Just as children decide and write the future of a nation, the newest successful stars of any era decide the direction in which Hindi cinema moves. The 2010 and later generation of highly successful stars are led by Ranveer Singh, Varun Dhawan, Tiger Shroff, Sidharth Malhotra, Sonakshi Sinha, Jacqueline Fernandez, Shraddha Kapoor and Alia Bhatt, with Arjun Kapoor, Kriti Sanon and Parineeti Chopra also in the reckoning. Coming into his own suddenly into the commercial space is also Sushant Singh Rajput with his Dhoni bio-pic, Raabta and now Salman Khan's new production.
Collectively, they all fit in beautifully into the present work-ethic of shooting one film at a time, never mind if they sign two or three movies. If this involves changes in physical appearance or weight, so be it. Prep is a key part of their approach today, and that includes workshops, script readings, action training and dance rehearsals. And films are shot and completed at a stretch.
Also because most of these youngsters are now several films old (mostly with a decent percentage of successes/hits/acclaim), they have each developed a clear-headed career strategy based on their individual experiences. Collectively, they are set to write their own chapter in post-2015 Hindi cinema.
As one can fathom, Ranveer is going all-out in the commercial zone after his flirtation with middle-of-the-road cinema in his early films like Lootera. And why not? Not only have such films brought him his fame and adulation, but have also given him hits like Gunday and his trilogy of superb performances along in two Bhansali movies and Dil Dhadakne Do.
A wag reports that Ranveer should personally thank Ranbir Kapoor for a good chunk of his stardom, especially after Dil Dhadakne Do (which Ranbir quit) and the latter's (bad) choice of films. But we think that Ranveer has made it on his own talent, excelling in mainstream cinema with substance-and with an innate sagacity of choosing the best offers. Varun Dhawan is doing a remake-that of Ittefaq that was launched as an offbeat film in 1969 and went on to be a super-hit. This is a Red Chillies production again after Dilwale. He has completed Dishoom, being directed by his cerebral brother Rohit Dhawan as an action spectacle with John Abraham and Jacqueline Fernandez as co-stars. After this, Varun will do-in whatever order-Shashank Khaitan's next and (with Salman Khan's blessings) Judwaa 2. The latter will reunite him after Main Tera Hero with his father, director David Dhawan, who had directed the 1997 hit.
The third hero who has made a distinct identity for himself is Tiger Shroff, essentially based only on his debut film Heropanti, though his second film Baaghi is likely to be big at the b-o too. Tiger has made a distinct niche for himself that is completely different from dad Jackie Shroff's macho image. As he puts it, "I want to stand out and carve my distinct identity. Once I reach a certain secure position in my career, only then will it be time to experiment. I have been perceived in a particular way and I think this (mainstream) is the genre that will take me there."
The film industry has always been male-centric, and these are just three of the GenY stars who are en route to making sure that the Great Big Mainstream Hindi Cinema continues to thrive. Following in their path are Sidharth Malhotra (who has just delivered a commercial-with-a-difference hit in Kapoor & Sons after the whopper Ek Villain and the intense but average Brothers that was top-lined by Akshay Kumar), Arjun Kapoor, who has just done the successful Ki & Ka and is now working on Mohit Suri's Half Girlfriend, based on Chetan Bhagat's novel, and co-starring Shraddha Kapoor.
Sidharth is doing Baar Baar Dekho, which stars the A-list Katrina Kaif-his first film with a big star, and happening after that is a bigger mass-appeal movie-Siddharth Anand's sequel to Bang Bang!, probably with Jacqueline Fernandez. As for Shraddha, after ABCD 2, she is thrilled that she is doing Baaghi, a completely commercial film-her first, she tells you, in which she "gets to do everything a heroine does in such films-romance, sing, dance and emote."In her case, she even gets to do some action!
Sonakshi Sinha, who was at a somewhat low ebb after a series of duds (Action Jackson, Lingaa, Tevar), has reinvented herself in time in every sense of the word. Paying heed to her negatives (a string of repetitious performances even in successful films and her weight and image), she has re-launched herself in Akira, the new A.R. Murugadoss actioner, inspiring the director to make this remake with a heroine rather than the original's hero.
An unabashed follower of mainstream commercial cinema, Sonakshi has simultaneously got Force 2, with a fresh setup for her (John Abraham and some action of a different kind from Akira) and has just green-lit Noor, the story of a rebel Pakistani journalist. Sri Lankan Jacqueline Fernandez has shrewdly stayed away from non-mainstream cinema and is rapidly making bigger waves than till now. After the soon-to-be-released Housefull 3, she will star in Dishoom and A Flying Jatt (with Tiger), followed by the sequel to Bang Bang! and Salman Khan's co-production with Sajid Nadiadwala.
Parineeti Chopra returns to work with Aditya Chopra's Meri Pyaari Bindu and Kriti Sanon has Raabta. The net result, clearly, shows that audiences are having the final say in shaping even the new stars' careers. Whichever way the personal bent of some of these actors and actresses go, they have to sooner or later (usually sooner) land on terra firma and carry on the legacy of the Khans, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone and all the big stars if they have to reach anywhere near them in the years to come.
After all, the wisdom of generations shows that big-ticket stars should only dabble in the offbeat either as occasional flirtations or when they command, as Tiger accurately puts it, a certain stardom and position. Tickets, cheap or expensive, are bought with hard-earned audience money only for stars, not just for good actors.