A few days back, Akshay Kumar shot for an emotional song for his next. However, instead of an A-lister, a fresh face, Madhurima Tuli, was romancing him. In the next few months, like Madhurima, a wave of fresh talent is set to sweep Bollywood as a number of new faces - most of them models - are preparing to make their presence felt in the Hindi film industry.
While Pooja Hegde, a former beauty pageant contestant, who took up acting down south, will be seen opposite Hrithik Roshan in Ashutosh Gowariker's Mohenjo Daro, ex-beauty queen Manasvi Mamgai will share screen space with Ajay Devgn in Prabhudheva's Action Jackson.
"It's very comforting to be launched with a big star because then you are assured of a great launch pad. Plus, you don't have to worry about how you will be portrayed and marketed; you don't even have to fret over the film's release," explains Manasvi, adding, "But at the same time, there's the pressure to live up to the star's reputation."
Manasvi isn't the only one who is feeling the pressure. Ridhima Sud, who has been the face of several big brands in the past, will be seen in Zoya Akhtar's Dil Dhadakne Do in several scenes with Ranveer Singh. Plus, Earlier, Salman Khan had mentioned that he will soon cast Greek-Swedish model, Elli Avram in a film. Not just that, the daughter of yesteryear actors, Shaheen and Sumeet Saigal - Sayesha (the grand-niece of Saira Bano) - will also make her debut in Ajay's directorial venture, Shivaay.
Big actors feel that debutant actors should be given a chance to prove their mettle.
While Akshay Kumar feels "they all deserve a chance to prove their worth", Ashutosh Gowariker finds Pooja a "very natural" actor who has "an elegance and poise," which "with a degree of freshness adds the required spark to our film's love story".
Akshay puts things in perspective. "I know what it's like to start out with nothing. I don't focus on each film being the best only for me, but for all those who work in it with me," he says. Industry members feel that while newer actors are a source of freshness and are easier to work with, they also shake off the complacency of established actors. "It's always good to have more actors to choose from. It keeps the established ones on their toes in terms of healthy competition. Also, it's easier to work with new people because they don't come with any baggage," says director Anees Bazmee.
Maintaining a good demand and supply ratio is integral too. Exhibitor-distributor Akshaye Rathi has a logical argument. "Bollywood churns out over 400-odd films per year. And even if our big names work 365 days and 24x7, they won't be able to work in so many films. So, in order to maintain the demand and supply rate, we have to constantly introduce and work with newcomers," he says.