. Mahira Khan and Mawra Hocane are well known in Pakistani TV and films, and hope to make a noteworthy transition to Bollywood with the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Raees and the musical love story, Sanam Teri Kasam, respectively.

    Chalk it up to luck
    With Sunny Deol’s Ghayal Once Again being pushed to February, director Jayant Gilatar’s Chalk N Duster will be the only Hindi release of the week. It is the story of two teachers—played by Shabana Azmi and Juhi Chawla. Dedicated and popular with the students, things begin to go awry for them with the arrival of a new school principal (Divya Dutta) whose outlook on education sets the teachers against the management. The multi-starrer also features Jackie Shroff, Zarina Wahab, Girish Karnad and Samir Soni.

    Dutt’s the way
    Finally, family, friends and colleagues of Sanjay Dutt must have heaved a collective sigh of relief with news of the date of the actor’s release from prison. Thanks to a reprieve for good conduct, Dutt will be back home before the end of February. This will certainly help expedite his biopic under the stewardship of Rajkumar Hirani, not to mention bring certain scripts and projects out of storage.

     

    Harshvardhan KapoorNext generation
    The segment that elicits the greatest attention is the ‘dynastic’ space as the next generation of star genes is tested in front of the camera and an increasingly discerning audience. This year, attention will mostly be on Harshvardhan Kapoor. Anil Kapoor’s son and Sonam’s younger brother will be launched on May 13 in Mirziya. Joining young Kapoor is model and Telugu industry debutante, Saiyami Kher, niece of Tanvi Azmi. Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu’s grand niece Sayesha may have made her acting debut in the Telugu industry, but Shivaay with Ajay Devgn will mark her arrival in Bollywood. Shah Rukh Khan’s Fan will be the platform for Sachin and Supriya Pilgaonkar’s daughter Shriya, who has notable experience in Marathi film and theatre. There is also a buzz that Vinod Khanna’s youngest son, Sakshi, will face the camera this year in a romantic action drama.

    Fresh off the boat

    This is usually the list that throws up surprises and this year’s could come in the shape of a boxer (Ritika Singh in Saala Khadoos) or a child actor all grown up and acting with a superstar (Fatima Shaikh in Dangal) or a Delhi girl who’s just got a big break (Sanya Malhotra in Dangal).

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